(Proverbs 13:23 ESV) The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food,
but it is swept away through injustice.
(Proverbs 28:3 ESV) A poor man who oppresses the poor
is a beating rain that leaves no food.
(Proverbs 28:24 ESV) Whoever robs his father or his mother [and by extension any family member whom he has a duty of care to support and protect]
and says, “That is no transgression,” is a companion to a man who destroys.
In church services we often hear about money and finances in regards to the offering plate or tithing or support for missionaries. What is less commonly heard in conservative churches is the discussion of how money and finances relate to justice. The liberal churches are good at that talk; they have made the ‘social gospel’ their primary message while neglecting or perverting the Bible’s warnings about the perilous state of the unregenerate sinner before God and the call to confess, repent and trust in Christ for salvation. But the conservative evangelical churches generally only touch on how money and finances relate to justice when they are preaching through the book of James.
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (James 2:15-16 ESV)
However, conservative churches rarely make application of this passage from James to domestic abuse that is hiding in the pews; they are much more likely to apply it to the poor in foreign countries, or those ‘unwashed’ people from the wrong side of the tracks where welfare dependency and crime are higher than where we are.
Domestic abuse exercised through financial abuse is a scourge. It’s like a withering hot wind. Or a driving hailstorm that destroys the crops. Or locusts that eat the new shoots before they can bear edible grain. Or creeping mildew that corrodes the fabric of a building. Or white ants (termites) that eat through the timber frame of the house but can never be seen because they only eat from the inside so their little channels and passages are invisible when you walk through the house, they only become visible when the walls of the house are torn down.
It has so many forms. It may be the abuser overtly demanding full control of the money, or making the target account for every cent spent with receipts, or putting the target on a tight budget for household expenses while flagrantly spending money on his own pleasures (these are only a few examples). But it may not be so overt. It may be the abuser hiding some of his income so the target never realizes he is withholding joint funds from the family.
Domestic violence practitioners have coined the term ‘sexually transmitted debt’. That is when the abuser craftily makes sure that all the debt is in the target’s name so if they split up, she (assuming the target is female) is stuck with the debt while the abuser walks free with no blight on his financial reputation.
And then there’s financial abuse post-separation, and that can take many forms too! Some abusers are so clever and devoted to this that they seem to pull endless rabbits out of the hat, new tactics and strategies to keep their X in poverty and behind the eight ball financially, for years. It is very powerful way of maintaining continuing control after separation, and gratifying the abuser’s craving to punish his target for leaving him. And then add in the effects this can have on the children….and the way the abuser can manipulate the kids to make them blame mum for being penny-pinching and mean financially….the possibilities are endless, for the creative and determined abuser! And often the courts are unwilling to get very involved let alone hold the abuser accountable for all this financial skullduggery, especially once the divorce has been finalized.
I must be naive. It was only a few years ago when I was shopping for a wallet as a Christmas gift for my then-husband. I noticed a feature that is quite common in men’s wallets, though not in women’s wallets. I asked the shop assistant about it. She explained that the man’s wallet is often designed with two compartments for the notes (bills). One compartment is relatively shallow in depth so that the top edges of the notes are visible when you open the wallet. The other compartment is deeper and may have a zip as well, so that when the man opens his wallet the notes in that compartment are not visible to anyone watching. Not visible to his wife. That is the point of this design. It’s purposely designed for men who want to conceal how much money they have in their wallet when their wife or partner asks them to buy something. “Look, sweetheart!” the man can confidently say as he flips open his wallet to show her he is short on cash, “I’ve only got a five dollar bill!” But he may have hundreds hidden in that other compartment.
Okay. Over to you. Do you have stories you want to share? Tips you want to pass on for how to protect yourself against financial abuse from an intimate partner? Other Scriptures that relate to this topic?
[August 4, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to August 4, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to August 4, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to August 4, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 4, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
Relationship Problems and Money: Women Talk About Financial Abuse — A useful resource.
