Claiming Financial Health

Published on 28 August 2009 by

Category: Other, Stories of Change

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8ballMEET ALLISON, 35
From the time my mother and stepfather got married, when I was almost seven, they’ve always been what they call “behind the eight ball.” They never discussed money problems with us directly but there were always comments like “Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know” and “We’re one big expense away from real trouble.”

I didn’t see it then, but my mother had serious issues with spending. She’d always say we didn’t have any money but then she’d go on these shopping sprees, buying clothes for herself and us and antiques for our house. I’d always pay real close attention, waiting for those sprees, because I knew if I could go along with her, I’d get something too. My father always took a “head in the sand” approach very disconnected from our financial situation, agreeing to things even if they didn’t make sense, just to avoid a fight. Not good messaging, either way.

When your parents aren’t on the same page, when one of them would continually warn me, a child, about our family’s impending financial devastation at every turn, yet spends like crazy, and the other parent acts like everything’s fine no matter what, it’s very confusing. As a result I grew up having no real concept of money. I’ve walked around my entire life thinking“Oh, money’s no big deal, unless you’re running out, and then you panic.” The concept of making money work for you or knowing how to properly handle it… that was beyond me.

YMW POV: Allison’s confusion over money persisted for years and years. As an adult, she pushed herself to work hard to earn the money she needed to be independent of her parents but she spent it as fast as she earned it. Unconsciously, she had come to associate having money with anxiety and impending crisis. So, anytime she managed to put something away, her anxiety would increase until she found a way to get rid of her savings: a resort vacation, new furniture she didn’t need, dinner for twenty at the most expensive restaurants in town. Though she made a decent salary, she was living paycheck to paycheck.

Once the fear was removed and I could experience a positive relationship with money, I was able to relax and enjoy the ride. It’s made all the difference in my life.

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  1. Diana says:

    From this article, I found a new message I need to change. I thought “ALWAYS Living in Crisis” was how everyone lived, all the time. So I’ve added another script to my responsibility list.