17 May 2024

From Mark Moss, a video that I watched last night. Uncle Scam is eyeballing the approximate $32 trillion USD in home equity that's currently out there, looking for ways to "free it up" so people can spend more money and create the illusion of a solid economy. 

I feel like we've seen this movie before...


30 September 2023

During a very busy week pulling the various levers of my business, I've been thinking about people I know and have known who constantly careen from one crisis to the next, attempt to latch onto anyone around them who has resources of one kind or another, and seek bailouts. 

I don't have much time for anything else when my activities are in full swing, so the little bit of poking around this subject that I was able to do I did with speech-to-text online searches with my smartphone as I moved between job sites. Not knowing where to begin, I tried a variant of what I wrote in the opening here, "people who are constantly in crisis." I also tried, "people with constant drama in their lives," or something along those lines. That mostly turned up results for people who thrive on drama, a personality type that seems to angle for finding or creating situations where they can be a "fixer." 

That wasn't it. What I've experienced time and again is more like a "drowning man" type scenario: someone gets in over their head in some way, thrashes about, and attempts to simply grab on to the nearest person to them. It tends to end with both going down (unless the frantic drowning man can be subdued, but that's getting off topic). 

I don't recall the train of thought that followed, but I tried my search again including "self-sabotage." That's when I started getting hits for something called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD for short). It sounded interesting, so I looked into it. That seemed to line up more with what I was seeing in a couple of people recently and have experienced with others in the past. Not exactly, but there was some traction there. I see and have seen in these people impulsivity, drug and alcohol abuse, unstable relationships, out-of-whack self-image, eating disorders, and suicidal ideation. It seems to check a lot of boxes.

From the literature that I've reviewed thus far, I don't feel that I can consider it perfectly definitive of what I've been trying to wrap my head around when it comes to these types because it's apparently relatively rare, affecting maybe 1-2% of the adult population. So how could it be that I know a greater percentage of people who seem to exhibit this condition? Maybe I'm just lucky? 

The part that is missing from the literature per my own experiences, glaringly, is the "bailout seeking" part. It seems that BPD sufferers are more about emotional support, belonging, and reassurance than material. I suppose that the transfer of assets to someone who exists with this condition could be perceived that way by them, as it would no doubt carry with it a sense of reassurance about their relationship with another, but the consistent absence of the specific topic from the literature I've read thus far makes me think that it's better explained by something else. 

The only other thing I've come across that seems to match up is something called the Upper Limit Problem. In short, it's a psychological term that refers to a person's programed perception of how many "good things" they deserve in life. When that limit is exceeded, they self-sabotage to bring themselves back down to their set point. (This apparently is also sometimes called the "Oscar Problem," due to some successful actors imploding personally and professionally after winning an Oscar; if you search for this term, however, you'll mostly find a bunch of whining about race. Yawn.)

There's perhaps something here, but I think it may actually point back to me when it comes to how many of these types I seem to be acquainted with. Not that I'm somehow attempting to sabotage myself by associating with them, but that I largely exist in a social circle that is full of people that are nowhere near my own capacities. I can't think of a time that I've ever hit a milestone and then started feeling bad in any way. I also can't imagine a future me who would. If however I frequently meet people who seem to be acting out behavioral patterns that are suggestive of this phenomenon, then perhaps its an indication that I've surrounded myself with people who are not my peers. That's not a good thing.

That is something that crosses my mind from time to time, and it does bother me, especially since what seems to come with it is an eventual, practically inevitable request for a bailout. "Hey, I did a bunch of stuff with foreseeable, avoidable negative consequences and the shit that I've been throwing at the front of this fan over here blasted back into my face. Can I have some money?"

To continue to associate with such people while also avoiding this aggravation requires basically hiding who and what you are. You can't talk about your aspirations, plans, and successes with them, because they begin counting what's in your pocket. Those things are big parts of life, however, and they're intensely interesting. At least it is to me. If you have to hide it all the time though, what's left of socializing? "How about this weather today, huh?" "Did you catch the sportsball game last night? Wow, right?" It gets lonely. No thanks.

I have been making efforts to change this situation. Big efforts. But, progress is slow. 

Things that are worth doing are almost never quick and easy.

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