While everyone has money problems from time to time, even the wealthy, not everyone is financially abused.
Even if you and/or your partner are overspending or have debt, that doesn’t mean you are out to get each other.
There are some clear signs though, that you are being financially abused.
By the way, if after reading this, you are interested in my workbook to help you manage your financial anxiety and overall anxiety, sense of self-value, and self-love, here it is.
- Your partner threatens to leave if you don’t give them money. This might come in the form of you having a budget and them hinting that they’d be better off elsewhere, or you notice that they are distancing as you create more boundaries. Often, the person who is financially abused does not recognize this and they begin to loosen the purse strings to keep the threat of their partner leaving, at bay. This leads to the next one.
- Your partner withholds love and intimacy based upon their access to spending money. With misfortune, I’ve heard this complaint from clients more often than not. The partner who is manipulating and abusing is holding love, intimacy even physical presence, from their partner until there’s a financial gain.
- You feel like your partner is trying to control your life. This might look like controlling what you buy, how you spend, how you save, and even which brand of pasta you purchase. It is often micromanaging and crosses a few areas of abuse but always contains a financial thread as well.
- You are required to turn over your paycheck. I am not talking about an agreement where your direct deposit for bills, or that you agree to blend income, I am speaking of an outright control over your paycheck that you feel uncomfortable about.
- They threaten that they will hurt themselves if you don’t give them money. This might also look like implying that they are in danger without your financial help.
- Your partner has taken charge of the finances and you have no say over the matter. This might initially look like they care for you or they might actually say that they don’t want to trouble you, but if you don’t have access or any say, then it is controlling, and control is abuse.
- They refuse to let you treat yourself. This might look different depending on your financial situation. They traditionally do not want you to buy anything for yourself or your children and behave irrationally when and if you do. They might also throw it in your face for years, that you bought a shirt full price or that you purchased at all.
- They borrow money and never repay it. This might be from you or people connected to you like your parents or friends, but you are the epicenter of the asking if it is someone else, and the person who will have to face your family and friends for years after the relationship might fall apart. You will feel incredible guilt and shame unless you alter that money story, usually.
- They control food. They control how much food is purchased, where and when, and make sweeping, irrational judgments about how you purchase, cook, or “waste” food. Meanwhile, they often are buying fast food or nice meals out, clearly spending and in the case of fast food, wasting money. These types also tend to treat other people to meals with no problem but they have a meltdown if you want a particular brand of food or organic fruit.
- They sabotage your ability to work. This might look like outright demanding that you don’t work or it might look like them making you feel like it would be too hard for you to work on some level; they might even state you can’t afford to go to work because it would require you to buy clothes or use transportation which they say, is not in the budget.
- They constantly check receipts and you have to answer them. This is different than them checking to make sure you both did not get “ripped off”. This is where you know that they will ask you questions in an accusatory way when they look at the receipt. They will ask things like “What was $5.99” and if you don’t answer immediately, they will state that you are hiding something or in some way, mismanaging money or they will accuse you of mismanaging money.
- They stand in the way of your self-betterment. Maybe you are on a budget but you are not looking to join a gym, just do some workouts to free YouTube videos. All you want is a pair of sneakers. I realize that sneakers can run in the hundreds but there are discount stores that you know of where it might be as economical as $15 for a pair of sneakers. This person will rant and rave. A healthy person on a budget might say that the following week might be better but they will be happy that you are on a wellness plan. The financial abuser is going to berate you and make you feel wrong for even asking.. and mind you, you should not have to ask.
- There’s shame. In a healthy relationship, there’s no shame in budgeting or temporary debt, or any financial discussions. In a toxic, financially abusive relationship, it’s all about shame, blame, and guilt. No one should ever make you feel that you are unworthy. This is a key sign of financial abuse, is connecting money to shame, blame, and feelings of guilt.
Do you feel like you are or might be being financially abused but unsure what the next steps are?
It is always a good idea to see a local therapist, but another option is to prepare yourself with a few resources.
Some of my offerings:
- My free support group: The Secret Soiree‘
- My book is a resource for getting clear about what you need to reduce financial anxiety and find solutions for waning self-value.
- Also, if you go to the front page, you will see a link to sign up for my weekly inspiration and tips newsletter, and if you feel so inclined to invest in yourself a bit more, I have courses and options to work with me one on one.