Loneliness is a catalyst for shopping. Studies have shown that the bright lights, colourful signs and cheerful music in large shopping malls provide a pleasant stimulus when you feel very lonely and empty for a period of time. A study in the US also found that there is a large amount of over-consumption via television and the internet among older people, which is related to the nature of this group: lonely, bored and relatively well-off. With nowhere to go and no one to talk to, they stay at home and buy a lot of useless things. As a result, many deceptive purchases target the elderly population.
2. Low self-esteem
People who have suffered from indifference since childhood will also tend to have low levels of self-esteem and crave praise. As a result, they link their spending to a sense of respect from others and tend to brag about their spending, desperate to share and show off with others, hoping that fancy clothes and jewellery will be praised by others. But the sense of enhanced self-worth that comes with such consumption is fleeting, so they are forced to keep buying more.
You may remember how much you wanted to buy something to distract, release stress and comfort yourself after a failed interview, facing an impossible task and hanging up on a difficult client. People with compulsive shopping behaviour have a low level of emotional awareness and tolerance of pain. Some shopaholics are people with very high levels of anxiety and are unable to resolve and control the problems and stresses that arise in their lives and work. Some ‘passive-aggressive’ people are also compulsive shoppers who are unable to vent their negative emotions and use excessive shopping as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction.
You may find it hard to believe that depressed patients who are not interested in anything can be compulsive shoppers. Everyone wants to be happy, and the smiling faces, warm or cheerful images on commercials send a message that buying our products will make you happy. When we are not happy enough and can’t find an effective way to make ourselves happy, the moment you see a shelf or a webpage full of products, you get the illusion: buy them and I will be happy.
5. Perfectionism, overly concerned with self-image
Some shopaholics are highly social people who want to be seen as perfect by others and always want to be perfect again, which is what triggers overspending. As a result, perfectionists tend to shop more frequently when they encounter situations that embarrass them, as they always want to buy “magic” clothes and accessories to make themselves look better and enhance positive feelings about their bodies.
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