It’s a fairly long report and is mostly written for DV professional practitioners and policy developers. Sections 3 and 4 of the report would be of most use to survivors of abuse as those sections have lots of anecdotes from women who have experience financial abuse from their husbands / partners.
The report comes from Victoria, Australia, so some of the details may not be pertinent to all areas and jurisdictions. But overall, experiences of financial abuse are probably similar no matter where you may come from. The only things that may not be similar are the different laws that apply in different areas, laws which may help hold abusers accountable and protect victims.
This resource has been added to our Understanding Abuse Resources page.
39 thoughts on “Financial abuse from intimate partners — a lament, stories and tips to protect oneself”
This example seems so simple and harmless, but of course, goes much deeper. The yearly ‘back to school’ shopping trip or the shoe buying because the children’s feet had grown. I was always the parent who did this shopping. Each experience a deep source of anxiety. I had to filter each choice through my common sense and his stinginess.
How I learned to cope and keep the kids from being pulled into this crazy monetary confusion was a simple sentence, “Don’t show your dad, it will make him nervous”. Of course, this solved nothing, only made his behavior seems more benign.
Oh yeah! The shoe shopping. I have known several survivors including myself who had shoe shopping dramas. The ones I’ve heard about were post-separation: the abuser who had visitation with the kids would splather money on the kids for clothing and shoes that were snazzy, glamous and ‘cool’ in the kids’ eyes, but would never ever buy them the everday practical shoes and clothes they needed. And then of course he’d brag about how much he spent on the kids. . .
Last year when my ex was refusing to pay child support and my daughter needed an on-line class he bought her an i-pad which won’t work for the class( which we knew and told him ahead of time), claimed it was part of chid support and it didn’t matter that I could not then pay for the class and was struggling to pay just for electric and water.
He would also ( many time during the 17 years) tell me to get my hair or nails done( the way he liked, not for me) when we could not pay a utility bill then have a temper tantrum because I paid the bill and did not go get my nails done and he was “trying to do something nice” for me! Yeah right!! Like it is nice to have fake nails that make you worry about bacteria ( the nurse in me) with young children and that you have to go all day without water because the water bill didn’t get paid.
Following this. I would like to see the comments. My H has been leaving me and the children with very little money for years (even when I worked outside the home nearly 10 years ago). He buys whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but complains loudly that I “never buy him anything”. (Why should I? He has everything he could ever want and more.) Why, he just spent a lot of money on a special treat for himself on a business trip (not mentioning details here but it was pricey) and when I told him I found evidence of his expense, he justified himself and said, “Well you didn’t buy me a thing for me birthday!!” (Insert pity party and whining)
Thank you- A lot of money owed and stalled divorce to keep and hide money. Our Truck needs, brakes, tires unsafe over 257,000 miles. Was trying to send our house back to bank. Tried to put me in jail with cop friends. But GOD my Only HOPE! I have Children. You have helped my healing. I felt punished by God- I have obeyed Him to get out. This man is an alcoholic- The judge won’t even let my kids spend the night. We need a MIRACLE from God- My kids can not and do not want to live with their Dad. My Attorney ssems to be on the money side. We are not Victims but Over comers through Christ Jesus. God Bless,
Eds note: some details edited to disidentify
If a victim can safely find a computer she should check her own personal credit report at one of those free credit report websites while she is still married or immediately once she has been kicked out or has chosen to leave the abuser. Look for all kinds of credit accounts that may have been taken out in your name but you didn’t do it.
When a husband knows all about you it is quite simple for him to apply for credit online using your information. If the abuser also brings in the mail and is the one responsible for paying the bills (you have no knowledge or access to financial matters) it can be years before you find out that he took out cards in your name, ran or is still running up big balances and has been paying on them, though you have never even held a cards in your hands. Then when you have fallen out of favor with him he stops paying and YOU begin getting past due notices. Once you are divorced if he were to charge purchases on those cards you could charge him with fraud but as my dear friend found out you cannot do so about the purchases he made fraudulently while you were married. And the credit card company does not care, they still hold you accountable and responsible for the bad debt.
