Pain of Marital Financial Abuse

Understanding the Pain of Marital Financial Abuse

Ideally, individuals will treat their spouses as their equals. However, it is not unheard of for husbands or wives to engage in financial abuse. Financial abuse can range from hiding assets to forbidding a partner from getting a job or otherwise generating an income. Let’s take a look at some of the negative consequences of this type of abuse.

People often only think of abuse as something that happens physically. When most people ask themselves if they’re in an abusive situation sexual and physical abuse comes to mind. Financial abuse is not as easy to photograph and see in the mirror. This is added to the fact that financial abuse usually brings in a narcissistic abuser who gaslights a victim. You may not even know you are in a toxic situation until you leave the situation. Here are some ways that financial abuse can hurt spouses. 

Financial Abuse Could Lead to Depression

Generally speaking, being financially independent gives you a sense of purpose and can be a source of pride for. If you are unable to obtain financial security, you may not feel in control of your own destiny. That can lead to a loss of self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness. Ideally, you will deal with those feelings with the help of family, friends or a professional therapist.

Financial abuse is about power and control. Just like sexual abuse is not about sex, but power. Financial abuse is a way that an abuser can have their spouse be dependent on them. If they stay dependent the idea is that they can’t save money, buy their own things, and they have to stay financially dependent. This is why it’s usually also paired with limiting communication with friends, family, and not letting them make any purchases alone. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s going to the mall or the grocery store. The point is less about finances and about control. 

Controlling Behavior Can Set a Bad Example for the Kids

Kids tend to believe that the environment that they grow up in is representative of how the world works. Therefore, if a child sees a parent acting in a controlling manner, that child may try to assert control over others. If you are seeking to leave a controlling spouse, it may be a good idea to consult with a divorce attorney. Doing so may make it harder for the abusive parent to have custody or visitation rights to your children. If you think they may try and steal your children away if you stand your ground then having legal council will help keep them in check from abusing your rights. 

Many people perpetuate cycles of abuse. They usually learn from their parents and families. This type of learned behavior. This is why it’s important to make sure that your children don’t normalize the toxic behavior from the abusive parent. This can break the cycle of abuse and lead them to a healthier life and healthy relationships in their future. 

What Happens If the Abusive Spouse Dies?

You could be left homeless or in significant debt if you’re financially controlling spouse were to pass on. This is because a lender may have the right to repossess property if you can’t keep up with the payments on your own. If there is a balance remaining after an asset is liquidated, you may be on the hook for paying it. This could be true even if you didn’t know about the debt before your spouse died.

A financially abusive spouse may make sure that you don’t inherit anything. Oftentimes mortgages an funds are changed to not let you take ownership over the finances. This can lead to addendums that you can’t make any changes without their approval. If you have to leave, liquidate, or even sell your property you want to make sure that you are not blind sighted by changes done without your approval. They may not even have your name on the lease or mortgage on purpose to try and keep you dependable on them. Make sure you talk to an attorney and banker if you need to make an escape plan with your children. 

You May Need to Rely on Your Children or Grandchildren

You may lied to by a financially abusive spouse and think that you are putting savings into a 401k or a savings account.  However, they may be spending that money behind your back. This can leave you in a very vulnerable state when you are older without you knowing the difference. 

If you aren’t able to accumulate money and assets during your working years, it may not be possible to survive on your own later in life. Instead, you may be reliant on the kindness of a child or grandchild in retirement. In a worst case scenario, you could find yourself in a nursing facility where there is no guarantee that you’ll receive quality care.

Beyond Finances

Having a relationship that you don’t have any control over means more than not being able to buy a new pair of shoes for your child in the winter. It can affect your physical health. It can mean not being able to take your child to the doctor because you are afraid about paying the co-pay or the medicine. This could be because you can’t even use the cards or are afraid of the retribution from the spouse.

Your mental health can suffer from the anxiety and stress that comes with being controlled. This can affect your digestive health. Your children may suffer in school due to the stress in the household. They may be afraid to let you know of their needs because of the emotional stress that comes with asking for new clothes or personal care items. 

While it can be difficult to leave an abusive relationship, there are resources available to those who need help doing so. An attorney may be able to provide insight into how to obtain them without tipping off your spouse.

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