Friday, November 16, 2012

I Hate Money

I hate money with a visceral hatred from the deepest darkest place in my soul.  If you mention the word money to me there is a place in my stomach that clenches and I want to throw up.  I hate money so much.

Money has been many things in my life.  Money has been power that someone else had and used against me.  Money has been a way for someone to control me.  Money has been a substitute for love when money was all my parents had to offer.  Money has been an elusive prize that teases and dances, taking one step closer and then running away.  Money has been an avalanche that threatens the life of me and my family.  Money is my enemy.

And I don't think this is the relationship I am supposed to have with money.  It's not the way I want to feel and think about money.  I am so sick of money controlling my life.

I grew up in a home where I don't remember ever not having enough money to meet our needs and then some.  It's possible my parents had financial struggles, but if they did I never knew about it.  My parents never talked about money.  Except when they fought.

My mom grew up very poor.  My dad didn't.  My mom likes to shop.  A lot.  To the point of an addiction.  My dad has money and spends it when he wants to, but I don't know how he feels or what he thinks about it.  Except I know he thinks she spends too much.  It doesn't stop him from giving it to her; it just gives him something to be angry about.  I have heard him complain and yell about money more times in my life than anything else.  I'm pretty sure money is his God.  And a way to control people.  He gives.  It seems generous at the time.  Then he calls in the favors you didn't know you owed; you didn't know you were agreeing to an undefined contract.  And the only thing my mom ever taught me about money is that my dad has plenty and doesn't give her enough.

He's good with money, but he didn't teach me anything about it.  Except that spending it is bad and smart people know how to manage their finances and if you can't be self-sufficient financially then something is wrong with you that you should be ashamed of.

Yeah, my feelings about my parents and money are kind of intense.

And then there's my marriage.  We've had our share of financial arguments.  We don't have the same approach to money.  And I'm pretty sure neither of us would claim to be really good with money.  But we're grown ups so we're expected to know how to do this.

We've been married twenty-two years.  My husband has been the breadwinner the whole time.  I worked a bit but just because I wanted to.  (My health no longer allows me to work.)  And in this twenty-two years my husband has been laid off or fired ten times.  The longest we went without any income was seven months.  We've been on food stamps.  Our children have been on government insurance and received free school lunches.  In fact, the government paid entirely for the pregnancy and delivery of one of our children.  We've gone to our church for food, clothes, and help with our mortgage payment and bills.  We've lived off our food storage and sold many things of value just to meet our obligations.  We no longer have food storage or savings.  We used these up and haven't been able to rebuild them.

And because of this history, because of the many times we had our electricity shut off because we couldn't pay the bill, I am scared.  Whenever we get paid I want to put the money away just in case.  I have trouble paying bills because I'm afraid that will be our last income.  What if I pay the bills and then he gets laid off?  Then I don't have any money and my family is threatened again.

We've had well-paying jobs (I say we even though they were his jobs) and poor-paying jobs.  We've had more than enough financially and not nearly enough financially.  We've happily worked together on budgeting and spending and fought like crazy about money.  We've tracked our money together and spent behind each other's backs.  And for most of our marriage I have been in charge of the money.  Which meant that even though he earned the money I felt the pressure to handle it well.

I am a smart girl.  I am good at math and organization.  But I still really struggle with money.  And it is still a source of shame for me.

But this thing has been a burr under my saddle for long enough.  I'm ready to kick this monkey off my back.  I'm ready to acknowledge that I don't know what I'm doing.  That I've been trying to figure this out for years and am still not getting it.  That I have serious psychological issues that I need to address.

I'm ready for the battle.  And I'm going to win.


Anonymous said...

Hi sweetie, Laid off 9 times fired 1 time. Now I feel better. You are an awesome writer and I love you.


Rubye Jack said...

If you get this one figured out Robin, please let me know how because once again you've touched on one of my bigger issues.

Money to my mind is something I am not supposed to have and I'll do anything to get rid of it. I love having the bills paid but if there is any extra, at all, I burn it. I've no idea where this came from because both my brother and sister are good with money, my mom was okay, and my father good with it. More than likely it has something to do with not being good enough. Thanks for sharing this.

The Dose of Reality said...

I feel much the same way. I just hate money. I hate thinking about it and discussing it. It makes me nauseated and feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin. So...I avoid it. That's led to some big problems for us (been married almost 19 years).

I applaud you facing it head on. I'm not ready to do that.
Good luck!

Bonnie said...

Wow. So true. I was just telling the kids the story Philo Dibble told about Joseph Smith and money. It's awesome. He was neither afraid of nor attached to money. At all. He was so cool.