For the malignant narcissistic abuser, destroying your credit through multiple accounts you don’t know about and allowing them to go into default is the perfect way to punish you financially, ie you now have to cough up money you most likely don’t have to unjustly pay on a bill that you did not create, and because he’s already defaulted on paying and it took a few months for the bills to catch up with you because you moved for your safety and the bills are now past due, your credit rating (affecting your financial future) has been thrown in the toilet. But, you CAN stop him from continuing to run up debt in your name.
You have to be the judge, if you are still married, on how safe your next moves will be. With the credit report printed out you should be able to see all of your creditors. Each account should bear the name of the credit company, the account number, the phone #, all the financial information such as when the account was opened, how much is owed, etc. The important thing you are looking for is how the account is designated: joint, authorized signer, individual or sole responsible party ( whatever words basically indicate that you are on the hook and no one else). If you find accounts where you are listed as the responsible party and you know you didn’t apply for those cards and you don’t carry those cards your financial picture is in extreme danger. Using the printout you may call each one of the companies, state your predicament, that you did not open this account, you don’t carry the card, that you are a victim of domestic violence, and that this account was fraudulently taken out in your name. You can then request that they close the account. However, once he tries to use any of the closed accounts’ cards and finds out usage is he will figure out he’s been discovered by you there will probably be a firestorm. So it would be prudent, if you are still in the home, to have your escape plan and safe shelter already in place. I believe you can also file a fraud report with your local police department, ask them. Whenever it is possible (and safe) create a paper trail that your attorney can use in the future to show the court that you have been domestically abused whether financially, sexually or in any other way.
If you can financially manage to, consult an attorney.
Although I haven’t been employed since the late ’90s, I was the one who managed the money, made sure bills were paid on time, etc. until about five years ago. One day, out of the blue, my husband suddenly declared that he didn’t trust me with the money and took control of it. He opened at least one account with only his name on it, which is where his pay was deposited. The one account we both had access to received only what he chose to give me.
I was allowed a $650 / month allowance, which was to cover food (we have two kids who need special diets), gas, clothing for three kids and myself, expensive counseling and doctor visits (we have a great deal of medical expenses), prescription co-pays, incidentals… When I would inevitably run out of money after a week or two, I would be required to ask for more. He would then sigh, look pained, mince his speech and either say we didn’t have anything, I should ((SIGH!!!)) use the credit card, or dole out as little cash as possible. If I showed the stress I felt, he would declare that I just needed to learn to talk to him about money so there wouldn’t be “surprises” to him financially.
In the meantime, he regularly left bills unpaid, yet I was the one who had to face the humiliation of driving to utilities with a last-minute payment to avoid shutoff. One time, the gas man came to shut off our gas. I frantically texted my husband, who gave me permission to use the credit card. I couldn’t get the automated system to accept the card, and ended up standing in the street at the gas man’ struck, crying in humiliation, in front of two sets of very hostile neighbors.
Oh, and he has made well over $100,000 a year for many, many years.
After the separation my husband gave me far less than I needed to live on, canceled our health insurance, and closed the one credit card I had access to…and immediately opened a new one without me on it, with the bill coming to the house! I’ve been forced to accept help wherever I can find it, and God has been good, so the kids and I are surviving. My car is iffy, we’ve lost access to all our doctors, and the future is terribly uncertain. But we are FREE of my “husband’s” constant gaslighting, sympathy plots, power plays, and malign presence. All of us can breathe again.
I cannot WAIT for the divorce to be final, although I fully expect continued financial abuse for years into the future.
