“What Will Other People Think?”

I’ve always hated that question.  When it comes to the random stranger on the street or the unwashed masses of humanity, I really don’t give a tinker’s damn what the average Joe Schmoe thinks about me.

But, as I continue to heal, to recover, and to try to grow I begin to realize that I have sadly still taken that particular worry as something important.  But, I’ve limited it only to those I love, care and/or respect.

And, sadly, if one of those people want to find a way to control me, well….that particular issue seems to be one that I am far too susceptible to.

This is not a post bitching about how “my parents are to blame for everything,” nor is it a post about how much of an asshole my ex is/was.  This is about finding yet another broken spot, and cleaning it out and hopefully healing it.

There are quite a few things I hate being called by someone I care about:

  • Mercenary
  • Irresponsible
  • Unreliable
  • Cock tease

These are just a few of them.

Thing is, the first three?  All are pretty much about the same thing.  I’ve said before that in my family, I’m pretty much the social butterfly (even if I tend NOT to be a follower).  I’m also considered far more impulsive, and far more controlled by desire rather than rationality.

Irresponsible and unreliable were words I often heard from my parents and grandmother.  Now, to be fair, all three of them experienced some of the hardest times of the last century, as well as hard situations in their own personal lives.  Practicality, pragmatism and sacrifice were the order of the day for all three of them.  It wasn’t that they couldn’t “have fun,” but that they prioritized their life to focus on primarily needs, and rarely left themselves anything to just “enjoy” except for hobbies and experiences that were inexpensive (although, reading fiction is an addiction in my family, and probably where most of my parents’ “extra” money went).  So, yes, in some ways, as different as I was (because, let’s face it, while the whole damned family are mutants, I’m pretty much the mutants’ mutant), those judgements were based on who they were and what lives they experienced.

Mercenary, on the other hand, has always been my ex’s refrain. Well, mercenary and controlling.  I was the financial person in the relationship.  And those words came out any time I tried to financially rein in on at least 2 of the other three in the relationship.  I tried my damnedest to balance desire with necessity, because I didn’t want to be my parents or my grandmother and sacrifice my whole life away.

The only times I tried to “control” the spending was when we really did not have enough to pay basic bills, and yet these two wanted to buy frivolous – but emotionally supportive – items.  So, I’d skimp on a payment to the cable company, the utilities, the IRS, and any of a hundred other obligations, instead of standing my ground against accusations of being mercenary or controlling.

The problem is, once you start doing those things, it very quickly snowballs into an avalanche of financial failure.  I kept it going for about 17 years, before the avalanche started to become impossible to manage.  Those last years had me throwing my pride out the window and begging for money from everyone I could think of.  We had already been begging my parents, and one of the other ladies’ parents for help to keep us going, but they were tapped out too – and so was my sister.

But the ex could never do the begging.  He was too embarrassed or worse, complained that since he didn’t have all of the information that I really should be the one doing it (even when I offered to give him all the pertinent information).

These words have controlled me for far too long.  Over this last year specifically, I’ve proven at least to myself that I can sacrifice desires in order to ensure that the basic needs of life are taken care of first.  Was it fun? Is it fun? Of course not!  But, it is occasionally a necessity.

So, I need to ensure that those words no longer have any power over me.

Categories: Mental Retraining | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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