In Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s important for people to be aware of the signs that could indicate financial abuse from their partner or family member
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. When talking about this topic, it is very common to talk about physical abuse. However, within this unfortunate concept, there are many people who, regardless of whether they are men and women, although they are mostly ladies, experience financial abuse. And the worst, they don’t even know it, because they are not aware of what it is and how it works.
Financial abuse, also called economic abuse or financial exploitation, should not be confused with financial infidelity. Financial infidelity involves things like hiding a credit card account or buying an expensive item without discussing it with a partner. These actions can break the trust between the couple, but it can be overcome.
In contrast, financial abuse is when one partner, male or female, limits or prevents the other from accessing financial resources. In this way, the abuser manages the money as a means of blackmail, in such a way that he can limit expenses, ruin credit or prohibit his spouse from getting a job.
The goal of a financial abuser is to take control of the relationship through money. This type of abuse can make you feel like you couldn’t support yourself (or your children) if you left. Basically, the victim feels powerless and unable to escape from the situation.
According to a study by the Center for Financial Security, 99% of domestic violence survivors had also experienced financial abuse in the relationship.
How to detect a situation of financial abuse
As in many cases of abuse, there are some signs that could indicate that you suffer from a situation of financial abuse such as:
• Refuses to share financial information: Financial abusers often take control of family finances and take actions without your consent, such as opening new accounts or making major purchases without your knowledge. This could be mistaken for financial infidelity, the difference is that you have no control over the money in the household. None.
• Gets angry when you ask: The abuser quickly gets angry when you ask about the family finances. This scare tactic keeps the victim out of any attempts to find out about money matters.
• Limit your expenses: it is very common for an abuser to give only an allowance to the victim. In extreme cases, the amount is so small that the victim cannot meet her basic needs, such as medical care and food.
• Sabotaging your career: The abuser will do anything to keep the victim out of a job, whether it’s harassing her to quit her job or discouraging her from getting one.
• Ruins your credit: Having complete control of finances, the abuser can delay payments on bills bearing your name to destroy your credit. The sickest, they can commit identity theft to open an account in your name for the sole purpose of destroying your credit.
• Force a power of attorney agreement: By getting a power of attorney, you virtually give the abuser permission to sign legal documents on your behalf, with which he can steal your money and property.
Financial abuse is not exclusive to romantic partners, it can also occur with family members, such as abuse of elderly relatives.
If you experience one or more of these points, seek professional help, talk to a therapist. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. You can also visit thehotline.org to learn more about leaving an abuser.
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