When most people think of domestic abuse and manipulations, the first thing you’d probably think of is gaslighting, physical or even sexual assault. However, research shows that financial abuse is one of the leading source of other kinds of abuse. In fact, a study by the Centers for Financial Security found that a greater percent of domestic violence and abuse is as a result of financial abuse. Basically, knowing how to identify and deal with financial abuse is critical to your safety and security. But before that, what is financial abuse?
WHAT IS FINANCIAL ABUSE
Generally, financial abuse is all about trying to control someone’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain financial resources and/ or wealth. Most of the people who are financially victimized are often kept from working. Additionally, their money can even be controlled by the “said” abuser. It’s almost impossible for them to have complete access to money and other resources they might own in general. When they do have money, they often have to account for every penny they spend, when they are to spend it etc. Basically, they don’t have any form of financial freedom. However, the forms of financial abuse vary from situation to situation. Additionally, the abuser may use subtle tactics like manipulation while other abusers may be more overt, demanding, and intimidating. It varies basically.
3 WARNING SIGNS OF FINANCIAL ABUSE
Generally, there are three warning signs of financial abuse;
1. The Abuser “Takes Care” of the Finances:
Some couples choose to have a relationship manager like a “CFO” who helps them manage their finances, especially when they have a problems balancing the books, or simply enjoy doing it more. That’s normal basically. But what is not normal is when a partner takes control of the finances and doesn’t give the other partner access to accounts and funds. Generally, it can often be done through the guise of “taking care” of the finances. But leaving the victim in the dark about what he or she is really doing with their money.
2. Employment Sabotage:
Basically, in an effort to prevent the victim from having access to money, the abuser may forbid the victim to work them from work or even sabotage their chances at employment or their current employment. Generally, they can go in lengths to harass the victim at their workplace or physically abuse them before important meetings. All so they show up unprepared and distracted and eventually fired. In these cases, the victim is often pushed to the point where they feel like they have no choice but to quit their job. Being unemployed leaves victims in vulnerable financial positions where they have no other option than to accept their fate. Basically, that dependence upon their financial abuser intensifies. Additionally, the abuser can also prevent a victim from looking for jobs or attending interviews.
3. Economic Exploitation:
Generally, this is one of the most severe aspects of financial abuse. In this case, an abuser will make a point to intentionally destroy the victim’s financial resources or credit, basically anything that makes the victim empowered. They’ll open a line of credit under the victim’s name without their consent, refuse to pay bills under the victim’s name or gamble away jointly earned money, it sounds unrealistic but trust me, it happens. Some other time, when the victim has no access to their financial accounts, the abuser enjoys such superiority. In the meantime, their victim’s credit score is often being ruined, which means they’ll have a hard time getting approved for financial products, like an auto loan or mortgage, in the future. Basically, the victim is ruined.
HOW TO IDENTIFY FINANCIAL ABUSE IN A RELATIONSHIP
Generally, financial abuse is very isolating and engulfing because victims often become financially dependent on their abusers. It’s a vicious cycle basically. When financial dependence traps them in the relationship, leaving becomes difficult. Basically, without any resources, they are unable to see a way out of their situation. You are in a financially abusive relationship when your partner;
1. Gives you “allowances” or “budgets” without your input:
He or she conditions you like a child. Basically, they give you a budget to do everything without finding out what you need. The annoying part can be that the said allowance is yours not your spouses’. However, the control is there. Basically, this means that you’re in an abusive relationship.
2. Requiring you to account for everything you spend:
Budget cuts is not enough. Basically, they want to know how you spend your money, everything you spend your money on. In conclusion, they don’t give you any boundaries.
3. Pressures you to quit your job or sabotages your work responsibilities:
A lot of financial abuse usually results from fear. When they constantly fear and worry that you’d be better than them eventually. Especially when you’re more paid than they are. The pressure just piles on, they’d emotionally abuse you. Basically, they’d want to bait you that if you love them, then you can retire from work to take care of them.
