Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Emotional Realities of Poverty

Ever wake up feeling like a worm, like life is a disappointment and a constant gauntlet? Chances are you have bad money problems.

This is the worst aspect of poverty and then toss in the ever grinding stress and the silence.

Who can you talk to?  [well except for God] You do not want to bring down your friends, and even worry about bringing them into compassion fatigue, after all a few years of asking for help is different when the stretch has become years duration and you see no end in sight but now worry about losing everything. What if you are triggered to the nightmare poverty of years before? You wonder what is wrong with you as a person, why have you been so punished?  Why has your adult life been a constant series of unmet demands. That is the reality of poverty. Dead dreams, destroyed marriages and the rest. Others seem to be able to function and manage, where it is not so complicated. Why can't you? Why can't he?

The Squawker has always wonder why there are no support groups for the poor?  Maybe that is what churches used to be, but now as one sits in the pew hearing the pastor talk about his missions trips [vacation] to another Caribbean nation, even there and the megachurch with its Dave Ramsey seminars where one must have expendable income to even make it work, the majority are out of touch with your existence or else set in silence like you.  If you are poor and have others surrounding you who have shared the same fate, trust me it's easier, rather then a long line of upper class ever-employed professionals who see your poverty as a result of your long list of shortcomings.

Even in small towns now, the poor skulk around the edges trying to hide their real status. Still others hang on the tip of their fingernails in suburban or more affluent communities, seeking to hide their real status as much as possible.  It's all about looking good and living in hiding. Even speaking about poverty issues in America or admitting "I am poor" crosses endless taboo lines. Shouldn't we question that taboo?

Being poor means living in silence, embarrassment and shame. Unpaid bills, worries, a feeling of stress, impacts one's very health and well-being. Cruel families look down on poor members as  "losers", as the people try to keep a smile on their face in front of others showing bravery and confidence while inside and privately the tears flow. Some fortunately have families who help, but then comes the guilt. Even if one turns to God, and realizes the emptiness that lies in materialism and the love for the dollar, the way the system works now, the former relationships, social connections and everything that kept one humming earlier despite poverty, are gone. I think it's time to bring those things back.

Some people tell you make more money, others say try this. Some succeed how? After years of closed doors what do you do? Well don't give up and realize the numbers facing this are huge. The other day the Squawker had the blessing in the form of a lady saying this straight to her face, "A lot of people are suffering right now!", and right then they were able to talk about it.

The feelings of shame, guilt, fear, anger, among the endless demands you can't meet and endless feelings of the lost of control are dangerous to one's physical and spiritual well-being. What are some ways, one can circumvent these things? The Squawker prays about them and is reminded that treasures are built in heaven. The Reckoner states that you can't control what other people do, good, bad or indifferent.

The Squawker, is in what she calls "the deer in the headlights" mode. And that is exactly what it is like. When you see groceries grow short in the fridge, and the money isn't covering the basics anymore, you feel the fear. Sometimes the fear gets you to start unloading possessions, throw up a few more things on eBay to have groceries next week.  Sometimes the fear has you wanting to hide in your bed under the covers. At times you pray and are comforted. But a lot of the time as far as this world goes you feel like you are being told to empty the entire ocean with just a bucket.

If you are facing this too, don't be afraid to talk about it. That is what we need is more people who break the taboo of silence regarding money problems. Why not talk about what it is like? Why not ask questions? Why not at least no longer feel so alone? Way too many people feel like they are "the only one" and the system that be forces that.

---The Squawker


  1. Posted back in March and still as real and as impacting. THANK YOU

  2. Thanks Anon for your encouragement and comments. :)

  3. You're welcome. Come back any time, and let us know how you're doing. --The Reckoner