Do you want to talk about financial abuse? Because we should.
Financial abuse is a component of domestic abuse 99% of the time. (Source: National Network to End Domestic Violence)
It happens when your abuser hides money, spends freely on their wants and needs while denying you funds, convinces you that you don’t “contribute” to the relationship/family if you don’t earn money yourself (their justification for your limited allowance, if you’re given one at all—common for SAHMs), prevents you from working, forces you to work and absorbs the income, creates debt in your name, “borrows” from friends and family without repayment, and more.
But even after you’ve been discarded, or left on your own, financial abuse long remains a humdinger—especially if you are legally bound to a coparenting plan with your abuser.
They won’t pay child support or contribute to basic and ongoing expenses for the children (including adequate insurance), ignore bills you then must step in to pay, and tie you up in a coparenting arrangement that prevents you from accessing reasonable means and resources. (Keep reading to get what I mean.)
Full disclosure: I don’t just know this stuff because of information on the internet. It’s my own experience.
Everything I shared above was my experience during the marriage.
And I have debt from starting over. (My choice. No regrets.) This includes money I owe family who’ve helped me, and unsecured debt by way of credit card. Because at one of my lowest points I had to open six separate credit cards just to cover living expenses. (I have since paid five off, though I’m not sure when I will be able to tackle the last.)
You may have seen my fairly recent post about living in public housing. It’s because I am bound by a parenting plan — coercive, post-separation control that is legally ensured — to an expensive small town which offers limited job/income options, and it’s all I can afford on my own, given these very real, affecting factors.
Today I am more financially stable than ever — which means I can cover my bills and take care of my kids, which includes some regular living expenses for my college girl — but it is hard to imagine if/when I’ll ever get ahead. And what even is retirement? It’s not looking good for me… But, perspective: I would rather remain in debt, have to scrimp, and work for the rest of my life than be in an abusive marriage.
So many are afraid to leave abuse because they don’t know how they’ll make it financially.
Bystanders say, “I can’t believe she left him, she was so secure because of that marriage and look at her now.”
But are we “making it” financially during the abusive relationship? Were we ever truly secure?
How is that even possible when financial abuse is a component of domestic abuse 99% of the time?