I'm working to get there myself. I honestly think I'm just about there. My parents were very afraid of money. The Great Depression hangs so heavy over both sides of my family that it's like I lived through it. And I did, because for us it never ended. But I am almost there ... almost free of money. This last spate of no income (now one month shy of two years) has almost purged from me both the fear and the yearning for monetary security.

I wish you well in the battle. :)

Paloma said...

Sorry you feel like this.... Hopefully you find the help you need!

Stopping by from Saturday Sharefest!

Lisa said...

This is such a sensitive issue. I'm not really sure how to approach it. I can totally understand your fears especially considering where you've come from and your experiences. But, I think that if we focus on the past and fear the future, then we forget to live in the now. I'm not saying don't save your money, but focus on what is going well, and your blessings and maybe these other things may dull just a little. Hang in there! I don't think anyone LOVES money, unless, of course, they have plenty of it and have no fear.

Christina Morley said...

God doesn't live in fear. He knows you need money to live. I'm sure He was there during the food stamps and all those difficult times. Church communities are not always understanding or helpful, but I hope yours was. I believe that is a big part of Christianity, to look out for each other. You should read Happy Moms, Happy Homes - my blog that is based on my e-book. It has many posts on difficult times and money and such.

Thanks for visiting my parenting blog!

Love, Tina

cafemochalady said...

The truth about money will set a lot of folks free, really. Loved this Robin, have a wonderful weekend.

Heather {Desperately Seeking} said...

This is where I was two years ago. Fortunately, I moved passed it but I still struggle. Especially when big bills come up. And even though I hoard money (yes, I do!) and we finally have a nice savings account... I still panic over bills and the like.

I'm still working on it. but it can be kicked! I promise! Good job for wanting to take the challenge on!

Pride In Photos Beauty said...

I wish I had the answers for you. All I can do is sympathize and tell you for a lot of it, I have been there too. My husband and I talk about this all the time, how much it controls you when you are in lack and living from paycheck to paycheck. Very sad state to be in....

another jennifer said...

It sucks when money is a main concern in anyone's life. Even when it shouldn't be. I wish I knew the answer to this problem...

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Like you, when I was married, he made the money and I budgeted and paid the bills. It as a source of contention because we were living in a house that was too much for our means.

Now I make it and I budget it. I hate it too and I'm always paranoid there will never be enough, but in actuality, I've probably got more than most. My divorce actually left me in good financial standing, which makes me quite fortunate.

Have you looked into Dave Ramsey's courses? I took one and while I don't ascribe to everything, it is really helpful for budgeting and planning etc.

Katy said...

Go Robin!

Lani said...

I can't stand money either! I think it tends to dictate our quality of life and it shouldn't. When I look back, the happiest times have always been when we were living off of very little (single income). Now that we both work, own a home, have two cars, etc., I feel like we're enslaved by our bills! Don't worry...we all are feeling your pain!

Elle - said...

The way you feel about money is the way I feel about house cleaning! It gives me tremendous anxiety even though it's not particularly super difficult to handle once you start to... it's starting part that's hard.
All work and no play makes mommy a dull chick.

Unknown said...

I’m sorry to hear that you had been going through tough times even when you were young. Here’s what I can suggest to you Ms. Robin. You can actually set aside time to seek advice from financial experts. Properly managing your savings account and other financial matters is the key to avoiding debts and bankruptcy. Though it may be a hard time for you and your kids, I hope they understand that life has its ups and downs and that they have to stay strong. Hope everything goes well for you and your family.

Allan Morais

Unknown said...

I hate money too.

I feel that it was invented as a replacement to hungry animals that chased ancient man, to keep us on our toes and to keep us stressed out. Those that can't run fast enough become poor or even homeless. In some situations, you will be harrassed. In extreme situations, not having money will kill you.

It's so strange, because I don't think it needs to be like this. We are technologically capable of housing and feeding everyone to a degree that one shouldn't need an income to exist. And yet, when a house is built, it's expensive and inaccessible to those without even a bit of wealth and a job.

It's even stranger, because we are humans with souls, born to this Earth for living on it. But we are immediately tossed into a society that treats us like machines and expect us to make money. And we spend most of our lives making enough money to survive instead of spending time on the things that make us human and happy.

Is it any wonder that depression is being looked at, as the number one illness of the 21st century?

Unknown said...

Money has both good and bad effects on people, I’m not saying you’re perspective is wrong. I’m trying to be neutral as possible; and I also came to a point where I despised money. I was struggling financially for 5 years, which was the most stressful time in my life. I’m only starting my family back then. We had to give up the lifestyle we were used to and prepare ourselves to make sacrifices to recover. We even sought for an expert’s advice on what we can do. Slowly but surely, we were able to survive. Now, that we're back on our feet, money has been a friend yet again. But we make sure to do everything in moderation for us not to slip back into the dark side.

Era Kehoe