Public Stigma and Private Thoughts of Failure
It was all my fault. At least, that is what I believed and even though there was a whole industry of financial piranas who baited, enticed, used all kinds of psychological maneuvers to attack me for their gain, I still felt I was alone and almost worthless.
And indeed, it was my fault to a great extent. I had used credit cards to help me and do the things I wanted to do. I remember the day it started. I was foolish really. I was tired of buying my clothing at the goodwill-type stores. The girl I was dating expected more of me. So, at a biker sale at Hudson Leather I pulled out my card and bought this awesome Marine Corps emblem for my leather jacket.
That was the beginning. But the interest rate was very low, some zero. And I was in the type of business that I could make a lot of money quickly. So, I figured it could get this paid off. It didn’t happen that way. I kept putting off getting more sales and kept rolling over my credit cards using these fantastic new offers. (Even though my income was near zero, the credit card companies were really helping me out.)
The crash came. The credit rates increased to usury levels, credit lines were chopped and demands were coming in for payment. And I tried. I really tried. I called, I wrote letters. I told them that I would pay if they give me some time. I would pay everything! One of them, Juniper, listened and really did help and work with me. I appreciate them and to this day I am sorry I had to include them in my bankruptcy.
Then the calls started. Every morning, including Sunday mornings around 7:30 the phone began to ring. I answered and time after time I told them. They always had the same questions. Could I tell them about the reason I couldn’t pay? When could I pay? Could I set up an automatic payment plan? (Which I tried for a while.) Every time the phone clicked off I fell a little more stressed. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like my life was in a quagmire and there was no way out. I had always paid my bills. Always.
Finally, after several months of this, I got a Dave Ramsey Cd and learned that these telecommandos were trained to make one feel inadequate and a loser. They certainly were doing a good job. Finally I told these guys I would answer their call just once a week. By the way, Citicard and BOA are the very worst. Predatory is an appropriate word for those companies. All these companies received millions, even billions in our tax dollars as bailout money, yet they refused any type of real assistance for you and me, their customers.
I called one of the places referred to me about what to do. After a lengthy consultation, they advised that I file for bankruptcy. A few more months later, I did. My lawyer turned me over to a specialist, Atty. Ed Snyder. I paid twice as much as most people but am very glad I did. He helped me tremendously, and steered me in the right direction. At the hearings, many people with other, less expensive lawyers, were having trouble with the paperwork, confusion on funds, etc. I didn’t. Everything was there and it went smooth. And even now, if a letter is sent to me about that I just fax it to Ed, he calls me and explains it to me. Thanks Ed and thanks to Atty. Dan McQuade as well.
So, I filed bankruptcy. And what a surprise! Once I became open about that, I found that many people I knew had filed bankruptcy in the past. I never knew. We keep these things so private because of what we think other people will think. This is complete bull. Don’t do it. Be open and honest about it. Your true friends will back you, the others don’t deserve your thoughts.
By the way, these same companies who harassed me for a year, who sued me and tried to ruin me, just for more gain for them. Guess what they did? They sent me more offers for credit! And car dealers did too!