If you read last weeks’ blog post, you know that I avoided dealing with money in my marriage.
To me, money was the plague.
I guess you could describe my husband and I’s relationship with money as a co-dependent situation where we both fed off each other’s needs: my need for security and his need for control.
You might be wondering why I gave up my personal power so easily and freely.
It was because of trust.
I trusted my spouse and believed all assets, no matter who was earning them, were ours– both of ours. We were a family. I never thought it would matter if my name was on a bank account or not.
Maybe my mindset was a bit naïve, or perhaps I have a Cinderella complex.
A Cinderella complex is a fear of independence – an unconscious desire to be taken care of by others.
I’m going to have to delve more into the Cinderella complex at another time, but I think it is very real. My guess is that it comes from societal messaging, which hopefully is changing in today’s society to help break down this paradigm.
When I decided to leave my marriage, financial security became an even greater stressor. There was now a direct correlation between my real life situation and my avoidance behaviors.
I had not worked in 10 years, and did not have access to any of our bank accounts.
I had blinders on.
The financial security that I believed my marriage provided was false.
I got on a plane with our suitcases, the money in my wallet, and even took what my children had saved up in their piggy banks. I was scared to death!!
Luckily, my brother had organized a meeting with an attorney, and we quickly came to a support agreement. While this helped alleviate some of the stress, it is still a codependent relationship where my ex can exercise control and I don’t have power. However, I am now aware of how this really isn’t healthy for either of us.
It only prolongs our codependent relationship.
Money matters are hard, because money is unemotional. Living costs and bills have to be paid, and they don’t care what you are going through or where the money comes from. In some ways, the support money is compensation for having taken on a sacrificial role in the marriage, which allowed my ex to progress his career. I put my career to the side for what I believed was best for the family. The money now provides me the freedom and opportunity to build my business and design a life for myself and children.
I have shared my story so that others can learn from my mistakes and also in hopes of others digging into the psychology of their beliefs around money and how it has shaped their perspective. From this vantage point of awareness, you can start to make positive changes.
Check back next week for my ideas on how we can reshape our money mindset and start valuing ourselves.
Have you ever had a major wake-up call with money?