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  • Mattia

How Trauma & CPTSD Cause Underearning

Most AuDHD folks have experienced trauma, or events that were too much for their nervous system to handle at the time that didn't receive adequate follow-up from a stable caregiver.

If you experienced prologued trauma and/or neglect—as I did—you may have symptoms of complex post traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). Some neurodivergent advocates such as Gabor Maté believe that most if not all neurodivergence and mental illness can ultimately be traced back to trauma, some before we're even born. (While that's not yet supported by the science and may never be, it does explain some things that the medical model does not.)


In my large—and mostly extremely traumatized—extended family, there are rampant and long-term problems with money. This includes underearning. CPTSD and trauma underearning can create lifelong problems that ripple throughout families.


That's why this video from The Crappy Childhood Fairy Podcast with Anna Runkle resonated so much for me. The thumbnail below, "Under-Earning is a Trauma Symptom," first caught my eye. On YouTube the video is titled "Remove Mental Blocks to Earn the Income That's Needed and Fair."

Funnily enough, I wouldn't have clicked on that title because I'm skeptical of much "money mindset" and "abundance mindset" materials. One feature of CPTSD is a brain that is more geared toward seeing, remembering, and anticipating the negative in an attempt to stay safe.

(And on the other side of that, I've seen traumatized people go deep into magical thinking and having savior fantasies about the universe fixing their life... all while ignoring the real world because it feels too negative and painful. This can also be called spiritual bypassing.)


The video is 49 minutes long, so it's good background listening. I listened to it sped up.


Here's the YouTube video description:

It’s time we talked about the wounds of trauma in your childhood and how they block you from earning sufficient and fair income (even though you are capable of it). Underearning is common for people who grew up neglected or abused. The longer you underearn, the more you risk the freedom to build a stable, secure life and meet your material needs at last. In this video I'll teach you the signs of underearning, and what to do to change this trauma-driven pattern and flourish financially.

While not everything in the video resonated with me, much of it did. It's the first time I've heard things presented in quite this way!

And since I'm on a personal finances kick, I wanted to share the resources I'm finding around it that are actually good, and not cloying.


Money, earning, and financial literacy can be tough topics for AuDHD folks. Part of flourishing is being able to get our needs met. That can happen in many ways. As a fairly radical person and anti-capitalist, I wish we weren't trapped in this late capitalist hellscape.

But...we're here, and I'd rather help each other out rather than end up as the canaries in the coal mine!


p.s. Please note that while I found this video excellent, as of publishing in Jan 2024, I haven't looked at the rest of Anna's online presence or materials. Therefore, I'm not blanket recommending everything of hers yet... but I'm also intrigued enough to keep digging and possibly inviting her to be on the podcast if so!



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