Millions of women google the phrase ‘financial abuse’. Some find their way to my website. Some email me looking for advice because they are trapped in a marriage or relationship in which they fear their controlling mate.They don’t know their legal rights. Many fear for their children and don’t know where to get help. They suspect that their mate is capable of escalated abuse.
Many of these women suffer in silence, thinking that their mate’s financial control is a personality quirk. It’s not a quirk; it’s a sign of potential danger.Women should pay attention to it. It’s not protective behavior; it’s not loving. It’s a desire to strip a woman of her financial freedom and thus limit her mobility and options.
It’s important for women to understand that financial control is often the precursor to emotional and physical abuse. They find out too late that the husband or boyfriend who won’t talk about money with them is really saying “I’m in charge and I refuse to discuss it”.
You may know someone whom you suspect is financially abused by her partner. On the other hand, you may not know that your sister or neighbor, acquaintance or friend is a financial hostage because she won’t tell you. You may know her husband, and never suspect a thing. He’s not out of control or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He can be charming, an upstanding member of the community, the life of the party. However, at home, he may be a control freak intent isolating his wife into a state of financial dependence.
How do you determine if you or a friend is being financially abused? Here are some clear signs:
Withholding money or credit cards.
Giving you an allowance.
Making you account for every penny you spend.
Stealing from you or using your money without asking.
Exploiting your assets for personal gain
Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).
Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.
Sabotaging your job (making you miss work or calling constantly, etc.)
If something about your relationship with your husband or partner scares you, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or go to http://www.nrcdv.org for more information.
If you know a woman who needs this information, please pass this on. You could be saving a woman’s life.