Financial abuse occurs when an abuser uses forcible tactics to take control of a victim’s finances, such as restricting access to bank accounts, dictating how all money is spent and refusing to allow a victim to work. When most people envision this sort of abuse, they think of a poor family or a pimp abusing his $2 whore prostitute but this isn’t always the case. It can happen with an entrepreneur, an actor/actress, an athlete, or a day to day family man or woman. The problem with this abuse is that most people don’t even know that it exists. The Street released an article called “Are You in a Financially Abusive Relationship? Know the Warning Signs” that sheds more light on what financial abuse really is. People need to become aware of what the warning signs are in order to assess if they’re in a financial secure relationship or if they’re being financially abused.
Victims sometimes miss the red flags of a financially abusive relationship, because the warning signs can start out subtle and become more overt over time. At first, the abuser might attempt to use charm to take control of a victim’s finances, such as offering to handle the bills and give the victim an allowance each week to “make their life easier” and “ease stress.” Sadly, when the victim eventually realizes what is happening and tries to take back financial control, she might discover that she no longer has access to their family’s bank accounts or that debt has been run up in their name.
According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, some other tactics abusers use to control a victim financially include hiding assets; stealing the victim’s identity, property or inheritance; not including the victim in investment or banking decisions; and sabotaging work or employment opportunities by stalking or harassing the victim at a workplace or battering her before important meetings or interviews.
If you suspect you might be experiencing financial abuse, ask yourself whether you feel fear toward your partner when it comes to spending money and seeking information about your family’s finances.
“I think a clear indicator is having to answer to someone else for even minor expenditures, as well as [engaging in] lying or secrecy for fear of your partner’s reaction,” says Feingold.
With the way society drives materialism, it seems to be getting easier and easier to fall victim to the trap of financial abuse. Someone could enter your life offering to help take care of some of your financial woes and you could soon find yourself trapped. Pay attention to the warning signs and if you feel you are in this situation, get help.