A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Thursday Thought — The Serious and Harmful Nature of Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is hard to recognize and it often happens in abusive relationships. We recently put this 7 minute video on our Resources pages: Video & Audio, Red flags in New Relationships, and Understanding Domestic Abuse.   This video highlights the serious and harmful nature of financial abuse.

For Love or Money


Here are two additional resources about financial abuse that we will also be putting on our Resources page:

Financial Abuse – Gives information on how to handle the aftermath of this type of abuse, including dealing with credit card debt, identity theft, and discusses financial matters that arise when leaving an abusive relationship

Financial Savings & Debt Management – Gives financial strategies for navigating debt and savings.


  1. Dale Ingraham @ Speaking Truth In Love Ministries
  2. Brenda R

    Awesome, relevant and familiar amongst other forms of abuse. This is one I caught early and took back my power on. I came into the relationship with good credit and left the same way. I can’t say the same thing for my dignity, but it is coming back. The ‘c’hurch will still say that if you’re married and one spouse puts you in hock up to your eye brows that you’ll just have to live with it.

  3. Harlequin Tabby

    The worst thing about financial abuse is that it can go on even after the divorce. My Adoring Christian Father didn’t pay the child support until the 14th last month– and he certainly isn’t going to pay for the winter clothes and shoes we need! Forget the giving spirit of Christmas, that Jezebel of a mother needs to pay for her disobedience!

    I really loathe him.

  4. godsgirl

    Ah, yes, “Having separate accounts means you’re not committed”. Rubbish.

  5. Alone on the Range

    Another life and death situation created by the abuser that is extended by the church. I’ll never forget the 6 blank stares when I was asked (I did not even ask myself), if my daughter and I needed help. Even the person that asked was dumbfounded, as if these “christians” standing in the 200 year old church had just heard me say the most shocking thing ever. I has asked if anyone could please give us a ride, because my husband took our car. And here we are living on government assistance because the church turns a blind eye to our suffering.

  6. Annie

    My husband came late to this idea–of financial abuse. Early in our marriage he twice “suggested” I’d get an “allowance” to pay bills etc. I simply said no and he let it go. I’d worked in the financial world and was insulted he’d suggest such a thing. It never occurred to me at the time that it was abuse because of course I hadn’t figured that out yet.

    Sometimes I wish I’d allowed it because I’d probably have a nice little savings account now. He took the check book away from me a couple of years ago when he was unemployed. He took over bill paying. He spent all our savings and didn’t pay bills when he did have the money. Totally financially irresponsible. Now he’s working again and we still have no money and he likes to tell me how I need to quit spending money. It was up to me I’d cancel [some of the expenses I feel are unnecessary], etc, etc. Instead I mend my clothes and hope no one notices my shoes are really worn.

    [Eds – details removed for safety reasons.]

  7. Scared momma

    My husband is accusing me of financial abuse, and like most things with abuse others believe it. All though our marriage, I was forced to do all the finances and keep records of every dime spent so he could see where all the money was spent, while he used cash and never said where that money went. Turns out he is spending hundreds of dollar a week cash while I pay all the expenses. Have no idea what he is buying or maybe he’s just hiding that money. I have now put a password on my computer, so I’m the bad one. He tells everyone he is locked out of bank accounts because he can’t get on my computer. Yet, he has multiple credit cards and of course cash, his name is on the accounts. I just haven’t done all the work for him. Recently, he purchased large personal items [Eds other details removed to disidentify].

    I am the one stuck living in same house with him because the law is such that I can not buy a home without him giving me permission, which he won’t do. But, he is [i.e., he claims he is] the victim. I kicked him out of master bedroom and forcing him to live in guest room. And it’s so horrible that I make him live in this situation for months and months, when he could leave anytime or if he would sign some forms I could leave. Really angers me how easily people believe him and support him, when if you stop think about it what he claims doesn’t even make sense.

