But it's hard to play defense against a player you've never encountered. Turns out that the x I was trying so desperately to solve in the equation was something utterly out of my control: another person and his secrets. I grew up in a household where one person managed and controlled all the money, and that one person was not even the one making the money. Some stuff becomes hardwired in your brain, even if you know it's not absolutely correct. This was one of those things.