It’s not about the money: growing up with a fear of scarcity

This is a story about how parenting from a place of scarcity creates a fearful mindset that stays with you for life.

Born and raised on the idea that we were somehow wealthy, but also very poor, my parents articulated scarcity-loaded decisions that fueled a very real paranoia that we were only ever a few pennies away from a descent into the gutter.

True Story, my dad would sing the full version when we asked for things.

So what was going on in my childhood home, and twenty years later, why am I still talking about it?

I grew up afraid of being broke, and angry at being afraid of being broke.

The older I got, the more expensive life got, the more devious I became.

Eventually, I graduated from petty thief to career woman, and finally, I didn’t need to take anymore.

The theft wasn’t the problem.

Fast forward to the present day, and here I am. 30 years old, happily married and once again, living in comfort.

Between you and me, I’m not sure I know how to be comfortable, and that’s a limiting construct of my own creation.

And all it took to tip our relationship dynamic out of balance was my shrinking bank balance.

How do you explain to someone you love that their generosity is offensive to your childhood trauma?

As I write this I feel like I’m finally understanding why this is such a bitter pill to swallow.

The woman I’m trying to undo is a woman who grew up in a home where the real currency was scarcity. Scarcity of security, love, trust and certainty.

The other things.



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Nadia Amer

Copywriter & Bo̶n̶e̶ Story Collector | Roam here for the BBQ version of me. Lots of raw bits, burning pain, and meaty memories | Hire me at