When Money Becomes a Form of Power and Control

when money becomes a form of power and control

When Money Becomes a Form of Power and Control

Imagine getting an allowance when you were a young kid. Maybe you’d get a dollar or two every week — you’d hide it away to save up for something big, or you’d feverishly rush to the store and spend it all at once and quickly fall into sugar shock from your candy purchases.

Now imagine getting an allowance as an adult. This time not from your parents, but from your partner. This allowance comes not with excitement and joy, but with feelings of confinement, frustration and maybe resentment. Maybe this is enough to buy necessities, but it might not be — and your partner always checks the receipts.

Money can be a stressful factor in any relationship. When there are intermingling finances, bills to be paid and considerations to be made about saving for the future, money can become a source of conflict. In a healthy relationship, each partner feels like they have a say in decision-making, even when it comes to money.

In a relationship where some form of abuse is present — whether physical or emotional — it is not uncommon that an abusive partner extends their power and control into the area of finances. This is known as economic or financial abuse and it can be very difficult to recognize. It can be something as seemingly innocent as an abuser telling their partner what they can and cannot buy, or something as major as an abuser restricting a partner’s access to bank accounts.

This abuse can take different forms, including:

  • Giving an allowance and closely watching how their partner spends it or demanding receipts for purchases
  • Placing the partner’s paycheck in their bank account and denying them access to it
  • Preventing their partner from viewing or having access to bank accounts
  • Forbidding their partner to work or limiting the hours that they can work
  • Maxing out credit cards in their partner’s name without permission or not paying the bills on credit cards, which could ruin their significant other’s credit score
  • Stealing money from their partner or their partner’s family and friends
  • Using funds from children’s savings accounts without their partner’s permission
  • Refusing to give their partner money, food, clothing, gas or medicine
  • Living in their partner’s home but refusing to work or contribute to the household
  • Making their partner give them their tax returns or confiscating joint tax returns

When an abusive partner is in control of the finances, planning for an independent future without them can feel difficult. Thankfully, there are many organizations that aid survivors of domestic violence and financial abuse. These groups can help create plans that will support a victim who is attempting to leave and can also help them become economically stable and self-sufficient after leaving.

No one should prevent you from having access to the money that you earn. If your partner is acting in any of these ways, call us at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Our advocates can help you come up with ways to save money and can also connect you with local programs. Stay tuned for a post on Thursday to learn about these organizations and about tips for economic safety within your relationship.

Comment section

69 replies
  1. need to escape the madness of my relationship. already on anti depressants but still crying most days, because of the verbal emotional abuse.

  2. I had to courage to fight back to leave…yet where is my support I had one great counselor that they moved and I need some assistance in reestablishing my life however the abuse that began at infancy has continued into adulthood and I refuse to accept it from anyone. I am only 30 and I am fed up with these organizations that are designed to help and they do the opposite they actually inflict further abuse by pacifying the situation and not taking it seriously. I just came from talking with this DV “specialist” who referred to an at risk place instead of a safe one…smfh…..

  3. My husband has been doing things like this to me forever-I had no idea it was considered a form of abuse. Anytime I get a gift of money from family (or back when I was working a bonus) he always demands half or more of it-my half is spent on bills. I never have any idea how much money is in our account or how much he spends but it’s never spent on any of our bills-though he uses my car ( our only car) for work and leaves me stuck at home with no transportation all the time-he has never helped with a single car payment or insurance payment he doesn’t help with rent or utilities I have to come up with that on my own and if I ever have a dime it is spent on him or the bills-meanwhile it’s always next month I’ll have enough to help with the rent but after all the years we’ve been together ‘next time’ never comes. I’m not allowed to buy myself anything recently I got a haircut-my first in three years-for a family reunion and he berated me for weeks for spending money on myself. But said it was different for him to get a haircut bc he’s a man. It is exhausting and utterly demoralizing living this way. Hopefully someday I’ll get out from under all this pressure.

