Financial abuse is when one person takes control of the financial aspects of another person(s)’ life, usually to the victim’s detriment. This can be by accessing the victim’s savings and credit cards without permission, interfering in their employment opportunities, controlling their assets to keep them hostage and even demanding passwords and confiscating their salary. The Centers for Financial Security did some research that uncovered that 99% of domestic violence cases all included some form of financial abuse.
How It Works
It is important to note that abusers crave the power and control in any situation. This means breaking down the victim’s confidence and security, so that they become dependent and are not able to control their own living and working arrangements. Abusers can feel obligated to you spending on them, and will invade privacy by opening by statements and emails. They may offer to help you with budgeting just so they can keep an eye on your money management; they may harass you at work by stopping by/calling/texting, and can even try to dictate where you can and cannot work. Even criticizing every spending decision can be a form of financial abuse.
Financial abuse can open the door for physical and mental (as well as other forms of) abuse. The victim becomes limited in what they can do because their ability to make decisions has been stifled; with no resources, they are unable to plan. In cases where there is violence, victims and even their children can be at risk - even though leaving the environment is the only solution and they may not be able to do so.
In general, abuse does not get better with time. If you think you may be a victim, or may need to help to avoid these kind of situations, seek help from a pastor, counsellor, an advocate or any trusted person as soon as you can. In order to see improvement, you will have to start anew. Though this may be difficult and challenging, it is a much better investment in the long run.