We’ve all made a financial decision or two we’ve later come to regret. But for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) who struggle with impulsive behavior, making “money mistakes” can be a relatively common (and costly) occurrence.
Borderline personality disorder, sometimes called “emotional dysregulation disorder,” is a mental illness characterized by difficulty regulating emotions. In an attempt to “self-soothe” stormy emotional experiences, many people with BPD engage in impulsive behavior — one of the nine classic symptoms of the disorder.
For some, impulsive spending means “treat yo-self” when the going gets tough — no matter what the cost. For others, impulsive spending means splurging on gifts for loved ones or a “favorite person,” often in an effort to avoid being “abandoned” later. However your experience of BPD impulsive spending manifests, we want you to know you’re not the only one.
Because we believe there’s power in letting people know they aren’t alone, we asked our Mighty BPD community to share their biggest impulse buy regrets. If you’ve ever made an impulsive purchase because of BPD, we hope the responses below remind you there’s a whole community of people who truly “get it.”
Here’s what our community shared with us:
“Tattoos. I went and got kanji symbols on both my forearms. I love the symbols and their meanings, I just regret their placement.” — Dawn R.
“A tattoo of a special thing between me and my favorite person at the time. Regret it every day.” — Sammy S.
2. Beauty Products
I spent $300 on nail polish when Rite Aid went out of business… the good news is, when my foster kiddos want to paint their nails, I never say no.” — Megan J.
“I spent enough money at Sephora to be in the VIB Rouge program ($1000 in a calendar year) in only a couple months when I was at my worst.” — Haley S.
“A daily problem [with] overspending on hygiene stuff such as skincare, hair products and makeup thinking it will help me feel better about myself.” — Jazzmine D.
“Got this crop top when I was feeling great about myself. Wore it once and hated how it looked. Now I can’t put it on without it absolutely tanking my confidence. It didn’t cost much, but I feel bad I wasted money. Maybe someday I’ll be able to wear it but for now, it just sits in a drawer with a whole bunch of other crop tops and tank tops that I’m too afraid to wear.” — Elice W.
“Online shopping for clothes. I fill carts at multiple online stores then I wait and try to let the craving pass. I’ve gone weeks just adding things to the carts, taking things away. Then something triggers me and I can’t sleep, and my mind is overwhelmed and the next thing I know, FedEx is delivering a package and my bank account is overdrawn.” — Jes S.
4. Gifts for Others
“Clothes. Makeup. Alcohol. Above everything else? Things for other people. I’m always saying, ‘I’ll get it!’ during dinners or, ‘Let me just buy that!’ if they want something… I have more control than I did before, but I struggle the most when it comes to buying for others.” — Jenna L.
“Very expensive gifts for my girlfriend to make sure she will love me a bit more.” — Misa S.
“I’ve purchased expensive things for other people because I didn’t want them to leave me, such as a new GoPro once for a guy I had only known a few weeks after going through a breakup.” — Sami S.
5. Expensive Trips…
“I bought a one-way plane ticket to a destination over 13 hours from me. [I] left in the early morning with no idea how I was gonna get back. Lol.” — Holly S.
6. …And Trips for Others
“I very nearly used my house deposit to pay for me and my FP to go to Alaska. Luckily I didn’t, as we fell out soon after I had the idea.” — Vicky J.
“A holiday to Bali for me and my then-FP who completely walked all over me and left me on my own there for a few days. I don’t regret going, but I regret who I went with and how much I spent for them to go and for everything I paid for when there. Thousands of pounds down the drain.” — Shantanna Y.
“A $1400 dog. Disclaimer: I kept the dog and he lives a very pampered, diva lifestyle with me and his loving dad!” — Paige B.
“I have a dog and cat out of impulse, but that has definitely has been worth the money.” — Kheyla H.
8. …And Accessories for Said Pet
“My weakness is fancy dog collars and tags. Like leather collars with Swarovski crystals. I have two dogs but my collection of tags and collars is continuously growing.” — Marcella W.
“A dog bed, dog chews, dog shampoo, dog no-chew spray and fountain for the dog water. What can I say? I know my dog loves me.” — Jackie B.
