Below is a formative memory that influenced my beliefs and behaviors related to money

It's my senior year of high school, and I'm out with classmates to work on a school project over the weekend. After spending a few hours working on the assignment, the other kids decided they wanted to get some food which presented a problem for me. My father lost his job in the 2008 recession, our house was in foreclosure, and I had no cash to get food.

I told the group I'd be unable to tag along but proceeded to make a fatal mistake. Naively, because some part of me was seeking support in my situation, I let it slip that my family had no money because my dad lost his job. Half the group laughed at me. One of the laughing kids sneered "Awwww, boohoo" and drove to the restaurant.

As an adult, I now understand that kids don't have the maturity and experience to have been supportive at that moment; but they were old enough to know better than to engage in cruelty. But at the time, I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. I felt so guilty, like I had done something wrong because my family was broke.

I've realized that this was a formative experience in my life. Due to this experience, I internalized the message that admitting or appearing as if I couldn't afford something was shameful. From then on, I started to conduct myself under the pretense that I could never look like I didn't have the money for something ever again. It solidified the belief that you cannot go to other people for support. (I still have this problem, my long-term partner still doesn't know how bad my financial situation is).

Anyways, God bless the kind kid who didn't laugh at me. He recognized my humanity, floated me the cash to eat with the group, and allowed me to regain some dignity by paying him back later that week.