Finding my way through the fog of a financial family myth…
Thursday, May 15, 2014
This blog post seems kind of lame to me. I’ve tried to sort through two comments I wrote in my journal at the end of the essay in SBB’s book about financial family myths. I simply can’t do that without a lot of feelings from my childhood spilling over into the mix, into the money/food issues. It’s kind of intriguing how it all gets tangled up together.
They were: I have to buy the cheapest of whatever the thing is I’m getting; and, I should never spend all my birthday money or gift cards on just me.
When I asked myself why I’d feel that way, the answer that came creeping around in my head was guilt. And with it, a certain sense of shame, of I don’t deserve the good stuff or all of the money. And each and every time that feeling stalked me from the shadows of my mind, instead of allowing myself to feel it, examine what it meant, I kept it pushed down good and solid by sticking food in my mouth on top of it. I wasn’t about to write what I figured was all that childhood drama crap down again. My journals are already littered with paragraphs about unresolved feelings that are actually pretty normal to most kids.
Instead, I went ahead and read the next two essays in SBB’s book and I’ve come to the conclusion that, though I have a few unhealthy behaviors I need to work on – like being free enough to tell myself and others the truth about what I feel – there are also legitimate reasons for feeling the way I do about money. Yes, there may be some leftover garbage from childhood that makes me feel like I didn’t live up to my parents’ expectations and therefore I don’t deserve nice things or my own money, but I’m an adult now. It’s time I stopped using those hurt feelings as an excuse to dive into a bag of potato chips or a box of chocolates. And the truth is, I DO value relationships more than I ever did material things. I am far more willing to invest what I have in THEM. But there was something else that hadn’t occurred to me.
SBB talks about how she saw conflicting emotions about money in her parents’ life. Because they were both children during the depression, they learned to FEAR not having enough while still holding on to the dream that they could provide a better life for their children. But their desire to provide a better way of life for their families was tangled and tempered with their fear of not having enough to do that. And though I didn’t live through the depression, I did come from a storytelling father and mother who did. I’m wondering this morning how much of those conflicted emotions I picked up and took on myself from listening to my parents talk about those difficult years. More than I could have imagined, I’ll wager.
The one good thing I did get out of the last three essays in SBB’s book was the awareness that, for whatever reasons, I often DO demean myself when it comes to financial issues making it very hard for me to enjoy what I have. AND that I usually let it lead me to the kitchen. Well, I don’t have to put up with that anymore now that I see the behavior for what it is.
Oh, and the next piece of furniture I buy is going to be EXACTLY what I want!