parents, money, work, sense of self
I don't know where to post this. It spills over into so many areas of life.
Despite an otherwise good relationship, I have some real communication issues with my parents when it comes to money. I didn't grow up rich, but somewhere in my high school years my dad hit some home runs career-wise. I think he had a deep fear that my brother and I would end up spoiled, so family finances were not discussed. We just became aware at some point that we weren't going to have to worry about paying for college, even though that was never directly communicated. I think not communicating was exactly the wrong approach though, and for me, it's lead to some of the things that my dad feared.
My parents have continued to be very generous to us, but with the same lack of communication. They've helped my wife and I build a brand new house from the ground up in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. They've implied that we're not going to have to worry about how to send our own children to college some day. They help us pay down our mortgage, but the checks always come with some message like "I don't know how many more of these there will be..." That kind of message is very frustrating. I'm sure it comes from the same fear mentioned above. But I feel like I can't discuss it with them, because it'll make me seem like an ungrateful little snot.
I also feel guilty about being the beneficiary of money I haven't earned. My wife and I mince words about our house and where we live. We end up feeling awkward around friends who can't afford to buy a house, let alone build one from scratch.
My wife and I have been pretty successful in our own right. But I feel a little (okay, a lot) directionless. In school I always felt like I did a half-assed job, and somehow managed to get A's anyway. Work feels the same way. I work from home for a company based three time zones away, and often end up with free time during the day. A day or two a week where I don't really have any work to do at all. I'm constantly afraid that they'll eventually discover that I'm really a slacker and fire me. I have no motivation to excel, to be promoted, etc, because subconsciously I know that I have a huge safety net. I'm longing for something (work or otherwise) that I find really compelling and engaging. But I feel like I don't know how to find it -- how to get started.
My wife and I have our first child on the way, and I feel like I really need to get a handle on all of this. My own worst fear is that I will pass these same issues along to my children if I don't resolve them for myself.
The worst part is that I feel like I have no one to talk to about all of this except for my wife. I'm afraid anyone I confide in will say sarcastically "Gee, that sounds like a really nice set of problems." I fear that I will get that response here too, but I've been stewing on it for so long that I'm feeling close to meltdown and have nothing to lose from turning to a bunch of strangers on the Internet.
So... help? Maybe I should be talking to a therapist?