I figure I’ll write a few posts on my dad, as he taught me many lessons in all the worst ways.
A little background. My dad was not a very nice person. To top it off, he was a lazy, racist, manipulative, gambling alcoholic.
Here’s a photo of us when I was born. You might be wondering why I picked this particular one as he’s obviously drunk. Well, the reason is that all the photos I have of him are like this. He was drunk most of the time. As a result, he was out of work A LOT.
Yet, he had a mantra that he would repeat to my mother on an almost a daily basis.
“WITHOUT ME, YOU’D BE NOTHING, YOU’D HAVE NOTHING AND YOU’RE A NOBODY.”
He repeated that mantra to her for over a decade. When I hit my teen years, I started to see her spirit break. That kooky little old lady who’d randomly talk to strangers at Walmart whether they wanted to talk or not changed. She was tired of the fighting and she lost all her will to fight back and stand up for herself. The scariest thing of all was that she was starting to believe him.
Meanwhile, I stood in the sidelines in disbelief. How could he take all the credit for where we were today? He hardly ever worked, he didn’t do anything around the house and regularly blew a bunch of money on the lottery and drinking. It was madness. The valuable lesson I learned is if someone tells you something long enough, you’ll eventually start believing it is true.
Many years later, when he was long dead and things were jolly again, my mom gave me this marriage advice:
“Don’t rush to get married. I waited 40 years and I still married a loser. It’s better to have one horse pulling the cart forward than to have two horses, one pulling forward and the other in reverse.”
For a while there, I thought I’d never get married. Independence seemed an awful lot better than being a slave to some deadbeat.
So why would anyone reading a PF blog care about this story?
Well, first off, pick a partner that’s going to be pulling the apple cart forward and not in reverse. Every once in a while, there’s a debate that tackles the question: Does picking a life partner that shares your financial goals make you shallow? I say, hell no! I’d rather be alone than have to share my money with some guy who’s spending it on scratch tickets at the 7-11. It’s way better being single than being with someone who makes you miserable. Just because it doesn’t match some cookie cutter version of someone’s ideal life doesn’t mean being single is bad.
If you have a friend, relative or partner that repeats something that you know not to be true, go find a person who’s more positive to spend time with. In fact, for me the #1 worst offender is that person staring back at me in the mirror. Have you ever caught yourself saying “Things never go my way” or “I’ll never lose that last 5 pounds.” Are you verbally abusing yourself? If so, shame on you! Instead, replace it with “I can get to my goal if I have a plan.” “Setbacks are just part of life but I’m still moving forward, slowly but surely.” Or my personal favorite “Everything happens for a reason. What can I take away from this experience?”
I know that negative brainwashing works, so I’m 100% convinced that positive brainwashing also works. So go out there and tell yourself and all your loved ones that they have what it takes to be successful and reach their goals. Say it and say it often. Brainwash those bozos until they believe it.
Has anyone ever tried to brainwash you at work, in a relationship, or anywhere else? I can think of quite a few peer pressure examples in school. I wonder how we can help shield our kids from some of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts.