That would be me. The controlaholic.
I’ve talked a lot about some of the positive that have come out my husband being laid off: we are taking positive steps to fixing our budget; I am making more side hustle income than ever before; and we are having those ever-important conversations about our direction in life.
But that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
Focus on the positive. Talk about how we’re working through it and how we’ll be stronger on the other side. And we will be. I know we will be. But while we wait for the storm to end and the clouds to part, we are still left slogging through the mud. I’m being slightly dramatic with my metaphorical comparison but the gist of the matter is that being down an income sucks.
Controlaholic: Acknowledge There is a Problem
Take my May monthly challenge goal to set a weekly time to discuss money matters. Great idea, right? My problem is that I apparently have a difficult time discriminating between discussing money and CONTROLLING ALL MONEY DECISIONS ALL THE TIME. It’s not that my husband is an irresponsible spender or that I love managing everything like that, it’s just that I don’t know what else to do with all this fear I have for our future. Do I really need to ask about every five dollars taken out of the joint account? Probably not. We definitely need to control our spending but I don’t need to go overboard with it.
I can know intellectually that my husband will find another job and that we’re doing fine financially but it’s another thing to know it emotionally. This shit is scary. We could lose the house and all that we’ve worked for up until this point. It wouldn’t take too much to knock over our Jenga tower of financial precariousness. One more crisis. That’s it. Our hot water tank could go tomorrow and we’d have to find a way to come up with $1000 to fix it.
Controlaholic: Understand How it Effects Your Life
As a way of coping – I am overcompensating. I’ve noticed that I have decided I WILL MAKE ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD. It wasn’t a conscious decision. It just kind of happened. I suddenly accelerated my plans to build my freelance writing client base and launch a tutoring business (instead of working for an agency). All these things have the (mis?)fortune of dovetailing with my life goals of working for myself but I am realizing that I don’t need to do it all at once.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to work on these things but there are other things to consider. These projects are too important to me to burn out on because I’m in a crisis mode and working like crazy. Why would I wreck it for myself before I even get started? I want to do these things because they are fun and enjoyable, not because I’m sure we’re going to be standing on a street corner in fishnet stockings if I don’t. I have to slow down.
Controlaholic: Understand Ho it Effects Other People’s Lives
In short, there needs to be room for my husband to do his part. He needs to find a job, even a Joe Job, so he can contribute to the household. It’s not exactly fair to either of us if I’m subconsciously giving the message that ‘everything is fine’ and ‘don’t worry’ and ‘I’ll handle everything’ when it’s not true. Please understand that my husband is not laying on the couch, arguing with TV Maury Povich about who’s the baby daddy and eating bonbons, because he’s not. He applies for jobs, he networks, and he does in person ‘cold calls’ to engineering firms with resumes in hand. I just need to let him do that and have that be good enough. Because it is. I just get more controlling as the situation gets more uncontrollable until I become a frothing fanatic and the situation is absolute chaos.
Controlaholic: Knowing is Half the Battle? Right?
So yeah, this isn’t my most attractive feature but I guess it could be worse. I don’t think I’ve been to overbearing with it – it’s more just a neurotic internal dialogue – but it does come out when we’re in some sort of crisis. There are money rules that make marriage better and trying to become the Supreme Financial Overlord isn’t one of them.
So what’s my mission now?
Slow down and let others do their part. Wish me luck, friends because I am determined to change.