    • Dear Scared momma, your anger and indignation is fully justified!
      The people who so easily believe him — yes, that is SOOOOO common. I encourage you to just keep working bit by bit at planning how to get free of this man.
      If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you contact the hotline in your country and ask them to put you in touch with whatever local services there are in your area for support for victims of domestic abuse. Keep asking for help; keep being the polite pest in contacting DV services and keep seeking ideas for steps you can take to bit by bit get free. The Hotlines numbers are in our Resources section (tab at the top or side of the blog).

      It’s nice to hear from you again. We haven’t heard from you for a while.

  8. Seeing the Light

    My anti-husband also discovered financial abuse rather late. It has been just a few months since he took control of everything after years of total disinterest in the finances and is doling out meager amounts for groceries, while I have growing teenagers to feed. He has friends that he thinks of as advisors and counselors driving him. He blames his control and manipulation on God. He tells us it is the will of God. I believe there is an evil spirit working among these friends of his who profess to be Christians. There is a strong spirit of distorted patriarchy and domination of women. It’s like a cult.

    There is a small part of me that is grateful he finally went this far. He has been a covert narcissist (and, I believe, sociopath) parading as a good, Christian man and servant to all whose favor he desired (outside our home). My health was ravaged over the years that I struggled to understand what was so wrong with me. Now, however, I know just how deep the evil runs. More importantly, our children know. They know what he is and what he is not. May they never forget. And, now is the hard process of trying to rebuild my health and all of us healing spiritually and emotionally. We are still in it for custody reasons, but at least now we know – at least in part – what we are dealing with.

  9. healinginhim

    Thank you for posting this. Excellent warning.

  10. notlongnow

    Sorry to reignite an old post again, but I really need some help understanding something.

    My husband is not earning much money because of his own very poor choices, and the little he earns is often paid late because his wealthy employer is delinquent. [details redacted]

    Money is so tight we are scratching for food at times. And the financial situation means we can’t drive the car, which makes me feel even more isolated.

    …Yet every time I have asked him to rectify this, he smugly and condescendingly says “I’m working on it”. He then lies and promises he will speak to the employer but he never properly follows through … Any suggestion I make he ignores. …

    Is this a form of financial abuse? It is maddening and it only occurred to me tonight his absolute refusal to take proper steps to do anything about it, and his smug refusal / attitude anytime I ask him to, could be another deliberate way to abuse me.

    Wouldn’t a loving husband take into account the stress and hardship this is causing his wife and take real steps to sort it out?

    I know this is not huge on the grand scale of things, but it is just yet another incredibly, stressful situation on top of many years worth.


    • It is definitely financial abuse. And he is doing all those things to deliberately antagonize and distress you. He is a master manipulator.

      It IS huge on the scale of things. You have most likely downplayed and minimised all the ways your husband abuses you for so long — because he has brainwashed you to think that what he does is no big deal — and it sounds to me like you are so used to downplaying the suffering you are enduring that you are not seeing how serious it is.

      And by the way, you don’t have to apologise on this blog for “reigniting an old post”. We love our readers to read and comment on any of our posts, no matter how old the post may be!

      You are not alone in what you are going through. Abusive men are so skilled at getting inside their target’s head and brainwashing her to take his point of view. The abuser has conveyed to you for so long that his conduct and his attitude isn’t really abuse, and that he has excuses for all the things he does and doesn’t do, and he has conditioned you to believe him. So much so that he has in a way invaded your mind and you are thinking his thoughts some of the time, rather than your own. He has conditioned you to ignore your instincts, your gut feelings and your own legitimate needs and feelings.

      But you are coming out of the fog, bit by bit. Whenever you have the tiniest gut feeling that what he is doing (even the smirk, the condescending tone) is abusive, I encourage you to believe your gut feeling. That is how you can reclaim your mind, that is how you can get his lies, his virus, out of your mind.

      And I encourage you to say quietly to yourself in your innermost being: “My husband is NOT a loving husband. He does NOT care about my wellbeing. He is undermining me and abusing me. There is no point in hoping or wishing he would be a loving husband, because he is not and he is CHOOSING to be and do the very opposite of what a loving husband would do. It is not my fault. I am not to blame.”

