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What Is The Causes Of Impulsive Buying? (Part 1)

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Family Background.family shopping

With regard to the influence of family background, three possible interrelated mechanisms are mentioned: genetic heritage, learning and the constitution of his/her personality, and emotional imbalance.

I ask myself now whether my problem is inherited, or whether it’s what I’ve seen, or whether I’m a dissolute person. Because my older brothers aren’t like that. The women are, though, they lied about shopping, they always said it cost less than it had; well, not when buying food; then, they said it had cost a bit more. The presence of two drinkers and an excessive spender in the family is posed as a possible genetic factor and also as a problem that could have led to her problems of emotional instability.

Reckless spending and the repeated recourse to loans to cover debts were constant in the family economy, even before he / her serious problems with buying started. This, and the habit of deceit about spending, clearly seems to be behavior traits learnt in his / her parents’ home.

I’ve just remembered my mother paying the bills in installments and in order to pay the rent for where we lived…, they never had money… So I think that I never saw anything that would have served as a good foundation… While I lived with them, my parents never had any savings … My mother had the habit that, when she bought something a little expensive, she wouldn’t tell the truth to father, she would say it had cost a little less.

With regard to her personality, the author is torn between the possibility of having inherited an inadequate personality—coherent with her behavior of selfish buying that harms those closest to her, and which generates a strong feeling of guilt—and the idea of being a victim during her childhood and youth of a damaging family setting that has led to pronounced emotional instability, which, in turn, has produced a loss of control over her behavior.

I don’t want to seem like a victim, but at the rate I’m going, I’m doing badly. I have the sensation that I’m wrong in the head, or that I’m a pig, like my parents and my little brother. Life has given me a lot of upsets and I’m paying dearly for them; what hurts most is my family member.

Crisis in family relationship.

A pattern frequently emerges in descriptions of cases of addiction to buying that can also be observed in this diary: Diverse relationshipspsychological problems and inappropriate buying and spending habits are the background, or the antecedents, of addiction to buying. But that behavior pattern is habitually triggered in all its severity following a life crisis.

In this case, the crisis was caused by her perception of social isolation upon the birth of her second child and aggravated by the prior estrangement from her parental family and her work milieu. The qualitative change in his / her economic behavior materialized in the start of a private parallel reality of credit and purchases, unknown to her husband, in which there were no limits.

A friend (lady) of my – Helen was left very much alone after the birth of my second child, because of a quarrel with her parents a year before, the row with her brother, then stopping work, getting cut off from my friend. As she didn’t have anyone to leave the child with, that put an end to going out and dinners. And not only that, the relationship with our group of friends was nearly completely broken, because we stopped going out, even for a walk. That’s when she started to feel bad, lonely, with a complex, she had bad headaches and she didn’t have anyone around. Leaving the hospital was terrible… After that, Helen started to go very fast, because she think she was going slowly at first.

In the eyes of the diary’s author, her husband did not provide the help she needed at the time, and that was the determining factor in the start of the buying spiral. Helen also have to offer her opinion about her husband, because she think that if he had understood her a little, perhaps some of that could have been avoided… In November, he had a farewell dinner for a friend; well, he went to the dinner, it cost him X amount of money, Helen don’t know how much, but he spent more that night than he had ever spent on his wife and children, all in one go. That hurts a lot when one feels lonely. Well, Helen didn’t stop him from going; instead she said he should find a little time for both. That’s where she thinks the problem started, because he was earning and Helen was spending.

The author goes on at great length in her description of the lack of consideration, or even abandonment, in her husband’s behavior. Although at no point does she explicitly say so in her diary, in various passages, the reader gets the impression that taking revenge on her envy and anger on seeing couples and husbands and wives with their children, and me alone. Of course, she continued spending and buying.

In short, Helen proposes possible genetic causes, and she affirms the role of learning or socialization in consumption and spending, the role of low self-esteem, and the importance of a life crisis in triggering a spiral of buying and spending out of all control. After analyzes her behavior and its motives, besides the above-mentioned factors, she suggests the possibility that her will is another factor that has guided her behavior when she wonders whether she has inherited an inadequate personality and distinguishes between the motivations for confronting her low self-esteem and “buying for the sake of buying.”