I read a recent article written by Ted Kaczynski’s (the Uni-bomber) younger brother Dave. As an 8 year-old he went to his mom and asked what was wrong with his 15 year-old brother Ted. Dave had noticed that he didn’t have any friends. Mom explained that Ted preferred to spend time alone reading and working on things by himself. Dave persisted saying that it seemed also like his brother didn’t like people very much either.
Their mom went on to share that when Ted was a little baby he had to go to the hospital and stay. His mom and dad could not stay with him and were only allowed to see him every other day, for an hour or two. She related that Ted would scream in terror when she had to give him back to the nurse. Ted’s treatment included lots of needless. He was obviously very afraid and it would be easy to imagine that he ‘made up’ that he couldn’t trust anyone to keep him safe. If he couldn’t trust his mom and dad to protect him, who could he trust?
According to his mom, it seemed as if Ted was never the same after that. He was anti-social, had a hard time trusting people (a condition that got more pronounced over time) and ultimately ended up with Ted murdering a number of innocent people.
One of the principle beliefs we have in terms of explaining people’s financial behaviors is that all of their behaviors make sense if we can understand the thinking (or scripts) that drive the behaviors. People often have a lot of negative judgments about themselves and/or others because, we believe, they don’t have a clear picture of their financial history. Once their historic experiences with money and the “lessons” they have learned as a result of these experiences have come to their awareness, their financial behaviors make perfect sense, and become easier to change.
Understanding Ted Kaczynski’s story can help one understand, though certainly not condone, his subsequent behaviors. The same can also be said of people’s money behavior.