      • Anonymous

        This was a great reply, Barbara! The brainwashing aspect is crucial….does ACFJ have a whole posting about brainwashing? I’ll have to search and see.

        But your last paragraph, the whole,

        NOT a loving husband…..does NOT care about my wellbeing….there is no point in hoping or wishing he would be a loving husband BECAUSE HE IS NOT…….It is not my fault. I am not to blame.

        That is so desperately needed by so many, while in the throes of abuse, brainwashing, coercive control, manipulation in abusers — be it wife-beating, rapist, attempted murderer ‘husbands’ or abusers at work, at school, in the family, or as neighbors, etc.

        The brainwashing is crucial, most especially because it is an involuntary conditioning brought about by the abuser, not to mention the grooming that goes along with predator’s homing in on their latest prey.

        It’s really something how sadistic so many people are — not only are they utterly indifferent (in the sense of wanting to alleviate such) to your pain, distress, suffering, but it delights them and they smugly enjoy inflicting such on their target.

        I hope your life improves, NotLongNow (is that foreshadowing your departure?)

      • I recommend the book by Don Hennessy How He Gets Into Her Head [*Affiliate link]. I’ve just read it (well, I’m on the last chapter).

        He explains the way the abusive man gets into the target woman’s head. It is brilliant. It’s written for professionals and counselors who are working in the field of domestic abuse, but survivors of abuse can also get a lot out of it.

        Here is my nutshell summary of his description of the skilled male perpetrator:

        The domestic abuser is a PSYCHEPHILE. We know that pedophiles target the bodies of children for their own gratification. The psychephile nefariously targets and surreptitiously manipulates his victim’s psyche — her mind and emotions — her soul. He has a profound mentality of entitlement.
 He believes he is justified in exerting power and control over his target. His goal is sexual domination.

        *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
      • notlongnow

        Thanks for much for helping me understand Barbara. I cannot tell you how good it is to be validated in what I suspect. I have been so isolated for so long, and all his supporters only praise him endlessly, so it is so hard sometimes to believe that what I am perceiving is true. I will come back to your comment to remind me.

        That books sounds very good, I will get ahold of it once and if any spare money comes around. The only thing I can’t relate to though is his statement about it being about sexual domination. I have the opposite. My husband has withheld sex for years, instead he prefers to lust and look and pornography and have his own private sex life that way. Sometimes I even feel like even more of a ‘freak’ than my husband tells me I am, when I hear about women whose husbands abuse them in that way (it’s awful and I feel deeply for them), but in a twisted way, the fact that mine has no interest in a normal intimate relationship with me makes me wonder even more ‘what is wrong with me’. I find it hard to find any literature about it.

    • Lea

      Wouldn’t a loving husband take into account the stress and hardship this is causing his wife and take real steps to sort it out?

      I would think a loving husband would feel guilty for his failure to take care of the family and causing pain.

      And money problems that result in trouble feeding the family and inability to get around are quite serious to me. I don’t know what steps you can take to get your own money, but I might consider that if it’s practical.

  11. notlongnow

    Hi Anonymous. No my name is in reference to my hope that Jesus Christ will return soon one day and put an end to all evil. But you’re right, maybe and hopefully it will also be in reference to a possible freedom on this earth for me.

    • Anonymous

      Hi NotLongNow,

      Of course your name is in reference to Christ Jesus’ return! Silly of me to not think of such. It’s a wonderful screenname. I cannot wait for Jesus’ return. I cannot wait to be rid of this evil world.

      Someone once said that every good and blissful moment is a gift from God and a preview of heaven. I know there’s a Bible verse related to that, I just cannot recall it right now. I, too, long for the day when this life is over — with all the evil, abuse, treachery, sin, corruption, violence, and horrors of this world.

  12. Finding Answers

    I have encountered financially abusive relationships my entire life, personally and professionally. The only consistent pattern? Causing pain and suffering.

    It’s hard to see the forest for the trees.

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