Shame and Homeownership

When I graduated college a fraternity brother of mine bought a house.  He said it made more financial sense than renting.  At the time I had no financial means to buy a house but the thought sort of stuck with me. I envied him because he had the financial means to buy a house and I did not.

When my wife and I rented our first apartment in New Orleans the carpet bothered me.  I got the management to put in new carpeting and they raised my rent.  I did not have a vacuum so I bought a cheap one that did not work.  This stressed me out.  I rented steam machines from the grocery store but it never really did a good job.  We bought a couch to replace the futon. With each purchase motivated by shame I felt good at first but when they produced bad results I felt ashamed with my failures.

When we moved to Scranton I felt ashamed and annoyed to live with her father. I felt embarrassed that we were not living on our own as people of our age should be doing.

So we moved to an apartment.  We could not get the couch into the living room.  I felt frustrated that the couch was in the dining room and my wife did not put on the legs.  I felt ashamed when my parents came to visit because they would judge me as a failure.

When we moved to Philadelphia we lived in a high-rise.  I did not like that only bathroom was accessible by going through the bedroom.  When we had guests over I felt ashamed that they had to walk through our bedroom to get to the bathroom.

So we moved to another apartment with two bathrooms.

We were about to have a kid so we bought a row house.  At first it felt good.  Then I felt ashamed because our bathrooms were outdated so we had them redone but the workers ruined the carpet on the stairs going back and forth.  I could not get it clean and there was no room for guests so we bought a bigger house with a bigger mortgage at the height of the housing bubble.  My father helped me out with the down payment.  At first I felt good because I had a house that I was not ashamed of.  But then my wife lost her job  and I lost my job and we could no longer afford to send our kids to the private school they were attending.  Since the schools in our neighborhood were not that great we moved in with my parents where the schools were good.  We tried to sell our house but no one was buying.  So we rented it for four years.  When we finally sold it we sold it at a substantial loss.  I felt ashamed that I had lost all the money we put into that house.

The grass is always greener.  When I get to the other side it feels good for a time but then my shame ego convinces me that where I am is not good anymore. My shame ego will never be satisfied for long and will always try to convince me that what am doing and where I am living is wrong.

Sometimes I think that heaven (God’s House) is the ultimate version of the grass is always greener on the other side.

If the shame ego dies with the physical body then the grass will indeed be greener.

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