The Psychology of Tightness

The psychology of tightness is something I find very difficult to fathom. There are so many people in the world that have barely enough money to survive week to week yet still manage to find some enjoyment in life. They appreciate what they have and try to make the best out of a bad situation. On the other hand then, you have the person who has a lot of money and won’t live at all.

One such person comes to mind. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call him Pascal. I’ve never come across a man as bad as this fella. Not only is he bone lazy but he watches every single cent he spends for fear of overspending. Pascal has a lot of money but he hoards it like he’s going to live forever. Every time he gets a bill, he complains and makes a huge ordeal about it, like he’s the only one who has to pay them. He goes around in bad clothes with holes in the sleeves, patches on the knees and has a car with an engine so loud you could hear it belching smoke half way back the street. His house is always freezing even in the middle of summer.

Now this man could have a good life, he could bring his family on holidays, have a nice, comfortable, warm home but he chooses not to. I find this very hard to understand, it’s like as if he enjoys the misery and takes pleasure out of it when he’s missing out on so much in life. I tried talking to him, to make him understand that life is passing him by, and that he wouldn’t want to have any regrets when he’s old but it’s like water off a duck’s back. Sometimes I think he doesn’t understand English because none of it is registering. Yet he seems content like that.

Pascal is not the only one with that mentality of course. I know people who are said to be the richest people in the parish and they walk around like paupers, dressed in rags, you’d actually feel like giving them money. Another individual by the name of ‘Bud’ had several hundred thousand in the bank when he died; his house was falling down around him, and he sat huddled in the dark, with no fire lit, despite having coal and briquettes piled up by the hearth.

It’s crazy, you’d feel like giving them a good shake, just to snap them out of it, and make them see sense. Is tightness in the genes? Can it actually be passed down from one generation to the next?  Perhaps hoarding large sums of money offers the person a false sense of security. Or is it a disease borne out of fear of being penniless?

Unfortunately, I don’t believe it is possible to break through this mind set over a couple weeks, it would take months of therapy, maybe longer, to get to the root of the issue, and really change and influence a person’s way of thinking. And even then, it has to be something they really want to-do.

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