I think I just hit pay dirt…the reason I’ve had such trouble talking money with My Man.  It happened last night.

I’ve been an avid journal writer since the 5th grade. Every once in a while, I’ll go to the big cardboard box that holds my old journals and randomly pick one to read.

Last night, I selected a green spiral Mead notebook. It was from 1993… a very painful period when I was struggling with money…not long after the government told me I owed them over a million dollars (for back taxes my ex didn’t pay, for illegal deals he got us in).

As I read what I wrote on February 7, 1993, my jaw dropped:

I think I just made a discovery. Why I have money problems. Watched a video with Susan [a girlfriend]. A woman comes on who says she’s having trouble with finances because she’s afraid people would be jealous if she had too much.

“Susan looked at me. “Can you relate to that,” she asked?

“Could I!!! I instantly felt the shame and secrecy of having money growing up, of being different from everyone else…and the almost pride I now feel when I talk about all my money problems. I can see how my need to be like others, to be accepted, has me sabotaging my success.”

I’ll be damned! The same discovery…16 years later! I had forgotten how self conscious I was, as a kid, about being rich. Sure there were advantages to living in a big house, having a famous father. But, at the same time, I was embarrassed.  I never felt like I fit in. I was never quite sure if people liked me for me, or because of my family. I was always trying so hard to be just like everyone else. If I’d ever told anyone how I felt, which I rarely did, they’d always say: “Gee, I wish I had your problem!”

No wonder I was so scared to reveal myself to My Man. It suddenly made sense. In fact, writing this now, it seems downright obvious. I’m afraid of being different from him…of not being accepted.

Isn’t it astounding, how unconscious, irrational fears like these take hold with such an irrepressible force, it feels like we’re going against gravity?

So, here’s my current question: Now that I’m enlightened, will the conversation be easier? I’ll definitely let you know!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money

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