Financial abuse is a very real form of abuse. It can take many forms ranging from denying the woman all access to funds or making her solely responsible for all finances while he spends money irresponsibly himself. Money thus becomes the tool by which the abuser is able to further control the victim by ensuring either financial dependence on him, or shifting the responsibility of keeping a roof over the family's head onto the victim while simultaneously denying your ability to do so or obstructing you. In any relationship, financial control is one of the earliest signs of future abusive behavior. The husband has control the purse strings and refuses to share financial information with his wife, doles out an allowance to her, and expects that she account for every cent that she spends.
These behaviors are designed to isolate the woman by forcing her into a state of complete financial dependence. The most important thing to remember is that is that the abuser is not out of control. In fact, he is so in control that he can change his behavior to suit the social circumstances. Although he may appear charming and persuasive, his objective is actually to isolate his partner and make her dependence on him total. He is making a decision to control his partner's life by eliminating her ability to make choices, have access to money and be able to get around.
Financial abuse can and does often lead to physical abuse as well, and it knows no boundaries and can within all age ranges, educational levels, ethnic backgrounds, and financial levels...from the rich socialite who lives in the penthouse apartment to the poorest wife in the toughest section of town. Some of the signs of financial abuse are as follows:
- Controlling all of the family's finances.
- Withholding money or credit cards.
- Giving an allowance.
- Making you accountable for every penny you spend.
- Stealing from you or taking your money.
- Withholding basic necessities such food, clothes, medications, shelter.
- Preventing you from working.
- Sabotaging your job by making you miss work or call in constantly.