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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Money

Overeating, smoking, alcohol, drugs, anxiety – these are all the results of oral stage traumas. This is why many people move so easily between them. Recovered drug addicts start drinking. Former smokers overeat. And so on. 

An unhealthy relationship with money is a result of a different kind of trauma. It’s called anal-stage trauma. There are two general kinds of these traumas: the accumulating type and the dispersing type. 

If you want to see a perfect enactment of the accumulating type, turn on Shark Tank and observe Kevin O’Leary, the billionaire who chants “I just want more MAAAHNAAAAY.” I know nothing about his real-life persona but the character he plays on the show is deeply anally wounded. 

The dispersing type is somebody who is constantly haunted by money troubles irrespective of how much they make. Such people are always one bill away from disaster. They will engineer situations where they are always one step away from ruin because it’s their way of exercising control over life, strange as it might sound. They might have enormous incomes and be constantly skint because that state is their normal. 

Another manifestation of anal-stage traumas is one’s relationship with things. Hoarders, for instance, are a classic example of these traumas. And so are obsessive neatniks.

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7 thoughts on “Money

  1. DWeird on said:

    How is it a form of control?

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    • An abused child often provokes a parent into screaming or beating them. Because it’s easier than sitting there, waiting for the horror. This way, at least, you are in control of when the horror happens.

      It’s the same mechanism. This is why people with these traumas do so many financially risky things. At least, they have the comfort of knowing that the collapse is of their making.

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      • Crystallizing Chaos on said:

        Wow! That’s really insightful. This must also be the reason why certain people seek out abusive romantic partners.

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  2. I wanted to ask you write about money in serious relationships. What if one partner earns moderately or even much more than the other?

    I talk about couples in serious relationships – married with children kind.

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    • Like me and N, you mean? :-))) He makes it, I spend it, it’s all good. 😁😁

      Jokes aside, we’ve lived in many different financial situations. I was unemployed, then he was unemployed, there were times I was down literally to my last dollar, and then he was down to his. We’ve lived in a tiny rented apartment and now we live in a big house. There’s been debt, there’s been everything.

      And we’ve never had a single fight or even heated discussion about money.

      Our traumas are all oral, I guess. 😁😁😁

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    • I can add my 2 cents. I make about 2x what my husband does. We have separate checking accounts and a joint savings account through which we also move money between us. There is also a designated savings account for the kids’ college. WE both have things that we pay: I pay for all of the big stuff (mortgage, childcare and anything related to kids, food, vacations); he pays for his car, water/utility bills, intermittent house repairs, and puts lots away to savings (saves for the kids’ college and general savings). The five of us could live on my income alone, but without savings much and with some cuts in leisure activities.

      We don’t police each other’s discretionary spending; we could probably save more if we did, as many couples do, decide on how we spend every single penny (I read that some women give their husbands an allowance, which boggles my mind); however, I would hate hate hate that level of sharing/control. When I was growing up, my mom always hid clothes and anything she’d buy for herself from my dad, then pulled them out later and claimed they were actually old things, because he’d begrudge her spending any money on herself. I vowed never to be in that situation myself.

      Therefore, the first time my then boyfriend commented that I might spend too much money on coffee, I knew I was never getting a joint checking account, because no one is telling me I spend too much on coffee (I am quite frugal, don’t like to spend on myself, and don’t care for luxuries); as much as I love my husband, I think he’d be perfectly happy to control how I spend money if I let him, while of course wanting to keep the freedom to do as he wishes himself. Sadly, I found that to be the case with many men, or maybe just the ones I had the (mis)fortune to date. (As I told my husband the other day in a heated conversation, I don’t want to be the boss of him, but I sure as $hit want to be the boss of myself.) Sorry, this got TMI and perhaps dark, but it is what it is. We don’t actually fight over money, although I occasionally wish we’d save more, but my salary is pretty tightly obligated, and DH likes electronics a lot… The price of not meddling in each other’s discretionary spending is not saving as much as we optimally could.

      Btw, el, I don’t think we’re typical in our management of family finances. nicoleandmaggie at wordpress dot com have a blog where they talk quite extensively about family finances; what they do is probably closer to the American norm.

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      • Anon on said:

        We are in a similar boat. My husband makes about 50K more than I do, and he pays most of the major bills – mortgage and daycare. I pay utilities, groceries, home/car repair, travel and kids’ college funds. None of us interferes with the other’s discretionary funding, but we usually tend to “inform” the other person of any big purchases before we make them.

        We have also found that this keeps the peace although we may not be saving optimally. But to be fair, we will probably have enough money with what we are saving after retirement, and the benefits for us are not worth the conflict it will cause in our relationship.

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