Money Drunk Money Sober: an inventory of my debts

For this time period, I am working through Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan’s book Money Drunk, Money Sober before I work through the Prosperous Heart. The following blog entries are in response to prompts and experiences from the book. I see this as an extension of my Artist’s Way work. Some of my entries are jarring and highly personal – any program of sobriety and self-improvement demands admitting dysfunction both personally and in family, and it also calls to admit some painful truths. While not everything I work on appears here, a number of realities do. I have a genuine body of work thanks to my work on the Artist’s Way program, and I can’t ignore the changes the continual commitment has brought about. Because of that, I also can’t ignore what going further into the harder aspects of the program – like facing money issues – has the potential to improve.

From Minneapolis Rose Garden

Car loan – will be paid off this year, we bought it last year. Tip: if you’re not all about the new cars, calling  car rental companies for what they’re retiring from their fleet is great. Also, we financed through our credit union – also a much better move than if we did with a bank. We share a car – it’s not convenient and has royally curtailed my social life, but it reduces a lot of month to month financial stress.

Private student loan that went to collections – a little over $1000 left.

Stafford student loan – around 65K. Not nearly as debilitating as it sounds if you make a genuine effort to learn the loan system and not just what you’re told at exit counseling, and I am making full monthly payments … – when the new loan system allows it, anyway. Apparently the new company that handles loans is not adept enough to a)apologize for the screw up and b)address how they are actually screwing up. This does not bode well for my fellow student loan holders, either, not with Ponzi-scheme mentalities (don’t own or accept responsibility, avoid transparency, try to blame the customer when called out)  dotting the national student loan management landscape both within the bank service and by the looks of it up in the Secretary of Education’s office, too.

Debatable debts:

To my mother, for assistance in college. She made a big point of hissing loudly at me in front of the bank employees how “I’d better pay her back.” Oddly, she was never so concerned about my sister compensating her for car insurance, room, board, textbook purchase, and other sundries that I once calculated as a total expense after age 16 that went upwards of $60K total including assistance with her mortgage, bills, and food after she got married, compared to a total of $13K for me, including the $6K student loan assistance. This is before I calculate room, board, insurance, and groceries from my sister boomeranging in and out of her house.

My mother technically “forgave” the “loan” to me years ago, saying it was money she had saved for me (so why was she such an ungracious bitch about it at the time, especially given how little I cost her compared to my sister, and given that I was also performing MUCH better in college than my sister had, with multiple scholarships to show for it?) It was a verbal, and my mother is patently untrustworthy, so she probably grouses about it behind my back as one more thing that prevented her from getting that “new kitchen” she never actually wanted – she just wanted the excuse for random tantrums about how the world owes her. My therapist believes I should not pay her back, ever, because a)my mother is an abusive bitch and she will simply use it as another way of manipulating me and demanding as much as she can from me while giving as little as she can get away with as is the pattern with her and my sister and b)because out in normal people actually help their kids be independent when they try to start their lives. That my mother has persisted in punishing me for independence while rewarding my sister’s persistent co-dependence is a whole other ball of bullshit.

To my ex, for helping me out after our divorce. It’s a legality versus honor thing for me. Legally, I owe him absolutely nothing. I’ve checked with a lawyer about this, and the consensus is that he lied to me about going to flight school, there was legitimate alienation of affection, and if I hadn’t been so depressed, exhausted, and stuck taking shit from mother and mother-in-law alike while he did absolutely nothing to help me, I would have sued him for alimony and likely won. If his mother hadn’t gotten into gear when I broke my ankle and I didn’t have health insurance (thanks to my ex refusing to put me on his health insurance because he didn’t like seeing his paychecks get that much smaller) I probably would have taken it to the courts. My skipping that was gratitude for her cutting me that break, a break her son would not man up and do.

Also, he did keep all the furniture – and I mean ALL of it. I barely got my books and essential oils back.  It was stuff my family had saddled me with (now you need to live a life just like ours dear, we don’t care if it’s not right for you or if you can smell the rot beneath it) but it comes down to principle, I suppose. My sister chasing down my ex over garden tools was fucked up enough, because “everything” should stay in the family, even if it’s broken, obsolete, or unsuitable. I’m only now starting to realize my mother’s constant bitching about other people being grasping is because she’s quite the grasper herself. It’s an honor thing – he did help me after we were no longer married, but it was with an eye if not to getting me back then to preventing me from moving on. But I’m not legally obligated, and he made zero sacrifices for me when it counted, even refusing to move out of Mankato after graduation. His mother was a complete backstabbing shrew, and my mother supported the backstabbing shrew’s behavior, which also did not help. Only years later am I seeing exactly how emotionally abusive and manipulative my ex really was. I don’t feel any hurt or anger over it – I think, given how horrible my family is, it was kind of inevitable that I’d think his behavior was normal because quiet abusiveness to my mind was preferable to constantly waiting to see if it was Alice or Kris who was going to have the screaming temper tantrum that day.

There are a lot of people who owe me small things, and some pay me back and others don’t. Sometimes I  just chalk that up to being social, but I am resolving to be much less generous to those who have not demonstrated generosity to me from now on. Early in friendships of course there’s a little more building time, but there’s a point where I have to say no because I’m putting somebody else’s needs, social or otherwise, before my own. To be fair, a lot of my giving things away is in part practicing non-attachment and also because it helps me declutter – I see giving away a lot of my perfume stuff to good friends as benefiting me.