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Surviving Abuse: Rejecting the Scarcity Lie

Survivors of abuse often live a life plagued with scarcity. We were taught at a young age that we weren’t enough, there wasn’t enough and life would not provide enough for us in the future. When we suffer financial abuse or trafficking, things are often worse. We can believe we have a finite worth, we are a commodity, and we have already expended that worth. All these beliefs leave very little hope for an abundant future.

My relationship with money has been a struggle for my entire life. I always made enough to survive when I worked in the corporate world. As I have started working for myself, I have come face-to-face with my monetary dysfunction. The lack of stability, the self-doubt and the intense commitment required make it scary on the good days.

Recently, I have spent some time identifying the beliefs that hold me back.

  • If I charge for my services, it won’t be worth it.
    I have always struggled with impostor’s syndrome. In a family trying to appear like something it is not, it goes without saying. I know I am helping people. I know I am making a difference. I hear from my clients that I am providing them safety and a new perspective. But I still hear that voice: “Are you crazy? You are just an abused little girl. What could you possibly have to offer anyone else? Stop pretending and go back to your hiding place.”

    While the inner voice comes up less and less, I still hear it. Every once in a while, it tricks me for a second.

  • If I charge for my services, people won’t like me because money is bad.
    This belief comes from my experience with trafficking. I grew up in a family that would do anything for money, even sell their children for sex. Money was God. Money was everything. It didn’t take long before money was evil, in my opinion. Money was never something that could be used to provide an abundant life. It was used to control, abuse and wield power over others.

    If I charge others for my work, I am just an evil businessperson who is taking advantage of others. The fact that I am charging a reasonable price for life-changing work still is forming in my own mind.

  • There won’t be enough people interested in my work.
    If I don’t get this client, I’m in trouble. The scarcity shows up loud and clear here. I have actually been told that there just aren’t enough survivors to help in the world. I don’t believe it. Even if you believe the 1 in 4 and 1 in 6 statistics, there are many survivors who need help. Of course, I don’t believe those statistics. I believe they are much higher. But the scarcity belief permeates everything I do. I must have this client, car, house, dress, husband because there will never be another one. To an abuse survivor, the world is not an abundant place.
  • There aren’t enough services I can provide to make the money I need to survive.
    On most days, I can think of endless services to provide to others. But on the bad days, I just can’t see how I can find enough work to make this happen. I know that I can’t see everything in my future. I know my higher self has plans I cannot dream of. But I am a control freak. And if I can’t imagine it, it must not be possible. So I stress about my diversification.
  • I can’t possibly do what I love and make money at it.
    The victim voice still lives within me. And while it is quieter than it was, I can still sense it beneath the surface. “I can’t have what I want. I can’t have it all. I can’t do what I love and live a comfortable life. If I want to do this work, I must live in a shack and eat ramen noodles.”

    I know it is not true. I know I am not a victim to this life. I can manifest what I want, and I will. But the voice is there. Sometimes I hear it.

While I get caught up in the scarcity belief ingrained in me as a child, I intellectually know that life doesn’t work like that. I know that life is abundant. There are far too many people on this planet. There is far too much beauty, love, pets, nature, children, beaches, mountains and sunsets for me to live in scarcity. I am meant to live in abundance. I am meant to live a life that takes full advantage of all that can be offered to me.

While the beliefs are still hanging on, I can see them diminishing over time. I remind myself of the opportunities that come to me every day. I remind myself of the impressive progress I have made in a small amount of time. I remind myself of my dreams; they are not unrealistic.

I can’t help but know the abusers were wrong. I can have enough. I am just as likely to experience abundance as everyone else. I am a survivor. And I am worth it.

Money and growth image available from Shutterstock

Surviving Abuse: Rejecting the Scarcity Lie


Elisabeth Corey

Elisabeth Corey is a survivor of family-controlled child sex trafficking and ritual sex abuse. Her education in social work and her personal experiences as a survivor inform her intimate discussion about the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of trauma recovery, which she discusses on her blog at BeatingTrauma.com. She writes about breaking the cycle of abuse through conscious parenting, navigating intimate relationships as a survivor, balancing the memory recovery process with daily life, coping with self-doubt, and overcoming the physical symptoms of a traumatic childhood.


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APA Reference
Corey, E. (2018). Surviving Abuse: Rejecting the Scarcity Lie. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/rejecting-the-scarcity-lie/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.