  4. Janice,

    It sounds like you are in a scary situation. Please call The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for some support and guidance. Advocates are available 24/7. You do not have to go through this alone. Thank you for reaching our through our blog community.


  5. Phoenix79,

    What you are describing is what we consider economic abuse. In a healthy relationship the money is divided up in a manner that both individuals have agreed upon. The fact that he demands you give him half of what you get, leaves you at home without any transportation, and keeps you from having access to the bank account is very controlling. It is very unfair that you cannot even get a haircut without him becoming upset. I am glad you are thinking about your situation and considering your options. If you would like some guidance and support from an advocate at The National Domestic Violence Hotline, you can call 24/7 to 1-800-799-7233 for help. Thank you for reaching out through our blog community.


  6. Economic abuse – How Some U.S. Citizens Trap Their Immigrant Wives:

    Six months into our marriage my husband decided to use our funds for things “he always wanted to do” instead of hiring a lawyer to file for my green card. It hurt me very deeply to know that he would do this, knowing the hardships I overcame knowing that without worth authorization papers and a social security number I could not work. He did not have to worry about these things because he was a citizen and all his relatives were born here. We were married in 1999, and I still do not have a green card, work authorization, or a social security number. I do however have a tax ID and have paid taxes.

    It was also shocking to learn of the hatred his family held towards me. In this country, when you are
    an immigrant living under these circumstances it is very difficult to recover. My husband knew because
    of sexual abuse by my mother’s brother, and physical abuse by my mother since the age of 7, I had
    absolutely no one in my country to turn to, to request a place to live if I chose to return home, or to request money.

    He knew I had done a great deal in the past to help my young brothers who were also being abused and that they needed me. I needed to return to my country to help them and I could not get there if I did not have a green card, and if I did not have a job here to build up the funds, to take them out of that violent, and demeaning setting.

    He knew when I was in my country my mom harassed me on the job, and did everything she could to stop me from gaining enough money to be able to show that I could provide for my young brothers. I came to this country to be free of this harassment, and to escape the stigma of being sexually abused, but always with my return in mind.

    My husband used it all against me once we were married and wanted me to commit my talents to helping him, even telling me once that I should not expect his help in return, because he didn’t know how to help me.

    After this declaration, I continued to do my best to earn an income mostly through freelance work, as a writer. It was the only work I could do without breaking labor laws. I knew of others who were working under the identity of Americans to survive similar circumstances. However, I did not see this as an option. Instead, I reasoned that if I could simply create my own employment, I would be able to save enough money to escape the situation.

    My husband’s response was to try to break my determination, he once said, “I was too determined” and once when I became so depressed that I could not take care of myself, he said that it was time that I “matured” meaning that I needed to back down and stop trying to challenge his domination. I knew from reading studies, particularly one by the CDC, about the health effects of child maltreatment over one’s lifespan, that the stress I endured so early in life, and the psychological cruelty I experienced by my husband, was the cause of my mental decline, the anxiety, the deep sadness that affected every aspect of my life.

    My husband also used humiliation by telling his family that I was a victim of rape in New York. In turn his father who was convinced I was exploiting his son, and who was also a tyrant in his home, (according to my husband and his sisters), started to inquire about the times I would be at the apartment alone, by then two burglaries had been carried out, during the first, only my things were stolen.

    During the second, some things of my husband were stolen mostly things he himself did not want. These types of tactics between my husband, his father, and his mother, eventually pushed me out of my own apartment, I was forced to call a shelter. I was not accepted at any NY shelters, instead I was sent to a shelter in Newark, while there, I saw how victims were ill treated by a few, it made me wonder if I could be safe there.

    I learned of another shelter an hour away, at that shelter, I saw a woman beaten in front of the entrance. She was a resident, and the father of her children found out the shelter’s location, while at this shelter other women told me about how their spouses and boyfriends, had stripped them of their money, one way or another, and had made them feel as I felt, powerless, alone, discarded, less than human. Like me these women were stripped of more than their money, they were denied their productivity. What are we without productivity? Being human is akin to being productive. For me, it is everything.