I am still, 11 years removed, struggling to understand how I did not better understand our financial situation when I was with X. He required that I maintain meticulous financial records for our family. Each receipt saved and entered into Quicken. Petty cash accounted for and categorized, down to the penny. It was extremely stressful for me. Somehow I knew, but didn’t know, just how much money we had. I was criticized and reprimanded for purchasing Christmas gifts (at a thrift store) for our first child, or clothes and shoes (again – thrift store) for myself. I wasn’t allowed to pay $4 a month for dial-up internet connection because we were “saving for a house”. I was required to actually TURN OFF the refrigerator while putting groceries away. (I prayed I would never forget to turn it back on and ruin the food and incur THAT wrath.) I could not use the air conditioner when it was 90 degrees inside and I was physically ill from the heat – because it costs too much. I was run-down, criticized, and made to feel a fool when I could not sell a broken double stroller that he got out of a dumpster for me. He would take me out to eat at Subway (with coupons only) if I got my sandwich made the way he liked it.
Those are just a very few of the examples of financial heavy-handedness from my experience. What baffles me, though, is that we had over 30K in a joint account when I left. Somehow I knew this, but didn’t. Does that even make sense? Despite being the one who managed the budget, I completely believed that we were nearly destitute. How is this? Was it simply brainwashing? And oh, the anxiety I felt at withdrawing $100 from our account when I was leaving him and driving across the country, spending $60 of it at a hotel because I was afraid to use a credit card and have him track me down. His first words to me after my exodus was to berate me for purchasing a cell phone on my way out of the state.
Looking back, I can clearly see that his financial micro-management was crucial to keeping me in place. He wanted me to feel desperate and needy because then I conveyed that notion to others with my comments of “We can’t afford that” or “It’s not in the budget” – even for needed items. That’s the only way you get handouts, you know. My parents and his bought me things, sent money, paid for car repairs, etc and also believed that we were in a poor financial state. I guess that was his goal. Is this common among Ns?
I don’t know how common that specific scenario is, but I do know from having heard many accounts from survivors and read some of the professional literature on financial-domestic abuse that quite often abusers cry poor and make out that they are virtually indigent, when in fact they have money and assets hidden away, and income streams they have never told their partner about.
I have not experienced financial abuse with my spouse, and he has always been open about finances, including failed stocks. Anyway, there was one expense that we had which was in the upper hundreds. My SO had taken care of it, and just for accounting purposes, I wanted to know where it came from. He just kept saying not to worry about the accounting as it didnt affect our account. I still to this day do not know where that money came from. A bet with a friend? A cashed in stock? I have no idea, and truth be told, it bothers me that he has never said.
My abuser tried:
1) To refinance our current mortgage (which is in both our names) by having the mortgage company send me only certain pages of the refinance documents without any backup documentation: his pay stubs (to include bonuses received that he kept from me), investment account info, outstanding debts owed, and anything else that would give the true status of our net worth. He then had the mortgage company call and a male employee tried to strong arm me into signing. He was so abrasive, it turned me off and I told him NO and hung the phone up! Mind you from all the abuse I was struggling with guilt (false guilt) that maybe I was wrong because refinancing would have lowered the mortgage amount by $300. However, I finally realized I would never see that $300.00 because my abuser had already opened up another checking account and put his paycheck in there, so I would have NO access to the money saved on the new mortgage payment anyway. The other big lesson and PLEASE pay attention to this ===> with refinancing our home mortgage he could have at that time taken out ALL the equity that had accumulated on the home!!! Yes, $60,000.00 dollars worth! Which leads me to point #2.
2) At the same time that the above was going on, he tried to purchase another home in another state (where property laws are different from our current home) and would say, “it will be a good investment for US”; however I found the papers between him and the real estate company and only his name was on the purchase of the home! He could then just DEFAULT on our joint mortgage and I would be left holding the bag to pay off the mortgage (and I have been a stay at home mom for 20 years and have zero income!) while he would have a new home of his own.
