Many of us are not likely to see the pains of the rich and powerful. To live up to their status as powerful they hide their pains – loneliness, unhappiness, lack of love, and serious diseases. So you don’t see them, but people like Pastor E.A. Adeboye, who are consulted when situations worsen for the rich, have revealed that some of them do suffer pain of many kinds. And they cry!
Ordinarily, most of the Nigerian rich are curiously greedy, suffering the syndrome of primitive acquisition; they display oppressive impunity; and those who suffer from the sudden-wealth sydromme are too flashy and boastful. What do you expect if a man from the streets finds himself in the state or national assembly to be called an ‘honourable’ with all the money that goes with it? Painfully, many of them are wastefully obsessed with vanity.
However, the rich people who made money from their own sweat and invest heavily for the benefit of the economy and to offer employment tend to be less arrogant with money.
Affluenza naturally breeds socioeconomic inequality, but it would seem that the rich rub the pain in. British psychologist Oliver James asserts that there is a correlation between the increasing nature of affluenza and the resulting increase in material inequality: the more unequal a society, the greater the unhappiness of its citizens and insecurity.
Of course, the rich desire to be in a special class, and the more the poor, the more special they feel. But in truth, they suffer. Various studies have pin-pointed some of the pains by experts and writers such as Carolyn Gregoire.
Wealth affects moral judgment
Many rich Nigerians have no scruples sleeping with other people’s wives. A top rich Abuja politician shocked me recently, when cautioned that a woman he had a crush on was married. He retorted, “And so what? Do you know what it takes for us to do this job?” I hid my face. Shocked.
In the United States, a UC Berkeley found that in San Francisco — where the law requires that cars stop at crosswalks for pedestrians to pass – drivers of luxury cars were four times less likely than those in less expensive vehicles to stop and allow pedestrians the right of way. They were also more likely to cut off other drivers.
Another study suggested that merely thinking about money could lead to unethical behavior. Many rich men are liars. Research from Harvard and the University of Utah found that study participants were more likely to lie or behave immorally after being exposed to money-related words.
Wealth linked with addiction
While money itself doesn’t cause addiction or substance abuse, wealth has been linked with a higher susceptibility to addiction problems. A number of studies have found that affluent children are more vulnerable to substance abuse issues, potentially because of high pressure to achieve and isolation from parents. Researchers found that children of the rich may be more likely to internalize problems, which has been linked with substance abuse.
But it’s not just adolescents: Even in adulthood, the rich outdrink by more than 27 percent.
Money itself is addictive
It has been observed that the more money people have the more of it they want. Sometimes, as in many parts of the third world, greed sets in and spirals high away. The pursuit of wealth itself becomes a compulsive behavior. As Psychologist Dr. Tian Dayton explained, a compulsive need to acquire money is often considered part of a class of behaviours known as process addictions, or “behavioral addictions,” which are distinct from substance abuse.
While a process addiction is not a chemical addiction, it does involve compulsive behaviour.
Wealthy children may be more troubled
Children growing up in wealthy families may seem to have it all, but having it all may come at a high cost. Wealthier children tend to be more distressed than lower-income kids, and are at high risk for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, cheating and stealing. Research has found high instances of binge-drinking and marijuana use among the children of high-income, two-parent, white families.
We tend to perceive the wealthy as “evil”
On the other side of the spectrum, lower-income individuals are likely to judge and stereotype those who are wealthier than themselves, often judging the wealthy as being “cold.”
In Nigeria, there is the tendency to think many wealthy people as those who made their money through dubious means and rituals.
Money can’t buy happiness (or love)
We tend to seek money and power in our pursuit of success (and who doesn’t want to be successful, after all?), but it may be getting in the way of the things that really matter: Happiness and love.
There is no direct correlation between income and happiness. After a certain level of income that can take care of basic needs and relieve strain (some say $50,000 a year, some say $75,000), wealth makes hardly any difference to overall well-being and happiness and, if anything, only harms well-being: Extremely affluent people actually suffer from higher rates of depression. Some data has suggested money itself doesn’t lead to dissatisfaction — instead, it’s the ceaseless striving for wealth and material possessions that may lead to unhappiness. Materialistic values have even been linked with lower relationship satisfaction.