Dealing With the Emotions of Bankruptcy

The Emotional Toll That Comes With a Bankruptcy Filing

Maybe you are just considering filing for bankruptcy protection, or maybe the process is complete or nearly complete. Here are some of the common emotions people express when considering or involved in a bankruptcy proceeding — shame, sadness, anger, grief, helplessness.

In our culture, which has wrongfully associated bankruptcy with failure, these emotions are neither uncommon nor unrealistic. But they are unfair, and here’s why.

The Bankruptcy Laws Were Enacted as a Benefit, not as a Punishment

Bankruptcy laws have been around for centuries. The famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt, sought protection in bankruptcy. Legislators have understood for hundreds of years that financial struggles are seldom the result of careless or profligate behavior, but are more often a consequence of bad luck or circumstance.

Studies support these conclusions. In research conducted at Harvard University, fewer than one percent of bankruptcy filings involved any abuse of the system. In fact, the single factor that most often led to bankruptcy was illness or injury.

Some of the Most Successful People in History Sought Bankruptcy Protection

The myth that bankruptcy is a sign of failure is most powerfully refuted by looking at some of the people who have filed for bankruptcy — Henry Ford, Donald Trump, Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln.

Dealing With the Emotions That Come With a Bankruptcy Filing

If you are inclined to beat yourself up because you had to file for bankruptcy, remember that you are in good company, and understand that the bankruptcy laws were put in place to help you do exactly what you are doing — get a fresh start. Don’t let the judgments of others, most or all of whom have never experienced the difficulties you face, keep you from getting the benefits the law was intended to provide.

Contact John Hargrave and Associates

We have provided comprehensive bankruptcy counsel to individuals in and around Barrington, New Jersey, since 1977. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 856-759-6022 (toll free at 866-662-3191).

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