Don’t make my mistake, in total frustration, I blurted out that I wanted a divorce. He then made sure I had no further access to the paycheck, bonuses, investment accounts. He started paying any bills with my name on them 2-3 months late and anything with his name one month late (in this state you are held responsible for half of ALL debt, regardless who incurred the debt.). He took out a second credit card and pays minimal amounts on both cards. And he may have other cards that I don’t know about. Accessing your credit score info. is a great idea. Just be warned that while some divorce websites encourage you to check your spouses credit report, it is almost always ILLEGAL. Please don’t do it! Once you decide to divorce ask the lawyer if it can be done to reveal all the accounts the abuser has open.
This was a big thing with my Dad. He never willingly gave anyone anything. Even a request for a quarter to spend for a snack at school was met with an angry tirade or stony silence. I don’t think he bought one piece of clothing or pair of shoes for my mother in 60 years of marriage. She was never allowed to drive “his” car. All bank accounts were solely in his name. He resented every cent spent at the grocery store. My maternal grandparents bought all of our clothes. I could go on but I think you get the picture. His life and money was always and all about him. He left nothing but debt when he died. Not all husbands are abusers, but all wives need to have their own income and bank accounts and to always be aware of their credit history. You may never need these things, but it’s far better to have and not need than to need and not have them.
I was brought up to believe that having my own income and bank accounts would help protect me from financial abuse. But it wasn’t true. It might protect you from someone who is simply careless with finances, but not from a dedicated financial abuser.I brought a lot of savings into the marriage and now they are subject to a relationship property claim. I had a good job but I got sick and after that my ex prevented me from going back to work. That hasn’t stopped him from trying to claim a higher than equal share of property by saying he alone was supporting the family financially. Early on I was expected to pay for household expenses from my own account, even when I was only working part time in order to look after our small children- so my savings account quickly diminished. I was not given any access to the substantial income my ex earned. I was not even given access to our joint account with my name on it. Eventually, but only after I persistently demanded it, I was given the pin number for the joint account, so that I could use it to buy the groceries on my own, without having to take him along. I could go on but it’s given me a headache already.
The only real way to protect yourself from such a person is to get away.
KsyE….I must agree with your last statement. These types are quite frequently idolators of greed. Because money is a god they worship, you never really can have oneness in this area. The worship of this god always trumps everything. If money is not your god also……trouble will brew from the start because foundationally there is disagreement on how it should be managed. True Christians view it as all belonging to God, and our entrusted stewardship over it. Idolaters view it as all belonging to them, period. When you mix that with an entitled, ruthless abuser, there is no reasoning together on the stewardship God has entrusted to BOTH husband & wife for their finances. The greedy abuser WILL rule over all of it……whether careless squandering or tightfistedness, they are entitled to control all of it.
I have found in my situation, no amount of pleading or reasoning can get through because I am dealing with an object of their worship. The entitlement mentality is the brick wall surrounding it. Only the Lord, by divine intervention, can break these chains.
Early on, I was advised by an attorney to remove half of the money from our joint account, as legally it belonged to me. I was hesitant, not wanting to look like… what? I don’t know. Anyway, I didn’t do it, and a few days later that account was emptied into his personal account.
Hi everyone. I need to know what resources are out there to help my daughter and I. I finally asked for a seperation because he was giving me $40 a week approximately. to buy food and gasoline. He has just cut me off completely and we are isolated in a rural area with no bus transportation. Beside possibly applying for welfare, are there other options or steps that I can take to get out of this hole, while I seek employment?
Hi JIBF, I am not in America and I assume you are, so I don’t have much of an idea. But I think if you contacted your local Domestic Violence Support Service they might be able to suggest some options to you.
