Poverty Mentality

When I was a kid, my father was the cheapest bastard in the world.  He wouldn't spend money on anything.  The "Waste Not-Want Not principle was practiced with such seriousness that we thought if we didn't use something until it was so worn out that it didn't function at all.  There was no replacing things when they became out of style or moderately used that we were brought up to believe that the end of the world would occur if we wasted anything.  We didn't throw things away just because they were old or that we didn't like it anymore.  That would have been almost criminal and probably immoral as well.  So I have a problem throwing things away.  Also, my grandmother was a terrible hoarder.  She had lived through the great depression and knew what it was like to be hungry.  I can remember that she had a cupboard with canned goods that were so old that the labels had peeled off and the cans were rusty.  She never threw anything away in her life, and she lived in the same house for 67 years until she died.  Cleaning out that house and throwing all the junk/stuff she had stored all those years was awful.  Poverty mentality.  That causes people to have difficulty throwing things away.  Being disorganized also doesn't help.
MarriedUnlovedAndAlone MarriedUnlovedAndAlone
61-65, M
6 Responses May 18, 2012

Hello again MarriedUnlovedAndAlone. I came across our conversation again today after about three and a half years have passed and the general tone of it surprised me. Reading it AS THOUGH it was written by someone else I have to say we looked just like two bitter and twisted old housewives bitching about their miserable lot in life. The reasons for this are obvious. Growing up with an alcoholic parent puts huge obstacles in the path of other family members that can really hinder their progress towards achieving a mature and balanced state of mind and a useful, happy and productive life. I stopped going to those 12 Step meetings for various reasons some time after my father, brother and mother in law all drank themselves to the grave within a few years of each other. I have met plenty of people who grew up with an alcoholic parent and resentment and bitterness are not uncommon among them. It is understandable but nevertheless dysfunctional. Even though I am no longer in the meetings something of the spirit of them is still in me. When I catch myself feeling bitter or resentful about something in the past that I am powerless to change I seem to remember someone in one of those meetings saying "we succeed when we aim for progress not perfection". It reminds me of the HOPE I found when I realised that even if I am powerless over the family disease I am not powerless over what I put in my mouth OR what comes out of it. The spirit of hope and the spirit of recovery are still with me when I choose to dwell on them. I can not achieve PERFECTION today but I CAN CHANGE even if it is only my thoughts. How are YOU travelling?

My parents were the same. Then again, if I had left school at the age of ten during the great depression only to be pounded by old Adolf and various other WW11 tyrants just as I was reaching my physical prime I would probably be the same as them. But it was my outrageous good fortune to be born during the post-war boom after 1945 and before 1956. The history books suggest to me that the abundance and prosperity of our generation probably will not last forever. Our parents lived simply so that we could simply live. Some times I too have a hard time getting rid of stuff I no longer need. Life could be worse. I do not need another world war either, but it could always happen.

Yeah, I was born in 45. But my Grandmother had suffered through lots of lean years, and actually had to do without during the deperssion, and she remembered it and lived it the rest of her life and passed it on to my father. He didn't actually suffer any and shouldn't have had the cheap bastard attitude that he had when we were growing up. He just close to be like that and ingrained it into us- awste not, want not, etc.He wasn't forced to have this attitude or act the way he did., He was just that way for no reason other than to be mean and make us grovel for everything in life. Sad tale, but it's true.

It sounds like he was just a mean b@stard. My dad was an alcoholic. I was just a kid when my mum divorced him. He did everything he could think of to get me to go and live with him after that so he would not have to pay child support. My mum had next to nothing but with him I would have died of neglect. When I turned 17 he lost interest because he could not be forced to pay after that. He was tight fisted but I think he was very sick. My older brother (also born in 1945) DID choose to live with him and started drinking with him from the age of 13 years. He never reached my present age. I have met men who looked better at age 90 than my brother did at half that age. Neither of them could ever throw anything away but it was a symptom of a much deeper malaise. I don't think depression is quite the right word. They were PHYSICALLY alive (sort of) but SPIRITUALLY dead. The house full of garbage was not the biggest problem. The biggest problem was maybe the heart full of garbage.

