• Stefan Neff

From Zero To Hero Chapter 21

The Hidden Truth

I had a secret to tell her, but I was so afraid of what would happen if I told her the truth. I was awful with money. I spent money that didn’t belong to me and didn’t care what the consequences were. I wanted something and I would do whatever I had to, in order to get it.


I used credit cards as a kid in a candy store. When I paid for cigarettes and beer, I used a credit card that she didn’t know I owned. I didn’t want her to find out that I was still drinking or smoking so I hid all my lies in credit cards.


I remember when I was a teenager learning how to deal with money, my parents showed me how NOT to use money wisely. They always had people after them for money that they owed. I remembered one time when the sheriff showed up at our house, ready to take my mother to jail because of money that she owed to someone else.


Throughout my childhood, this was a normal way of dealing with debt. I had mistaken this for normal in my later life and it caused me no end of trouble. I didn’t know any better so I went on lying and borrowing, never intending on paying any of it back.


My life had been a lie for so many years with the misuse of credit cards. My wife had no idea how bad things actually were and that got me into so much trouble. Every time I had to pay the bills I had to lie about how much money I made so that I could use it to pay down the mounting debt she didn’t know about. Another thing I used to do was to always use a different bank than her, so she didn’t know what was going on in my financial life.


Talking about money always brought anxiety to our relationship. Money fears in my life were creating such a hot topic, every time my paycheck would arrive, she would ask, “How much did you make this month?”


I would have to lie and make up a beautiful story about how I bought lunch every day or my friend borrows some money from me so my paycheck was less that month. So many lies, I couldn’t keep track of them all. Soon I started to believe the lies that I told each month. Lies create distance and it was also creating a breakdown in my mental outlook of who I was.


My financial life was a mess, never drawing a line between what was right or wrong, and wondering when the next time she was going to bring up money, made things very touchy. I was definitely walking on eggshells when it came to our financial life.


I truly wanted out of this self-created mess but didn’t know how to start. I blamed all my problems on my childhood, but inside my gut, I knew the truth. The truth was I didn’t want to face the truth about how irresponsible I really was. I told myself every day. “I’m not that bad a person. I am getting much better than before,” and that was a lie. It was getting so bad that I couldn’t even tell the truth to myself anymore. I started thinking about my desire to change and wondered how can I be the man I was meant to be if I am always hiding from myself? This was a routine that plagued me for 30 years. With all that had happened, and all the realizations I had in the past year, why the #Fuck was I still acting like the bad man that I had been so many years ago?


Tell you the truth I wanted to be this way because I could hide from the pressure and expectation of having to be more like the man people expected me to be. The best way to keep people off my back was to be mean to the people around me and always have a mean smile on my face. Show anger in my voice to the people closest to me and they will keep their distance.


Being mean seemed so much easier than being a nice friendly guy. Nice guys got taken advantage of and were easily controlled. I was nicer to people I didn’t even know, and mean to the people that loved me so much. I was completely disconnected from them. What a fool I am to think this was a happy life. So much the opposite of what I thought life was supposed to be like. I thought my life was going to be filled with love, money and pure happiness and here I was several steps down the road and still mired in crap. So when is it going to happen in my life? When will I finally get my life turned around enough to see some measure of happiness and success?


In the Next Chapter, I will share how "Finding The Road To Greatness" Changes My LIFE.


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