4. Feels entitled to your money or assets:
“Let’s have a joint account”, “Whatever is mine is yours right?” This is a clear example of an entitlement behaviour. Your spouse us trying to mess with you psychologically basically. It can be really excessive and the thing is, you might not get offended because you don’t see the problem in that.
5. Spends your money without your knowledge:
Without a doubt, this is a classic sign if financial abuse. Generally, your option doesn’t matter and he does the way he prefers with everything you earn and you don’t have an say or opinion.
HOW TO DEAL WITH FINANCIAL ABUSE IN RELATIONSHIPS
Learning how to deal and identify financial abuse is a steppingstone to stopping it. Generally, it takes time and courage. Because a lot of people know they are being abused but they don’t know what to do from there.
1. Gather Essential Documents:
When you are in such a position where you have access to essential documents, such as your social security card, health insurance card, or passport, bringing them with you when you escape is of almost importance. When you have children, you should bring theirs along as well. These documents will often be necessary for filing for government benefits or starting a new job or basically a new life.
2. Find Safe Shelter:
Generally, there are a variety of resources available to survivors, such as domestic violence shelters and other means of some sort. Additionally, these resources are free and will provide basic necessities to you at no cost, such as toiletries, food and clothing, and will often grant immediate short-term housing to keep a survivor and their children safe. Generally, surfing the internet to lead to the the various existing shelters in America and some other countries.
RECOVERING FROM FINANCIAL ABUSE IN RELATIONSHIPS
Without a doubt, knowing the warning signs can help you recognize if you’re a victim of financial abuse. However, getting straight to recovery processes and/ or procedures is the next step to healing from it. Some ways are;
1. Get Financially Educated:
Knowledge is poser right? Becoming financially literate is one of the most empowering things anyone can do generally. Basically, learning how to manage your own finances can give you the knowledge you need to rebuild your life after or when you’re ready to escape. There are numerous nonprofits that empower domestic abuse survivors through financial literacy. Generally, there are some programs that help you learn how to be free and self-guided, and more importantly focuses on helping survivors move from short-term safety to long-term security.
2. Take It Step By Step- One Day at a Time:
Basically, the scariest and most stressful part of an abusive relationship is coping and planning a route of your escape. Generally, it’s an emotional time. After leaving and assessing any financial damage you may have incurred due to financial abuse, you could be feeling overwhelmed or even defeated in rebuilding your personal finances. But don’t give up, take it in day by day, step by step, it’d get better.
3. Pull and Freeze Your Credit Reports:
When you intend to escape from an abusive situation or relationship, you should assess just how damaged your financial health is. Basically, you can do this by requesting your credit reports, for free. When you try to pull your credit reports, you won’t be able to tell your credit scores. However, it will detail the various accounts open under your name, their balances and whether payments have been made on time.
When you notice/ suspect that your partner or spouse is financially abusive constantly, then you need to consort a legal advisor like a counselor, or even a religious leader right away. It’s important to start your recovery because financial abuse is not something that gets better with time. Basically, it often escalates and can lead to other types of abuse when you stall.
FINANCIAL ABUSE FAQ’S
What is financial abuse?
Financial abuse involves controlling a person’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain financial resources and/ or wealth.
Who is a financial bully?
Basically, he or she always manipulates you and try at best to get your resources so you are helpless and ultimately, you’d depends on them.
How do I detect financial abuse?
You have to observe your partner and more importantly be ready to remove those shells from your eyes. Because a lot of persons see the abuse but don’t want to believe it.
What is the difference between financial and emotional abuse?
Although, emotional and financial abuse have similarities. But financial abuse has to do with someone imposing their insecurities on you and economically exploiting you. However, emotional abuse or psychological abuse has to do with imposing a person’s insecurities and needs. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve economic exploitation.
What are some other forms of abuse?
Basically, all forms of abuse can kind of interrelated. Not withstanding, other than financial abuse, we also have psychological abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse.
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