Will999: Sorry to hear you also had to suffer the same fate that I did. My mother didn't have the courage to divorce him until 1967 (after 38 years or suffering). If she had done it sooner it would have saved us from his horrible abuse, but she didn't. If she had divorced him earlier, we would have gone with her, but because she didn't we couldn't escape. She only did it after both of my brothers and I were in the military and she then was the lone target for his abuse. My father was a sick, mean, condescending, demeaning, abusive alcoholic bastard. Sorry to hear that yours was also. But we both survived. I said "I won't ever treat my kids like he treated us a thousand times, and I didn't. So at least he made me be better than he was. That's the only positive thing that came out of his life.

Yes MarriedUnlovedAndAlone good can come out of tragedy. Watching my father and older brother drink themselves to death was enough to scare me off it for life. I did not plan to become an alcoholic but then, neither did they. I gave my mum a hard time as a teenager because we went without so much but your story has helped me see that she did what she had to. If she had stayed things could have been much worse for us.

Hi again MarriedUnlovedAndAlone. "sick, mean, condescending, demeaning, abusive alcoholic bastard", it sounds all too familiar to me. It also seems to me that much hinges on the alcoholic part of this complex situation. It is more than an unpleasant habit. It is a disease. A disease that affects the whole family. The family situation does improve if and when the alcoholic seeks help with their drinking on their own account. My father and older brother who stayed with him chose not to and they paid the ultimate price. Alcoholism is a relentless progression from the poor house to the lockup to the graveyard. Personally I have found that the only alcoholic to find lasting sobriety is the one who got it through the Twelve Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is free, voluntary, anonymous and has no particular religious requirement. It began in the USA between the two World Wars and has a world wide reputation for leading alcoholics to recovery. I attended open meetings myself as an observer during the time that my father and older brother were drinking like there was no tomorrow. As it turns out they did not have as many tomorrows as they thought they did. I was honest and open about my reasons for being there and I found that mob to be friendly, welcoming, encouraging and generally good humoured.

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I know about holding on to things that need to be let go of!<br />
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Sometimes I feel scared to let go, but holding on to worthless things just junk up your house and mind!

You are right. I wish I could do better at getting rid of stuff I really don't needs.

You are right, and many people think clutter actually causes depression. I think they might be right. Actually, less is more.

I know I cannot think straight in a messy room anymore.

I was in a very unhappy relationship and our apartment was a WRECK. That's because I didn't want him to be in my home anymore so I regrettably acted out and kept this place a hell hole. Well when we split, I threw everything out and started fresh! :))

It's a little hot for blankets right now, but being that I live in Minnesota, they are a good thing to have extras on hand. I'll be over to pick them up tomorrow afternoon if I can find your house. I forgot the address. Send directions. Take care.

My father was exceptionally tight-fisted too. It is my belief that hoarding clutter is a major cause of depression, because too much 'stuff' hobbles you.

You are so right my fair damsel.

Best thing that ever happened to my closets is that Hoarder tv show...have you seen it? I tape the damn things....one episode and I shoot around this house and clean like a possessed woman. (still have my daughter's baby clothes, too many blankets and too many christmas decorations)<br />
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Try this....some old people get stuck and feel worse cause they live with the past staring the in the face every day...chuck it. WE don't breathe the same air with every breath...its always new and reviving...chuck the junk.

No, I don't watch the show. It is depressing and I've been afraid that I would see myself on there. You are right. I know i need to work on it. I'll try to get rid of some stuff.

Hi MarriedUnlovedAndAlone. Everyone I know who grew up with a drinking parent has more or less the same problems. Whether the drinking causes depression in some people and hoarding in others or whether depression is the underlying problem to begin with and the main cause of the other problems is difficult to know, but I am sure they are all linked. Close friends and relatives of the drinker seem to be effected as badly as the drinker, sometimes more. I have never seen anyone permanently escape this malady by any means other than a spiritual experience. It does not always happen the same way for each person but it is always deeply personal. When it happens it seems like a revelation, a moment of clarity or an awakening. No one else seems to understand except people who have lived a similar dilemma. It helps to seek them out and talk to them.We are not hard to spot apparently, many of us have chosen a life partner with similar problems before we knew that much about them. I wish you well.

Good luck. But tell me, can you take some of these blankets off my hands? : )

I agree, that Hoarding show inspires me to no end!

It's easy to see that hoarding.otself can be a mental.laspe and not a lazy.laspe.

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