Why Financial Healing is One of the Best Ways to Healthy Relationships
It’s no secret that money is one of the biggest sources of conflict in relationships. Whether it’s choosing to spend versus save, dealing with debt, or just deciding how much to budget for coffee, differing philosophies on how to handle money can lead to friction in financial decisions. Often at the root of the conflict are subconscious beliefs about money developed over time that cause guilt and shame, holding couples back from the financial life they desire.
Breaking free of unhealthy money patterns may seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. There is a solution that’s helping couples transform their relationship with money and find financial intimacy. It’s called financial healing, a revolutionary therapy for couples to forge a joint financial future based on compassion and support.
“It has nothing to do with budgets or finances; it’s more about our relationship to money,” says Dasha Tcherniakovskaia, a financial therapist based in Back Bay. “Financial healing is about healing shame and difficult emotions around money so people can make conscious, clear, and free financial choices.”
Recognizing financial baggage and creating a solid foundation for healthy conversations about money isn’t easy, but Tcherniakovskaia says that after just a few sessions of financial healing, clients are finding that their relationships are already healthier, with a lot more kindness and good will than ever before. Here are three inspirational stories from her clients of how financial healing helped give new life to a relationship. Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.
Defeating Money Shame
Ted always liked to joke to people that his wife had “married up.” Little did he know his wife was suffering from shame due to being raised in a financially strapped household, along with feelings of guilt and inadequacy over marrying a more financially stable partner. Not until the pair came to Tcherniakovskaia for financial healing did Ted realize how hurtful his comments were. He knew his wife had grown up with limited means, but he didn’t realize the meaning and emotions attached to those experiences. Sharing this with Ted and hearing his compassionate response helped his wife release herself from the shame she had held onto for years.
“A financially intimate relationship requires gaining clarity about the clash between our and our partner’s assumptions about money, and learning how to respond compassionately,” says Tcherniakovskaia. “That’s why my clients are asked to write a money biography to help them become aware of their financial beliefs and behaviors. Once couples learn about each other, they make sense of one another’s values and actions related to money and can have a productive conversation about their financial goals.
Overcoming Money Assumptions
Writing money biographies also helped Mike realize why his wife Sarah was so adamantly independent when it came to her finances. Sarah wrote that growing up with a dependent mother who felt like a victim and didn’t take responsibility for her financial well-being saddled her with a need to always be in control of her money. While Mike assumed Sarah was pushing him away, what he learned through the financial healing process was that she was trying to protect herself and not become her mother.
“Once couples become aware of their emotional financial inheritance, it’s easier to figure out a joint vision for the future,” says Tcherniakovskaia. “It’s so rewarding to see clients have that aha moment and be blown away by realizations about their partner that help bring clarity to their financial relationship.”
Bridging Money Beliefs
Breanna’s father always expressed his love through money and gifts when she was a child, but rarely with attention. Now in a relationship with Steven, she puts a lot of emphasis on getting gifts as a sign of love. Though initially frustrated by what he saw as a waste of money, spending time in financial therapy as a couple helped Steven bridge his and Breanna’s money types to realize how to care for her needs, like being willing to spend more money on gifts to show love and attention.
Tcherniakovskaia explains that miscommunication on money matters often stems from competing money types. There are eight money types total, and Tcherniakovskaia says they can help people understand their patterns and behaviors. She says her goal is to move clients from negative money types — such as the Fool who takes unnecessary risks — to positive ones, like the Magician who knows how to manifest their own financial goals. Curious what type you are? You can find out here.
How to Know If Financial Healing is Right for You
The path to finding financial intimacy in relationships starts with creating a new financial blueprint. For more information on how to get started, visit yourlifeunstuck.org to sign up for a free financial healing brochure. Whether you are just moving in together or have been married for years, this process offers numerous benefits at any stage of the relationship.
No matter your background or money type, Tcherniakovskaia says a healthy relationship is possible for everyone. You just have to start the conversation.
“Once you know the meaning and values each partner assigns to money, it’s easier to figure out a joint version of what you want and what money messages you want to pass down to your children,” she says. “That knowledge enables you to be more compassionate and understanding, which means less fighting and more productive money conversations.”This is a paid partnership between Dasha Tcherniakovskaia JD LMHC and Boston Magazine's City/Studio