I read an excellent definition of financial abuse on Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence’s Facebook page on Wednesday. By the way, if you aren’t following them, check them out on Facebook! They are an excellent organization that helps men, women and children who have been affected by domestic violence and abuse of all kinds.
Their definition for financial abuse is focused around work-related issues that include demanding a victim quit his/her job and interfering with job performance. I could not agree more. I certainly experienced interference with job performance with my late husband. He would call and keep me on the phone and away from my work. Sometimes he would call just to berate me. After phone calls like these, I could not focus and they cost me a lot of time. I want to broaden the definition of financial abuse today in order to show you that this type of abuse affects all areas of your life as well.
What other things can we look for with financial abuse?
This type of abuse can entail not allowing their partner to work to begin with, controlling all the money (e.g. no access to bank accounts), and/or not letting their partner have money for basic things for their well-being or hygiene.
Financial abuse can also constitute over spending whether the money is actually there or not, as long as the abuser gets what they want. A victim that is forced to take out all of the loans or credit cards is also being financially abused. If finances go south, and they will because you can’t keep up with the rate of spending, the abuser is basically debt free and the victim is stuck with the debt. I can speak first hand to this as a financial mess was left for me after my husband died. I was in more debt than I had ever been! I don’t want anyone to have to go through that if I can help it!
Abusers may also withhold money from the couple’s children in order to manipulate the mother or father into doing what they want them to do. This could look like not buying needed school supplies or clothing, not paying tuition, not paying child support, or withholding money for everyday basic needs. Abusers have no issue using children to get what they want, do not be deceived.
Abusers do not want responsibility, whether it be financial, personal, behavioral or otherwise. They will never take any responsibility for the financial strain they bring to the victim and the victim will always be the financial problem, the one who is “wrong.” If you believe you are being financially abused, speak with someone you trust. Allow them to help you develop a plan to be financially independent as well as physically safe as most abusers do not just use one form of abuse against their victims. You do not have to tolerate financial abuse or abuse of any kind! You were created for more than to endure abuse. You were created to live free, to be financially free and secure and to be loved for who you are. Choose freedom and life today! You are worth it! Walking in freedom, Elizabeth