I know. that sounds like crumbs. . . 😦
I knew it was going to get ugly once I confronted my husband to draw the line on the sand, and stop this horrific cycle of physical, emotional and spiritual abuse. I was scared, but God gave me the strength to be courageous because He is on my side. God made a way so that my husband can’t come home. Although my husband has completely cut me off financially, God has provided cash and the Government has qualified me to receive assistance including health insurance. Even my chickens and ducks are starting to lay eggs. I praise God Almighty that He never leaves us or forsakes us. I told the Lord that God is my true husband, provider and strong shield. I could go on and one, but I hope this praise report can be an encouragement to someone.
joyisnowfree, As I moderate comments I have loved watching the progression of your screen name. You have taken a very courage step! And yes, praise God Almighty for this praise report.
(and I love the chicken and duck bit!)
Thank you Barbara. I’m working on it. God is making everything fall in place. The good news is that I am now free.
Don’t sign tax returns and then allow him to take them ‘so he can mail them.’ He may have not reported all the income he makes (and if you sign you will be held equally responsible for the info.) He may leave off amounts that would reduce the tax burden and increase the refund amount. Then he change these things later and checks a box that says the refund can be electronically deposited in an account (an account that you wouldn’t know about). No, instead, tell him to sign and leave it there will all the supporting documentation. And don’t allow him to pressure you to the contrary! When he is not home, go over it and make sure it is correct, then sign and make copies of it, this way he can’t alter it.
however, if you find out that he has been filing fraudulent tax returns you may go to the IRS and file an innocent spouse declaration. I know because I went with my friend when she had to do this upon discovering multiple fraudulent claims, on multiple years of taxes,her signature he had forged her signature on,when she was able to obtain copies of the returns. He had in the most recent years changed and was no longer filing jointly so she has no idea what kind of fraud might have been committed in the years that she wasn’t allowed to see because she wasn’t on the joint return.
And here is a red flag: if you are never ask to sign a state or federal tax return you should begin to wonder if he is paying taxes if he is filing individual so that you know nothing about it, or if he is filing jointly but forging your information. You may ask the IRS 4 copies of your returns and they will be able to tell you yes you can have them because there was a joint filing or they can tell you there haven’t been any filings or that it’s all individual in which case you can have no other information. But if you were able to obtain joint tax returns that’s when you secretively go over them to see whether the truth was told or not. If you find glaring inconsistancies that would put you in danger of legal charges against you that’s when you go to the IRS office and file the innocent spouse declaration. keep copies of all this in safe places the best thing you can do for yourself is document, document, document!
Keeping safety conscious, if you even talk on the phone to the IRS or the credit card company or the mortgage company or whoever keep a record of the date, the time, and the name of the person you talk to and what your call was about. do not assume that the place you called will always keep a record of the fact that you called. It may prove adventageous to you in court later if you are able to reproduce documentation showing you were as on top of the problem as you could be.
Just realized he may send in an “amended” return even if we do what I wrote in the last few sentences in my above post. So definitely check with IRS to see if an amended return was filed.
Love your last 3 sentences. Well stated.
Sometimes i feel like I have written these responses under an alias and forgot I wrote them. They sound like I wrote them the experiences are so similar!
I still get panic attacks trying to shop. I hear a voice sneaking up behind me, “Are you sure we need that?” I need to report every penny. With my first h, we could never afford even the basics for the family. I gardened, sewed, begged, butchered, dehydrated, canned, spun…….got us down to spending $5 a month…….and thought he’d really be proud and love me then. One day he came home and I’d been able to buy some socks and underwear for the children. He asked where I got the money. I said, “Since I can’t come to you, I’ve decided to go over your head and make God my supplier, so I asked Him and he supplied.” Oh, was he furious!!!!!!! I also learned, when he made stupid decisions, to say, “Well if that’s what God told you to do, then you’d better do it.” This also made him angry, but it did prevent some really stupid things, since he knew it wasn’t God telling him and he had no other good excuse. Sometimes. Made him more bitter though.
He would list all the children as disabled on the income tax.
I tucked away bits of money for several years, then bought me a car. He tried to take it away but I didn’t let him. Funny, though, I did it for the children, I wouldn’t have done it for me. He tried to destroy the van I bought after we separated, and used finances to blackmail me for years, until the children were finally on their own.
