Men, Money & Mom

For much of my lifetime, I’ve struggled with men and money, and it’s only been recently that I’ve discovered that my mother had a lot to do with it — or perhaps everything to do with it. And before you think, that this is going to be a bitch fest about my mother, it isn’t. I’ve been blessed with a few wonderful spiritual mentors who have assisted me in taming my inner victim and encouraged me to look at my life from the 30,000-foot view. Instead of being angry, I’m embracing this latest awareness with an attitude of curiosity.

Over the past few weeks, the Universe has been giving me clues about why I attract unavailable men and why for most of my life I’ve felt unlovable. Initially, I didn’t see the money connection — and there will be more on that in a moment, but first the men. As I was preparing to fly to Bend, Oregon, to meet a man who seemed like he was “the” man. He hiked. He fly fished. We were politically and philosophically aligned. We laughed and flirted. I smiled a lot thinking of him — and I hadn’t done that in a very long time. After five weeks of FaceTiming about ten hours each week and daily texts, I knew if I was to put any more time and energy into this relationship we needed to meet. And I wanted to meet him on his turf. A friend just happen to have the opportunity to rent a condo for a week, so I chose to meet her there and split the costs.

Unworthy & Unlovable

That’s when the big inner work began and my fears and limiting beliefs about relationships rose to the surface, like the cooked-on food that had been soaking in a pan for a few hours. I hadn’t dated in five years so there was a lot of gunk rising up for me to examine.

The Sunday before I left, as I putzed around my apartment, doing laundry and cleaning, I had the visions of old boyfriends who turned out to be less than desirable partner material meeting me at every turn. Yes, I saw their faces, which freaked me out. My fear about entering a relationship kicked in, and I almost canceled the trip. A few rounds of meditation, tapping, and breathwork put my fears aside.

A couple of days later, in the middle of the night, I was awakened by the memory of a toxic letter I received from my sister during the settling of our mother’s estate. I had to call her out on a few things and hire an attorney to puts some checks and balances in place after some irrational pricing of the estate’s property (double the market value). I hated to do it, but the action did move things along — and made me the prime target for my sister’s unresolved issues with our mother.

Our mother wasn’t emotionally available, and it was understandable. Her own mother was institutionalized after an STD which was passed onto her during birth. It affected my grandmother’s brain and sent her off the deep end when my mother was a teenager. Then, to add even more trauma to my mother’s life, her firstborn, my brother, was born stillborn. I can imagine the fear of another loss that she must have felt when I came along, a year later. It was likely safer to stay somewhat distant from me than to face having to possibly lose another child. This, however, set the stage for me to believe I was unlovable — and also has made me a magnet for men who may have been attracted to me, but were unable to be fully present and available for our relationship.

This brings me to my daughter. She feels I failed her and her brother for staying far too long in a marriage with their father that was tumultuous and created a home environment that was unstable and unpredictable — and often times unsafe. And I probably did stay too long. I was raised by Catholic parents who stuck it out no matter what — and my mother’s adage, “You made your bed, now lie in it frequently echoed in my mind.” Luckily, I realized the BS in that, but by this time, my kids were teenagers and had suffered far too long under the tyranny of traditional beliefs.

All of this whirled through my mind three nights before I was to get on a plane to visit a man who I thought was the perfect partner. I came face to face with the realization that the three women who were the closest to me in my life, really didn’t like me, and perhaps had a hard time loving me.

Kicking the Limiting Beliefs to the Curb

I had a choice to make. Either to continue to buy into the idea that I was unlovable or put it aside — once and for all.

I chose the latter. After three hours of meditation, visualization, and tapping, I awoke the next morning knowing I am lovable. I felt it firmly anchored in the core of my being, and there’s no dislodging it!

Finally!

The trip to Bend — well, let’s just say the guy was a catalyst to remind me of how much I love the area. I had attracted him at a time when I was still a magnet for the unavailable. I hadn’t yet had my night of reckoning, and deep down I probably didn’t believe I deserved someone who could play full out with me. We had a nice couple of days together. We hiked around the river walk and had fantastic lunch at an Italian restaurant in the Old Mill District. (Yes, I ate pasta and garlic bread and enjoyed every bite). Then with the rain ending our outdoor activities, we went to his house for an afternoon of tea, conversation, and affection. On Sunday, he took me fly fishing on the Crooked River, after which he told me he “wasn’t feeling it.” It probably was the 22-inch trout I caught, much larger than any of his catches that day. And no matter what the reason, it was a total reversal of his actions and words from the day before.

I returned to the condo to regroup, in shock, wondering what signs I might have missed. I let buckets of tears flow from my eyes as my Wing Girl Cathleen listened to me bemoan about how I thought “he” was the one, and how I will likely die without ever having a man in my life who can really accept my love (yep, a full-on pity-party). And I also realized, I had written this scene in my novel, The Whispered Teaching of Grandmother Trout, and now I was living it!

Writing a Different Outcome

And, if I wrote that scene, I knew I could write a different outcome. One where I was loving, honoring, and respecting myself — with or without a man, my mother, my sister, or my daughter buying into my belief that I deserve to be loved, honored, and respected.

As for the rest of the week, I hiked with Cathleen and Becky, adventured to fly shops and the headwaters of the Metolius, and I ate a lot of good food. My heartache healed very quickly.

Upon my return to San Diego, in the weeks that followed, I gave myself some space to climb once again to that 30,000-foot view and peer into the money and men issue. I had a few notebooks from seminars and retreats that need revisiting, so one Sunday afternoon, I sat in the yard and read.

Another clue emerged.

One of my mentors mentioned that money and love are of the same frequency. A light bulb went off. So if I felt I was unlovable, it made sense why maintaining a steady income that provided me with financial freedom had also been a problem for much of my life. My cash flow had been more like a rollercoaster than an ambling river. The times when I felt confident and on my game were periods of abundance. If I felt beaten up by “life” (or those in my life), my financial stress increased and my cash flow decreased.

For a time, I often undersold my services and accepted positions far below the experience I amassed in the publishing and academic worlds. And all because of the questions that had subtly haunted me for much of my life:

If my mother couldn’t love me, then who could?

If my sister couldn’t be kind to me, who would?

If my daughter couldn’t accept my goodness, then would anyone?

One of my clients, Tresa Leftenant, CFP®, and creator of The Money Stress Solution: 7 Essential Inner Habits for More Confidence, Clarity, and Financial Wellbeing, and I have been working together to bring her course to life over the last few weeks as well (watch for a fall launch!). With her practical financial advising background, she’s discovered that a woman’s financial wellbeing is woven into the makeup of her mindset. (We met through our training with Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles.)

Tresa, who also is the author of Reinventing Her: Helping Women Plan, Pursue, and Capitalize Their Next Chapter, says, “In order for our financial wellbeing to improve, we must develop and cultivate five inner superpowers that support financial wellbeing. When we enhance and improve our self-esteem, self-confidence, self-trust, self-respect, and self-efficacy, we can quiet the doubting voice in our head, believe in a positive future, and be motivated to do things differently.”

I’ve been seeing evidence of the shift with my finances for months now — and more so lately as new clients have come on board, and I’ve been offered new classes to teach. I’m loving myself in ways I never have before — and envisioning a future that fits my lifestyle desires. As for the guy…I’m holding out for someone who is available, loves to hike and fly fish — and is not afraid of being out-fished.

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