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Emotional Effects of Debt

Emotional Effects of Debt

It may seem strange to talk about debt having “emotional effects”. After all, if we are in debt there are many practical issues to face.

Looking after our health while we are in financial difficulty is of paramount importance and this means our emotional health as well.

It wasn’t me!

One of the most significant emotional effects of debts is that many of us can go into denial. We really don’t want to face up to the extent of the trouble. So, even if we get help from a debt advisor, if we don’t tell them the full extent of our debt, they cannot sort things out for us properly. Remember, these advisors have seen many people in much worse situations than ours. Not telling them everything is a bit like going to the doctor with pneumonia and just saying you have a bit of a cold.

But it REALLY wasn’t me!

After a separation, one partner can be left with a lot of debt which was run up by the other partner. Sometimes there is no way of avoiding payment of those debts. A common emotional consequence of this is tremendous anger. Anger can be energising, but it can also be destructive. Find someone to talk to, whether a close friend or family member, or even a counsellor. It is important that you do not allow this anger to eat away at you and stop you moving forward.

I can’t escape

Another common feeling is that there is no way back from the debt we are in. So, why should we bother facing it, or getting help? The simple truth is that there is always a way to make things better and you can escape. It may take time but you will get there in the end.

I’m rubbish

Getting into debt doesn’t mean you are a bad person: it is easy to feel depressed and anxious about your situation and the future. Ok, so maybe you will be revising how you manage your money in future but blaming yourself will make you more depressed. Look after yourself, you deserve it!


  • Don’t blame yourself. Anyone can go through a bad time: what matters is how you act NOW:
  • Contact an advisor at your local Citizens Advice Bureau as soon as possible.
  • Use the energy generated by anger to take action and get things moving.
  • Give yourself little treats along the way. Being in debt shouldn’t mean your life is a misery.
  • Keep believing that things will get better once you have started to take action.
  • Above all, be honest about your situation in order to get the right help.

Useful Links

Citizens Advice Bureau

National Debtline

Money Matters to Me

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