Overcoming Impulses

Author Note: This article is part of a collection from the previously lost Bordering Bears website, and has thus been re-uploaded and archived.

We have discussed before about how Borderline Personality Disorder can make you incredibly impulsive. It’s very difficult to overcome these impulses, especially if you don’t realise what is going on.

While I have had my self harm tendencies under control for nearly two years now, the longest I’ve gone since I was 12, these are no longer my worst impulses.

For me, the compulsion to spend was always a big issue. I ended up equating spending money with happiness. I’d get a thrill over the latest purchase, and subsequent delivery.

It wouldn’t take long until the novelty of that item would wear off and I’d be right back online trawling for my next spend.

Online gambling also became a minor issue. At one point, I did have a slight addiction to online bingo, and other gambling sites with instant wins. Naturally, I did not win big.

Now, I am at a place where I can pull back and think things through, rather than caving in to the latest impulse.

Here are my top 4 tips that help with managing financial impulses.

Give it Time

Rather than buying something immediately, hold off on any purchases. If you give it 24 hours, the impulse may subside. This will help you work out whether you genuinely want something or if it is a spur of the moment decision.
Getting into the habit of saying “I’ll leave it til tomorrow” can help give you time to really consider what you may be buying. It can save you a lot of money and buyer’s regret.

Create a Budget

Telling yourself no can cause more harm than good. If you don’t allow yourself something, you are more likely to rebel. Think back to childhood. It was the things you were told no to that you wanted even more.
Instead, give yourself a weekly or monthly budget for non-essentials. This means you can still have little impulses, but keep them controlled so you don’t end up in financial crisis.

Get Rid of Credit Cards

Credit cards will only enable the impulsive spending more. I spent a lot of money on credit cards and ended up in a bit of debt from it.
Due to this, it was imperative that I got rid of my credit card. Not just cutting it up but also getting rid of, or switching, my account. This was mostly due to how I memorise my card details, so getting rid of the card itself was obsolete when I tend to shop online.

Enlist Support

Having support is extremely important when combating an impulse. Think of it in its true form. Impulses are forms of addiction. For me, spending money quickly gave me quite a rush.
So, I turned to my Mum for help. She took over my credit cards. Not the payments, but the ownership.
To do this, she took out a credit card and transferred my balance onto it. I then sent her money each month which she put onto her card, eventually clearing the balance.
I am so, so grateful to her for that help as, without it, there might be a chance that I would still be stuck in the debt trap.

Getting rid of debt is important, as this can greatly impact on your current financial position. Yet removing the addiction itself is a greater battle. You need to be able to do this to take control of both your finances and your life.

You can do it. I did.

If you feel you are struggling with impulses, addiction, or any other unhealthy behaviours or thoughts, it is imperative that you speak to a registered professional such as your GP as soon as possible.

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