Money has been a cause of great distress to us all of my life. The Bible says “The love of money is the root of all evil.”. Well, I think the money itself is the root of all evil. Money causes great distress, yet I need money to survive.
I’ve often thought that it would be easier to live in a traditional economy where we could trade goods and services to get what we need. Money is a necessity. You need it at the very least to buy food that your body needs. Then, if you are fortunate enough to have a roof over your head, you need to pay rent as well as pay for the electricity, gas, and water you use. Add to that, you pay for someone to take your trash away. If you are lucky enough to be able to buy a car, then you must buy gas so that you can actually drive somewhere, not to mention pay for car repairs. God forbid you get sick, because then you must pay to see a doctor who can diagnose you and prescribe you medication that will cost more money. If you have chronic health conditions as we do, then you pay out the wazoo for medications each month. Add to that, those of us who have severe trauma histories that require therapy in order to function in day-to-day life. That costs even more money. I think the abusers should pay for the therapy. If only a law could be passed…..
As a child, money has always seemed to have been a focal point. I would go to my grandparents’ place of business and I would make a list of things I could do around the store to “help” (vacuuming and the like) and give the list to my grandmother who would put how much she’d pay me for each thing. It was fun for me and a neat way for me to earn money that I would then use to buy candy. Oh the simple days when money was something to just use for fun.
The mother would tell me stories of how they could not pay the bills. She worried so much and told me all of it. When an older insider would remind me that I did not have to worry about such things because it was something for adults to handle, I would stay calm until….. The mother would keep on and on telling me that if they could not pay the bills then we would not have a place to live. Then, she continues with how we would have to live on the street out of a cardboard box and not have anything to eat. These are the things I remember her saying although I imagine there was much more. She kept on each time until I broke down and cried. That extreme fear has stayed with us to this day. I have inside kids who are terrified that we are not going to be able to pay the bills or buy food and we will end up on the street. Like I said, I hate money. Now that I am an adult and know more of our situation when I was a child, I see that we were not in danger of living on the street. We were middle class citizens in a nice house with 2 cars. Far from being in danger of losing it all. I wish that the mother could have been the grownup and just let me be a kid.
It bothers us tremendously how money was used to control us throughout our childhood. I don’t remember much of our childhood, but what I do remember is enough. We had moved away from the city I lived in – far away from many of my abusers. Each summer, they would try to get me to come and visit with the promise of toys and anything else I would desire. By this time, I’d had enough. I said no. I was 11 or 12 years old at the time. My younger siblings did go to visit the extended family and came home with so many new things and I was told how I should have gone with them and look at what all I missed out on. No. He was there and it would not have been safe. My grandmother knew of what the uncle did to me, though she somehow naively thought that he had stopped when he was told to when I was just a baby. Either that or she just turned a blind eye. I tend to believe the latter. They expected me to come and visit knowing what would be in store for me but it would be okay because they had money and could buy me things.
When I was in college, my grandmother said if I wrote her letters, she would send me money. I am ashamed that being a poor college kid, I did just that. I wrote her letters and she would write a short note back with cash each time. This got me through my first year of college. My second year, I started cleaning houses so that I could earn my own money. I should have written to my grandmother because I wanted to and not because she was bribing me. For that matter, she should have been able to send me money without requiring a letter from me to do it. It was all messed up.
This pattern continued into my adulthood. My mother would try to encourage me to go and visit someone and when I would refuse or say I couldn’t because my car would not make it that far she would reply with ‘Well, if you go and see them then they might give you money.” I am so offended by this. Does she think I can be bought? Exactly how bad was the childhood prior to age 11 that I don’t remember and how much was I “bought off”? I shudder to think. Most recently, my sister told me that grandmother had a very nice ring for me but in order for me to get it I had to go and visit her. There is always a catch. I have been planning to make a trip to visit the family for a while, but haven’t had the money to make it there. It’s like dangling the promise of a fancy ring is going to get me hopping. If she truly wanted me to have that ring, she could send it to me. It’s the thought that counts, not bribery. I despise bribery. If I were to do something simply due to the promise of getting something in return it is a worthless gesture on my part and without honor.
For all these reasons and more, I really don’t like money.