Financial abuse can be a subtle interloper. Is this kind of domestic abuse impacting you?
Financial abuse? Is that even a thing?
Domestic violence takes many and surprising forms. You may be a woman who is just now coming to an understanding that you have been in a manipulative, coercive relationship. The idea of financial abuse as one form of marital control may be brand new, too. Loss of power and autonomy are inherent in this subtle form of domestic danger.
How do I know if I’m experiencing financial abuse?
Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence that often goes unnoticed, but its impact can be
devastating. It occurs when an individual exerts control over another person’s financial
resources, resulting in their exploitation, dependency, and overall loss of autonomy.
Financial abuse shows up in various ways. Recognizing the signs is a starting place for you and the people you love. Here are a few to pay attention to:
- Restricting access to money, bank accounts, or assets.
- Forcing an individual to account for every penny spent.
- Controlling or manipulating financial decisions.
- Forging signatures or taking loans without consent.
- Exploiting joint accounts for personal gain.
- Destroying an individual’s credit or creating debt in their name.
Understanding the Effects of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse can have long-lasting consequences on an individual’s physical and emotional
well-being. It can lead to:
- Financial dependency and inability to meet basic needs.
- A sense of isolation, as the abuser restricts social and familial connections.
- Deterioration of self-esteem and self-worth.
- Increased vulnerability to other forms of abuse.
- Difficulties in seeking legal or professional assistance.
Seeking Help and Support
If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse, it’s essential to
reach out for help. Consider the following steps:
- Build a support network of trusted friends, family, or professionals.
- Document evidence of financial abuse, such as bank statements, emails, or texts.
- Seek advice from legal professionals or organizations specializing in domestic violence.
- Contact local authorities, including the police or social services, to report the abuse.
- Explore resources such as helplines or shelters that can provide immediate assistance.
Taking Back Control
Recovering from financial abuse requires time and effort, but it is possible to regain control of
your finances and life. Here are some steps to consider:
- Establish financial independence by opening a personal bank account.
- Secure personal documents, such as IDs, passports, and financial records.
- Monitor credit reports regularly and address any discrepancies promptly.
- Develop a budget to regain financial stability and rebuild savings.
- Consider seeking counselling, therapy, and spiritual direction to address the emotional aftermath.
You don’t have to figure this all out by yourself
Financial abuse can feel crippling. You are not alone in facing it; you do not have to untangle yourself from it alone either. By understanding the signs, effects, and available resources, we can empower ourselves and support those experiencing financial abuse. Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness. It is healthy to acknowledge limitations where we have them, and strengths where we are already on solid ground. If this is a vulnerable area for you, ask for help.
Support from women who love managing finances
We have a little network of women that we love and trust when it comes to some of the practical tangles we have experienced ourselves. Reach out to them if you need guidance!
These are women who know how to attend to the nitty gritty decimal places and sweeping spreadsheets. They can help you find a way forward in safety and freedom.
These are professionals who know what it is to be vulnerable, concerned, or even financially abused. They are available to assist with everything from setting a basic budget to building (tiny brick up on tiny brick) for the future. Do you need a place to start exploring this for yourself? Any of these women can capably provide guidance on how to advocate for yourself. They believe in you, and in what you wish to build. You do not have to tackle this enormous part of your life alone. Here’s help:
Elevate Financial – Ellen Covey and her team offer personalized, compassionate, purpose-filled attention to investments, insurance needs, and building for the future. Our experience of Ellen is that she is deeply caring and personally invested in the care of her clients.
Focused on Finances — Shawna Kerr-Smith is a hands-on, blue-print-ready guide available to help you gain understanding and control over your personal finances. We know Shawna to be efficient, thorough, and joyfully invested in client care.
Global Compass Consulting — Martina Butler-O’Mahoney works internationally as a financial divorce consultant, coach, and mediator. Martina brings hard-won wisdom and years of experience to her specialized care. Find her personal story (as well as solid, practical advice) in her book, “In the Absence of Experience“.
Tending all of You
You do not have to do this alone. If you are experiencing any kind of domestic abuse, you may be feeling trapped, afraid, and powerless. It may seem that nothing will ever change. “Hopeless” may not begin to describe it all.
Perhaps you’ve only just begun to understand that you are a woman experiencing abuse.
We are here to listen and will readily refer to other professionals and programs should need arise.