Who’s Controlling the Purse Strings? Part II
Last week, we talked about financial abuse – the way one person in a relationship can exercise dominance over a spouse or partner through financial control. Signs of abuse included: garnering the partner’s wages, restricting bank account access, enforcing accountability for every penny spent, threatening abandonment, forcing the other person to be the sole provider, and ensuring financial dependence through multiple pregnancies.
What’s the cause? In cases that involve financially domineering men (though roles can be reversed), it’s often that they are uncomfortable with women having power. Money is power. So, why do some women allow this? It could be that financial abuse is “normal” to them. Possibly they had domineering fathers and mothers who accepted this behavior. Maybe this kind of control by the male is common in their religion or culture. Whatever the reason, always having to ask another person for money (especially your own) is a terrible way to live.
There are options available, some of which I will list below; but remember, I’m a financial adviser, not a licensed therapist, so please seek out professional guidance if you find yourself in a situation like the ones I’ve described.
1. Seek Help: Confide in trusted friends, but only if they won’t judge or pity you. Again, it would probably be better to seek out a therapist who could help you emotionally and strategically (to plan your departure).
2. Educate Yourself: If you are not working, learn skills to make yourself a desirable employee. Take online courses that offer job placement while you are planning your next move towards independence.
3. Save: If your paycheck is being pocketed by your partner, find ways to save money on the side. When shopping, skim a bit off the top and “keep the change” when possible. Maybe buy, then return, an item. Hide the money in a safe place.
4. Earn: If you are restricted to the home, there are some legitimate online, work-from-home jobs. Do your research, then start earning money on the QT.
5. Leave: Reestablish yourself. Don’t think your partner will change; he/she probably won’t. (Take extreme care if the person is also physically abusive.)
I admit, this subject touches a sore spot with me. No one should live without choices – including whether to live independently of a financially controlling partner.