“I just wish I could buy a new purse,” she said, sighing, voicing aloud her thoughts, although she was alone. “Oh it doesn’t matter,” she reprimanded herself. “The one I have is fine. It’s just a purse. I don’t really need anything. But it would be nice…..” Her thoughts trailed off as she turned away, busying herself with other things.
Economic and financial abuse is yet another element in the abuse cycle which often gets sidelined or ignored. It is rarely something a victim shares since finances are a matter of privacy. On top of verbal, emotional and isolation abuse, financial abuse adds to the misery of an already unhappy situation.
While the victim may not “need” anything in the form of clothes, shoes, food to eat, and other necessities, the victim is ridiculed for purchases made as not being acceptable for gifts for even family members, and berated when a purchase is made for personal reasons without the knowledge of the abuser. It seems like a catch twenty-two. On the one hand *she is told she has the right to purchase whatever she chooses, yet receives a tongue lashing if money is spent on herself without specific permission.
Funds received for efforts or work accomplished by the victim outside the home is often immediately deposited in the bank without the freedom to spend on anything frivolous. Every penny spent by the victim is accounted for, yet the abuser has complete independence and liberty to make purchases of minimal cost up to purchases of several thousand dollars without any explanation, aside from “it was needed;” the purchase clearly for *him. It comes to a place where even when the victim does have the funds to spend on herself, she hesitates and looks for the least expensive item to fill her needs. Even then she is ridden with guilt or fear that at some point later in time the purchase will come back to haunt her or be used against her, taking what joy could be found in the purchase, away. It becomes an inner struggle as she tries to decide if the purchase is worth the ramifications she is likely to have to deal with later.
Financial abuse is often well hidden since status is often tied to the amount of money and material goods a person or family has. I suggest this abuse is as vicious as any of the others because when the victim can see value being placed on the one she loves due to purchases made and she is left with minimal equality, it is yet another way to diminish self-respect and worth.
If this is your world, then I again urge you to find help in escaping this vicious cycle. Some signs and symptoms of financial/economic abuse: ·
- Funds are often withheld ·
- Limited funds permitted to be spent on the victim ·
- Having to account for every purchase ·
- Having no free access to funds ·
- The abuser spends freely on *himself ·
- Forbidding the victim to work outside the home ·
- If allowed to work, funds or payment received is often confiscated by the abuser
For more information search online for “Economic and Financial Abuse”
Note: the asterisk (*) indicates this can apply to either gender: male or female.