Economic downturn can lead us down the wrong path … Part 2

By Eileen L. Berman, Ed.D.

This is a continuation of our discussion last month about how difficult economic times can cause us to make poor choices. If you’re experiencing a job loss or a break-up of a serious relationship, the first thing that may hit you is the feeling of a lack of security. As I discussed in the prior blog, wanting to find security in a new relationship or thinking that buying a new home will give you back the security you have lost could be a costly error. While it may appear rational on the surface as a way of ridding yourself of feelings of loneliness and sadness, it’s an extremely bad idea.

In past writings, I have talked about “freedom” and what it means to be free from destructive relationships or a job which is unfulfilling. If you are suffering the trauma of losing your job or a relationship, you are probably feeling rootless. But buying a new home is not the answer economically. The same is true of taking on a new partner! Both are risky endeavors at this time.

At present, the healthy thing to do is to look at your newly found “freedom” and take this as an opportunity to get yourself together… to rethink your life. In order to heal, you need to take inventory of your life, every facet of it. Why did you choose that particular partner? What qualities are you looking for in a mate? What is your vision for the future? Do you have skills which remain untapped? Do you want to remain in the same geographic area or would you prefer to rebuild in another environment? Did you feel fulfilled in your work? Is there a future for you where you are presently living? Now that you’re “free,” you’re also free to make changes that are sensible.

Right now, your mission is to heal and begin to rebuild your life with renewed confidence and strength. Now is also not the time to give up the anchors you have….friends, family, familiar places and faces. It’s a time for self-exploration and leaning on your support system that you have built up over the years. It’s a time to take inventory of yourself and, when you are free from grieving the loss of your marriage or your job with its inherent guilt, blame, and fear, to begin to think in terms of the future.

All of this takes time and patience. For some, professional help is needed to help verbalize frustrations and anxieties. This is a much better route than latching on to something or someone during a time of mixed emotions and despair.

Learning to relish your newly found “freedom” is a process. It can bring peace of mind as you realize what it is like to be “free” to make your own decisions, “free” to grow in many areas not open to you before, and ”free” of any and all encumbrances. If you step back and think about this, I believe you will take a deep breath and relish the air of freedom which has been bestowed upon you!

Dr. Eileen Berman is a licensed psychologist/consultant in East Greenwich, R.I. She is the author of 2 books: Dealing Effectively With Job Loss and Building Productivity; and has a website, She can be reached at

1 Comment so far

  1. Johanna

    Dr. Berman – I loved this article. I never really thought about losing a job and losing a relationship as the same thing. Although I am in a secure job and relationship, there are countless of aquaintances of mine who are not. What I liked best in the article is the idea of freedom. Instead of looking at the loss as a negative in your life, look at it as freedom. I never thought of it in those terms. It actually puts a brand new spin on things. Once you embrace the freedom and you have now begun to use it to your advantage, hopefully, the situation will reverse itself. I just love the way you always take the negaive and spin it to the positive. Bravo on this article. I look forward to the next one!

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