Compulsive buying disorder is an uncontrollable desire to buy, resulting in excessive, expensive and time consuming retail activities. In our previous edition (June 2015), we focused on how to identify a compulsive buyer. Log on to our

website to catch up, (www@namfi In this edition, we will look at the

causes of compulsive buying disorder.)

Monica seems to be responsible, independent with a strong personality and knows what she wants out of life. She can take care of herself. She likes to keep her room clean and most of the time she listens to her grandparents. When she was at school she got good grades and her grandparents trusted her. If something bothered her however, she could break down very easily. She liked waiting until the last minute before letting people know that she is sad. Monica is nice but she can be mean to people whom she does not like. She has awesome friends and she likes the skater, sporty type of guys but they need to be nice, smart and sweet.

It is a windy Saturday morning, and Monica decides to go for a drive with a friend. When looking at her three cars, Gorgeous Giulia, her grey Dolphin and a Polo Vivo, she seems confused about which one to drive. She calls an old friend, Cheezy, for window-shopping. As they drive along Independence Avenue, Cheezy recalls that there is an auto-show at the Showground.

All of a sudden, there is a change of plan.

“Let’s see what’s going on at the Showground,” says Monica.

Arriving at the Showground, different types of cars are on the display and there is a note that reads: “Instant Approval.” As they move from one car to the next, Monica becomes anxious, depressed and seems to have poor impulse control, while Cheezy observes her quietly. We all know that feeling we get once we get into our dream car and fasten the seat belt: you are eager to start the engine.

“Cheezy! Look at that one! That’s what I have been dreaming of. Kindly call the salesman.” Cheezy tried to convince his friend that perhaps it is not the right time to buy, but Monica had already made up her mind and was now trying to give any excuse to keep away from Cheezy. After a few rounds in the car, Monica claims she gets tired and claims she has an assignment to complete. Off they go, back home. On Monday morning, Cheezy could not believe his eyes as Monica passed by to pick him up for work. “And now, friend?” he asks.

“I got it; the car of my dreams,” she replies.

Monica had an early experience with failed parental-child relationships. Her biological parents divorced when she was 5 years old and she resided with her father who after two years went to marry another woman. The process of divorce and the concept of understanding a new mother were devastating for Monica and could not cope well with her stepmother. Monica experienced parental neglect and grew up with very low self-esteem. Monica felt unimportant as a person.

As years passed by, she moved to a smaller town with her grandparents who turned to objects to fill her sense of void and empty identity. Monica’s grandmother who wanted to please her and to make her feel at home, as much as possible turned to substitute comforts, such as toys and food, in compensation for loneliness.

What causes compulsive buying?

According to studies done: Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on Dec 05, 2014 in A Sideways View


• Rooted in early experiences, with failed parental-child transactions

• Children who experience parental neglect, grow up with low self-esteem

• Adults who depended on material objects for emotional support when they were young
• Disorders such as anxiety, depression and poor impulse control


• To fill the sense of void and empty identity

• Attempting to treat symptoms of low self-esteem through compulsive shopping
• To substitute material comforts for emotional support

Long term Effects of Compulsive Buying Disorder

• Nothing left as savings

• Ruined credit history

• Theft

• Defaulted loans

• General financial trouble

• Even suicide

Author: Uaatjo Kaurimuje

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