We’ve learned that domestic violence victims typically stay in abusive relationships for two reasons: fear and finances. And before most suffer physical abuse, they’ll find themselves suffering from financial abuse without even realizing it.
In a romantic relationship, financial abuse might look like the abuser telling you what you can or cannot buy. It might look like forcing you to share a joint bank account, but then limiting your access to the account or even taking out loans or lines of credit using your name and social security number without you knowing.
At the hands of your mate, someone you love and trust, it’s sickening. It’s despicable. But it’s also not the only way women and men are abused financially.
1. Ever feel manipulated by this person to lend money but ignore your feelings?
2. Constantly find yourself having to bail out grown and able-bodied adults? (If you’re a parent and your “baby” is above college age, yes, they count as an adult.)
3. Financially support anyone whose neediness is purely derived out of their own laziness?
4. Find yourself afraid for this person, or convinced that he/she can’t handle basic life situations without falling apart?
5. Excuse this person’s behavior as being a result of the economy, stress, misunderstanding, or difficulty coping, even when the behavior hurts or inconveniences you?
6. Feel protective of this person, even though he/she is an adult and is capable of taking care of his/her life?
7. Wish others in this person’s life would change their behavior or attitudes to make things easier for this person?
8. Make yourself available to this person at the expense of your own financial obligations, energy, or time?
9. Hear from others that you’re too close to this person or the situation?
10. Tell the few people who actually offer to pay you back not to worry about it?
You may have gently referred to this behavior as “helping out” or being a “good person,” but in reality, if you thought “yes,” committed a shy nod, bit your lower lip, or rested your chin in the palm of your hand and leaned forward, then more than likely you, my friend, are in a financially abusive relationship in one form or another.