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Yes, I am a recovering clothing shopaholic. Perhaps you think clothing shopaholics are just women who can’t control their urge to spend money on clothes. But that really isn’t what the addiction is all about. There is a big misconception about clothes shopping addiction. So I am going to let you in on the truth about it and tell you all about the secret fantasy life of the women who have it. You see, all female clothing shopaholics have one thing in common:

WE CRAVE FLATTERY, ENVY, AND COMPLIMENTS ON OUR APPEARANCE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIFE.

When we get a compliment or an admiring stare on the way we look, we feel great. And here is another truth about our addiction: we all have a “female appraiser”. A “female appraiser” is the female in our life that we always imagine envying us and complimenting us when we try on new clothes. She is the one we always wear new outfits in front of to get appraisal and compliments about how we look. She is the one who notices every new pair of shoes, every new piece of jewelry, whether our hair looks particularly healthy and attractive that day, and every new item of clothing we are wearing to the minutest degree. She dissects us physically; she is our lifeblood to feeling we exist; by noticing us, envying us and complimenting us; she makes us feel alive.

And we are her female appraiser as well. We notice every new item she wears and we comment about how good she looks as well. We often envy her appearance and new outfits. Our relationship is the mutual symbiotic feeding of our ego envy. Usually our female appraiser is our female mother, sister, friend or coworker who we subconsciously compete and look to get approval from about our appearance. We always try to upstage her in appearance and make her feel envious of us; we always think about whether what we buy will make her envy how we look before we buy it and when she sees a new outfit on us and we feel her envy (of course the ultimate high is when she asks us where we bought it) we have our ultimate addictive fix. We even watch how many people notice us more than her when the two of us walk together in public, to know that we are getting more attention than she is. Yes, it’s an “envy/dislike/need of approval dynamic” we have with our female appraiser (or multiple female appraisers) on a complicated physical and emotional level.

When I was a clothing shopaholic, I lived for clothes, they were my life passion. I still love clothes. But I am less in need of the power they give me to be noticed, admired, and envied. The need to shop for clothes and imagine wearing them and getting compliments from women when I wear them has taken less of a hold on me. But there was a time when shopping for clothes was an essential part of my daily life because I lived for the attention and praise those new outfits gave me.  I would  fantasize as I tried them on in the store and imagine being envied by my female appraiser when I wore them. And once I bought them, wearing them always made me feel special and alive when I got that attention, envy and praise from my “female appraiser”. I always needed to wear something new to be noticed and that is why the money was spent; to continually have new clothes to wear so I would continually get compliments and be noticed.

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