This one had everything in his mom’s name……insurance, house, etc., complained about all spending, handed me $5 once in a while ‘to spend on myself’, keeps every receipt, wants me to keep the financial records yet has made it so complicated that it takes hours a week to do. I can’t figure it out. And I don’t think he’d be happy with the way I did it. Tucks away thousands somewhere. Totally flew off the handle when I asked for my own bank account. He finally agreed. I’d asked him to put in it a certain amount every month and then I’d know where I was at and how to budget, and could save up for gifts, etc. He said, “Larry Burkett says that separate accounts are the beginning of the end of a marriage.” Well at the end of the month he’d withdraw what I hadn’t used, and keeps randomly putting money in and out of that account, so it’s useless. I have stood up to him a lot and it’s much better, if you can call it that. At least I can be me more. I feel good about that, though to keep things this way I have to stay emotionally detached and not speak unless spoken to. Be a maid and that’s all.
Last year he was acting generous and took me to buy something I really wanted, that cost about $4000. I didn’t realize that he’d conned me into signing myself into debt for it until later. He did pay it off over a few months but it scared me and I need to be more careful what I sign.
That wallet thing is crazy. Makes me angry!
My husband was extremely controlling with money. The only purchases he didn’t monitor so strictly were groceries. I took to getting”cash back” on our debit when shopping as it didn’t show up as a separate purchase from the groceries and gave me some freedom. Crazy to look back and see what lengths I had to go to for simple pleasures.. A coffee once in a while or a snack for our son while out. Thankful to be away from that.
Reading through comments brings back memories… Getting screamed at for wanting our son to have a second pair of pajamas that fit. Not being allowed to buy a second bra or clothes that fit after giving birth to him. That turning to verbal and emotional abuse…. Hearing I’m fat and lazy. Financial abuse really is horrible.
Financial abuse is really horrible. And for me one of the toughest things to heal from. Could be because it is on-going with games being played with child support. ( Court system not real helpful) But so much of what is written in this article and the comments has me saying “yup. yup yup” to or is very triggering. And trying to explain this to anyone who hasn’t walked it…..
I’m reading the book Dead By Sunset [Affiliate link] at the moment, by Anne Rule. It’s a true account of a malignant narcissist who murdered one of his numerous wives and was eventually convicted and put in prison. It also describes the incredible financial abuse he wreaked on his targets. Very good book, if you don’t find it too triggering.
My ex-husband financially abused during our marriage but much more so when we separated and now after the divorce. We would not buy food when we lived in the same house. He was wining and dining his OW while we went without. But since we didn’t qualify for government help (because of his government job), my kids and I had to go to food banks to get food. He would tell people he was paying bills and giving us mine when he was not. When he was confronted with factual proof, he said he couldn’t afford to pay. His lawyer told him to pay child support, but he wouldn’t until the court took it from his paycheck. Now, he is still withholding money while getting the government (his own employer) to help him. I haven’t seen any child support since August, but he still has the same job. About that time I went NC… coincidence or abuse?
For just a few times, I went to the courthouse on hearing day because my ex was behind in spousal support. I went to be certain that he showed up. It was a terrible experience sitting in that room with those irresponsible jerks also known as deadbeat dads. Extreme disrespect, profanity spewing until I requested authorities to halt it. The ultimate picture of trash. I was in that waiting room for an exceptionally long time on one certain day. I had to find a private hallway where I could break down and bawl. Not for myself, but for all of the women who experience those abusers and walk into these kinds of appts, fighting to get what is rightfully theirs and the children of these perpetrators. Sickening!
I liken it, a little bit, to the first few times that I escorted my uncle, a POW of WWII, to a VA Clinic. I saw the devastation of war embodied in those chairs. The difference is the level of respect amongst those in the room.
