Dealing with the emotional aspects of bankruptcy

A lot of the talk around bankruptcy focuses on finances. That makes sense, as bankruptcy is often about matters such as drowning in medical debt and credit card bills. However, while the legal process provides the fresh start you need financially, it may not help you much with the feelings that are threatening to overwhelm you.

The truth is that even though many Americans are only one big medical emergency away from being in your shoes, it is still common to suffer feelings of embarrassment or weakness when the time comes to file the paperwork. The emotional component of bankruptcy may go beyond these surface anxieties, too. For example, you may have lost property that meant a great deal to you, or you may face heavy disapproval from family members.

Acknowledge your feelings

Identifying the emotions you are going through is an important part of the healing process. It is okay to mourn your losses. It may also help to recognize which elements were outside of your control and free yourself from blame. This is not the same as denying accountability for mistakes, but even guilt over past actions can be turned around and viewed as a life lesson that applies to the clean slate you are claiming. If you see filing for bankruptcy for the brave move it is, you may gain a sense of confidence as you face life with new strategies under your belt.

Address negativity

Once you have accepted your situation, you may still have to face others who are not willing to be kind. Planning ahead may help. If you are afraid that family members will criticize you, write down possible responses so they do not catch you flat-footed. For example, one option could be to name notable people who have had to file. When planning these responses, you may also want to craft replies that discourage nosiness and protect your privacy.

Seek help

A financial therapist may be able to help you recover some of your self-esteem. You may also find that a good bankruptcy attorney is a source of moral support, in addition to the legal advice and assistance you receive. Now that you have the chance to start anew in life, hopefully, many good nights of sleep are just around the corner.

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