Economic abuse is another form of abuse and control, and can sometimes happen slowly enough you are unaware of what is happening. It can also be a deciding factor if a person can leave or not. For me, my abuser took my money, and then ruined my credit. I was the main source of income in the household, but had very little access to the funds. My check would be deposited into our joint account, and before I had time to pay the bills the money would be gone. I spent countless hours rearranging things and planning what bill needed to be paid. If checks were used, sometimes the money for that check would be spent before the check hit the account, making a mess of everything.
The one thing my gram always told me was how important it is to have good credit. When I met my abuser, even though I was only 21, I had excellent credit. I had a credit card that I used, only to pay it off at the end of the month. I did not have a car loan, or any other monthly payments. I had a small savings account as well. When I became pregnant early into the relationship I was the one who had to pay for everything the baby was going to need. Soon my savings were gone, and my credit card bill was more than I could pay off each month.
When we moved in together, the first thing he wanted to do was add his name to my bank account. As soon as he had access to my money it was gone. The money he was spending was not being spent on the baby on the way, but for porn, beer, and cigarettes. The money disappeared quicker than I could understand. When I asked questions about the spending, or even sharing the expenses for the baby, he made me feel guilty for even asking.
While I was at work he would sign up for new credit cards in my name since he now had access to my social security number, and all of the needed information. Since I was at work, he would get the mail, and before I knew it, the cards would be maxed out.
When I took rolled change, and birthday money to the bank to open a savings account for my son, I mistakenly left the paperwork out where he could find it. Before long, my son’s account was empty. As the kids got older and had money from gifts, he would “borrow” the money, but never paid them back. He started this with my gram too, asking to use her credit card to do nice things for me (like flowers after a fight, or a hotel room away with the kids), and never paid her back either.
During our relationship I received two inheritances, totaling around $30,000. I wanted to use the money to pay off my debt, and buy a laptop so I could start writing. Before I knew it, the money was gone, and I still had my debt and no laptop.
Without access to money or credit, I was stuck. The house we owned was in my name, and if I left I would have to pay for the house and an apartment, but there was no way I could do that. This was all part of his power and control over me and the kids.
Some information about economic or financial abuse follows:
Economic or financial abuse is when an abusive partner extends their power and control into the area of finances. This abuse can take different forms, including an abusive partner:
- Giving an allowance and closely watching how you spend it or demanding receipts for purchases
- Placing your paycheck in their bank account and denying you access to it
- Preventing you from viewing or having access to bank accounts
- Forbidding you to work or limiting the hours that you can work
- Maxing out credit cards in your name without permission or not paying the bills on credit cards, which could ruin your credit score
- Stealing money from you or your family and friends
- Using funds from children’s savings accounts without your permission
- Living in your home but refusing to work or contribute to the household
- Making you give them your tax returns or confiscating joint tax returns
- Refusing to give you money to pay for necessities/shared expenses like food, clothing, transportation, or medical care and medicine
This information was found at https://www.thehotline.org/