I am a wiser and enlightened person for having been in these spaces.
But NO woman should ever have to be on the receiving end of the court system and I am sorry that you are, Jen. I’ve never heard of a just and honorable situation.
Many court houses have no separate waiting areas for victims of domestic abuse. But some do.
Where I lived in Ballarat there was a great new courthouse that had been built with those things in mind. And on the days which were set aside for the hearing of protection order applications, there was a police officer deputed to be on duty in the place where the defendants were made to wait. The officer was there to restrain the defendants (the abusers, in most cases) from harassing and using bad language in the waiting area. I waited in the area for the applicants, the floor below. There was a paid professional DV support worker on duty who took each applicant into her private room before the applicant’s hearing. She explained the court procedure, the terms that might be granted in the protection order, the community support services the applicant could seek help from in the future, she assessed the applicant’s housing needs and did a basic risk assessment and gave tips for staying safe. It was an excellent service! It was at that stage one of only two pilot projects in the state which were piloting this set up – I think they called it Domestic Violence Court. Or Family Violence Court — in my state they call it FV, not DV.
I felt much safer in that new building with all the designated workers helping keep victims safe, than I had felt years before in the old court house where me and my husband sat in the same corridor while waiting and there was only one volunteer court support worker to help me who, though she was nice and gave me a cup of tea, could not provide the specialist support that the later DV support worker provided.
Would that all courts provided this rolled gold service!
And another thing. The day after I’d reported the incident to the police (which was a few days before the court hearing mentioned above) I got a call from the local DV support service. The worker asked me if I wanted any further support. It was great to have that follow up.
In my state, that follow up is routine for every woman who reports a family violence incident to the police (as I had done). The police had of course taken my ph number and they are required to fax the details of the report I made including my name and ph no, to the DV support service practitioners who are all female. That service is then required to ring the victim and ask if she needs or wants further support. This is standard policy in my state. It is part of how the state is trying to develop an integrated family violence response service. My state still need more changes in law and service delivery to have a fully integrated FV response, but it is better than some other states so far as I know.
BTW, for new readers, I live in Victoria Australia.
I am thankful for the dignity, respect and safety provided to the women in your area. Thank you for shedding a ray of hope.
Just for the record, women can perpetrate this abuse as well. My husband and I are still dealing with the financial abuse from his ex-wife. Only she uses child support as one of her many methods to abuse my husband. She takes over a third of his monthly salary in child support even though she earns the same monthly income, if not more and refuses to negotiate a reduction. We were almost forced to file for bankruptcy and be homeless last month but my parents bailed us out. Its a scary place to be in right now. We are not spending money on anything but the bare minimum to survive and sometimes it is just not enough. Now she is mad that we don’t have money to pay for a plane ticket for the child to spend christmas with us (its our turn) but we can barely afford to pay rent. The plane ticket would mean that we would be homeless. Doesn’t matter to her – she wants to go on vacation with her new significant other without the child.
Another way she abuses my husband is through email. She only uses her work email to communicate and it provides read receipts the moment he opens any email. When she receives one of those receipts, she sends ten more emails demanding to know why he read the first email but failed to respond as demanded. Its gotten to the point where he has not been able to read a single email for weeks at a time. The last time he read one he spent the night either throwing up or crying out in nightmares.
The child graduates in the summer of 2017 and we are actively counting down the days until we are no longer legally required to have contact with the abuser. It often feels like God has turned His back on us, that we have no hope and no way out of this abyss.
Both my husband and I had our own accounts. I NEVER questioned him about his money. He, on the other hand, had to know everything about my finances. We both shared in responsibility in making sure our bills were paid. The thing is, I NEVER knew, aside from bills, where his money was going. And then, he insisted that we get ONE account. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it because I felt money was like water to him! I work full time and he is on disability. I’m just glad we didn’t have a joint account!
For Love Or Money is a very good video about FinanciaL Abuse. It was made by an Australian organisation.