I recently read a CNN article that explained that studies have shown that childhood trauma has been shown to later affect the grown adult’s relationship to money and finances. Basically, the instability and stress of living in a financially precarious household often causes extremes in people as they reach adulthood. Many become extremely conservative with money and have very little appetite for risk. Others become extreme risk takers because, why not? They’ve seen that many things can be taken from you in the blink of an eye so why not take advantage of what you’ve got, when you’ve got it. This resonated with me quite a bit as I can see my own behavior in those statements.
I also have a default mental schema in which I immediately calculate the worst case scenario of any situation. There is no better way to ensure a constant feeling of dread and endless background monkey chatter in your subconscious than always seeing the glass as half full…of some sort of clear corrosive liquid. On the surface, you think this is a helpful survival instinct that prepares your for all eventualities. In reality, it’s actually a trauma response from never having your needs met. You think that if you prepare for the worst, it will inoculate you against the eventual hurt and disappointment. It doesn’t, though, and you will still feel those raw emotions if the worst happens. However, is something good happens it will also rob you of the chance to be happy and live in the moment. Your monkey brain is just waiting for the shoe to drop and have it all snatched away from you.
The ultimate irony is that 99.99% of the doomsday scenarios you replay in your head will never play out or, if even they do, won’t kill you. However, constantly keeping your mind and body in panic mode will absolutely shorten your existence on this mortal coil and make you incapable of enjoying what remaining time you might have. So maybe the glass isn’t half full or half empty. It’s just a glass with a some liquid in it. How you feel about it isn’t material or necessarily helpful.