Money, money, money and me: 4-8 years

Posted on: 11 November 2008

abba-money “I want to be rich” my brother, 4 years older than me, would proclaim proudly at any time, prompted or not. His eyes glowing with, what my parents deemed condescendingly, greed. What I see now, is how this flame was fueled by a simple but burning need for love, attention and recognition by them. An unfulfilledness that nearly consumed me, too. But I was the good girl; he was fighting it out. I thought I had the easy part – well, my dues came later.

It is probably no coincidence, that in the same period my mom went back to work. The wind of neglect began blowing through our big, nice house. Everyone was always busy doing things elsewhere. My brother – up to no good with friends my parents didn’t approve of. But I was there. Waiting for the sound of someone coming home. Hoping. I remember playing with dolls, on my own. Learning to read, and reading, alone in my room. The cats kept me company. Standing beside my mom’s desk, while she was writing. Waiting for her to give me some attention. Settling for a bit of paper and a pen, “writing” myself, too. Petty fights about me having to use a mouthpiece that was supposed to help me stop sucking on my thumb and set my teeth straight in one go. It was embarassing. The outward part looked like a pacifier – I was 6 by now. I had to wear it to school – I refused, I “lost” it, it broke. Fights about cleaning our playroom. I would scream at my mom, forbading her to say the word “clean”. On the other hand, these same tuesday afternoons were holy: mom would be at home. All bets were off – no friends coming over, no playdates at some one elses: just enjoying her presence in the house. She’d do laundry. I’d watch, help some. Waiting for that special look, a cuddle, a kiss.

Back to me and money: things were heating up between my dad and my brother. He would angrily erupt into an: “If I am rich, I’ll…” – buy all the candy I want, get the nice toys: live the life I really want, instead of the deprived one you are making me live now. Door slamming exits. I associated their anger with money – I learned to hate it. Looking back, I can put into words that I hated the depencendy and powerlessness it created in him, because he did not have it. I would shrug myself, feeling I did not need money to buy me love, convincing myself my parents did, in fact, love me, since I was not giving them a hard time. Being sweet, quiet, invisible. Don’t talk about the money thing. Don’t make them angry. Distance yourself from the fire and explosions destroying the love. But it hurt me too, even before… An innocent bystander, I felt ill at ease, sensing something amiss. I sensed my mom and dad suffered just as much from the faltering relationship, even though they did have money. Well… they separated when I was 8 years old. The first clear cut. The suffering, the pain, the nonprocessing, the delay of all that – an entire story, to be told another time. The concrete effects on my life were a move to a new house, a new school, new friends. I was a mess – crying in class for no apparent reason, nothing I could put into words. But me and money – stay tuned for how that relationship evolved.


1 Response to "Money, money, money and me: 4-8 years"

I always find it so interesting, and telling, how as children we make associations that seem to make so much sense at the time, and when we look back later, explain so much about who we potentially become as an adult….. luckily, we can always find the sources of our beliefs and attitudes and change them for the better…..

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