9. Mobile Home
“My old mobile home. My husband and I were living in my mom’s parent’s house and looking for a place just us. I’ve always wanted to own a mobile home of my own and we found one we could afford, but only if my mother moved in too. We impulsively moved into the first trailer we saw and ended up in a toxic situation. I was high off buying that trailer for months. But the inevitable crash lasted much longer. We ended up losing it and I’m still recovering from the damage that choice caused.” — Danielle L.
“A brand new $21,000 travel trailer off the showroom floor. Beautiful and loaded with options. Never got to use it due injury and hospitalization just days after bringing it home. Sold it exactly two months later at a financial loss. The whole experience made me feel worse than I did before. Couldn’t afford the payments (how on earth did I ever get credit approval?) and never getting to sleep in it left me feeling ‘unfinished’ and ‘unsatisfied.’” — Becky M.
10. Products to Support New Hobbies or Career Goals
“I get new hobbies or ambitions and decide I need to buy everything to go with it! Example: ‘I’m going to be a singer!’ *Buys microphone, props, clothes to perform in, etc.. .* The next week… ‘I’m going to be a physio!’ *Buys 20 books and online courses on that…*” — Hayley H.
“Bought a sewing machine and mannequin in October 2018. Thought, ‘I’ll make my own clothes save some money!’ Haven’t even touched it to this day.” — Danielle M.
11. New Car
“My Mazda 2… It is a good car, but it has had its issues, making my life extremely difficult. I’m still paying it off to this day.” — Sarah M.
12. Art Supplies
“Well, I have a giant photo box of Washi tape I’ve never used? Over 300 books I’ve never read (but am interested in, just depressed and lazy right now). Lots of crystals and herbs and art supplies. I would say I only regret these things because I haven’t the motivation to do anything with them. But I do love having them.” — Amanda M.
“I spent £70 on a set of watercolor pens I’m never going to use.” — Jessicka N.
13. Electronic Cigarettes
“A whole Juul set just because I was getting a free ‘limited edition’ black Juul. (I have never habitually used any nicotine products in my life.)” — Adrian S.
“I am a musician and I bought two expensive guitars in a week. My wife wasn’t happy but my mind was happy.” — Robert J.
“Books. So many books — $500-worth in one sitting! And horror movies. I have a bad tendency of buying both when I’m impulse buying.” — Krystin R.
“I once maxed my Mom’s credit card by buying $500 on books from Amazon when I was 18 or 19. I was made to cancel my orders because Mom found out when her card was declined after running it at a gas pump. I regret betraying the trust my mother gave me. Thankfully, no harm was done.” — Kayla M.
“99% of the time? Food. I won’t even be hungry, but I try to eat my emotions away. For years, the lack of impulse control (binge eating) and severe regret resulted in bulimia.” — Marsha D.
“Food. I overeat when feeling any emotions. I have my money controlled by my mum now. I used to spend up to £200 a week on food. It felt good for a few hours, then [I] regretted it.” — Heather F.
17. LEGO Set
“A $400 LEGO set. Or the time I spent hundreds on survival gear for my hiking backpack then only went hiking with it once.” — Rebecca C.
18. University Swag
“In college, there was a credit system for the college store, not a debit system. Before leaving, I’d racked up over $600 in school paraphernalia that I didn’t need nor did I want. I was getting kicked out for having unauthorized guests in my dorm and transferring to another school. Now I have mugs and pillows that remind me of that traumatic time. I’ve since paid it off, but it’s also still a bad reminder of it.” — Kim S.
19. ‘Harry Potter’ Collectibles
“Sooo many ‘Harry Potter’ collectibles. I splurge-buy when I’m depressed and ‘Harry Potter’ items are my go-to. It’s my favorite thing to fixate on because Harry Potter has been such a big part of my life since I was a preteen when it came out, and it’s always stayed with me.” — Madeline H.
20. Cleaning Products
“I buy cleaning products when I decide I need to sort my house out but never actually get round to it so have multiples of every clean product you can imagine.” — Kathryn D.
21. Exercise Equipment
“A $1500 elliptical machine. I used it for about 30 seconds.” — Amy C.