Thursday, July 26, 2012

filthy lucre

I am screwed up about money. It has taken me a while to figure this out. Most of my fears are about money, or the lack of it. The solutions I spin out in my head are almost always about money. Finding more, making more, winning some. I think that it's not important to me -- that family, friends, experiences are more important. And it's true that that is what I value most. But money is what controls my thoughts.

I had a terrible couple of weeks. What happened? Absolutely nothing, except that we had no money on hand. I was healthy. My loved ones were healthy. We had food, a roof over our heads. We laughed, ate, had fun. And I was miserable. Flooded with anxiety and worry about money.

I make decisions based on beliefs about money. I should be able to afford this, because I make a good living. So I buy it, even though really, I absolutely cannot afford it. I should be able to have a nice vacation, because people in my bracket take nice vacations. I earned it. That I really truly can't afford it is immaterial. The calculus in my head is not interested in reality. It is interested in perception. I feel really good about my job, my position. Is it because of status? Nope. It's about income. I could do the exact same job, with the exact same title. If I made half as much, I would feel embarrassed about myself and my job. It's ugly, but I've come to see that is how I truly think.

It's a habit, that way of thinking. It has deep roots going all the way back to my childhood. I see that now. I felt money could solve all problems. Money was freedom. Money was control. It was what everyone wanted. I am not sure someone who has always had enough of it would understand how it could become like a god, but it did.

Now I am trying to break that habit, that thought pattern. I am working on it, struggling with it. Trying to break the hold. Have less. Want less. I need to break the tie in my mind between wealth and worth. I need to stop thinking of financial security as control. It's not. I could be rich as Croesus and just as subject to the whims of fate.

We'll see how I do.


Kitten Herder said...

I definitely understand how this portion of your mind works. Having come from a single-parent working class home, the lack of money played a huge part of my home environment. I have come to recognize that I have a dysfunctional relationship with money. Thanks to an unexpected 'windfall' of sorts, I should be free of all plastic debt by the end of October. Hopefully, this wonderful gift for my 50th will help me break the unhealthy cycle that you too are painfully familiar with. I wish you much success in your own quest to break the cycle.

changejunkie said...

thanks. I have been completely debt free twice now, but each time we get right back into it, despite plenty of income for our needs. Hopefully, new awareness will lead me to changed behavior.