    I also would like to say that it is one thing to be an immigrant victim of domestic abuse who is latino, and another to be an immigrant victim of domestic abuse who is black. To add to this, I noticed that when shelter staff learned that my husband was Latino, the response was even more complicated. Based on the comments made by some some, I reasoned that many people automatically assume that I was the problem, because black women are often presented publicly as aggressive. I reasoned this way because even individuals at my church who learned of the abuse, supported him, even though I never did anything or acted in a way that was aggressive or offensive to him, or them. They saw him as mild tempered, and told me I must be mistaken, even when they learned he had not filed my green card and stopped me from having money, they said, that he was under the influence of his family, and his family must be like that because they wanted him to marry within his culture. I was dismayed that even in a church setting, and a shelter setting, people reacted in ways that compounded my distress.

    In spite of this, at the shelter, I cannot say that I felt angry with those who tolled out this treatment. I felt very disappointed that were not all seen as equal victims of domestic abuse.

    To complicate matters some of the staff including my advocate commented on how I seemed to be educated and articulate and found it difficult to believe that I could not find a way out of this situation. Again, there is a presumption that a black woman who is by their assessment educated, cannot be a victim if economic abuse, of psychological violence, in the absence of “real violence.”

    It is hard to know where you fit in, in a nation that has so many rules about who should be what, and how they should act. Are we not all the same, do we not bleed, hurt, and long for love, honesty, respect, and compassion, the same? Do we not have dreams to be free of oppression, economic abuse, and scorn? Is it so hard to imagine that a diabolical man who is clearly a covert aggressor, a calculated person, an evil doer, could trap someone like me, someone without any family support?

    The only thing that has kept me going all these years is my prayers, my request to God to hold onto my mind, and not let the depression take it over, and to help me help myself to get out. I have lost many years in this bind, inside this plight, and it is compounded by the abuse that continued in my country.
    My plan failed to rescue my brothers. My plan failed to rescue me. But I have not failed completely I simply need another plan and even as I recognize this I am reassured even more by the fact that my husband is still trying to overtake me, that fact alone reminds me that it is not over, I have not failed me, completely, otherwise there would not be a need for him to try so hard.

    But unlike many, (and I do concede that many have gained the help of organizations such as Safe Horizon), I have not benefited from these services. When I visited
    Safe Horizon’s website I see all the great things they do. I think to myself if only it could be true, for me. For those with different experiences I am happy to know you found help. You deserve it. You are free. Stay free, be watchful of the calculated, the deceitful, the lethal in sheep’s clothing, don’t let them in.

    The women who were immigrants at the shelter I mentioned seemed to suffer a great deal more because like me they were told by the counselor that there was nothing that could be done for them because they had no access to an income, but these women had one thing in common with me, regardless of their race, they were set on finding a way on their own, an honest way to be independent, and like me they too suffered from severe depression, and that complicated how far they could take their dreams, restore their autonomy. And like me they had been diligent wives, helping their husbands. I had written three proposals that helped my husband gained three promotions. I had done everything a wife should.

    When he flared up and did spiteful things I constantly questioned what I did wrong. And when I had managed to save up money and he found out through his surveillance of me, he would create a crisis, such as not paying rent for months unknown to me, or allowing the lights or phone to be turned off, or not buying food, until every penny I had saved was gone.

    You ask how can a woman suffer if she has never been beaten? How can she really experience distress without a death threat? People say these things, ask these questions, because they do not understand that economic abuse is akin to being struck down over and over with a blunt instrument, it pounds you down, and down, into scraps of nothing, into a thing rather than a person, a thing to be pitied or looked down upon, a thing to be turned away, a thing to be counted as much less than a person, and it comes with the insults, with bullying, with psychological violence, and it comes with unspoken threats too.

    You wake up and find your husband glaring down at you as I did, his eyes so big with darkness and mad will, that you scream as I did involuntarily to the top of your lungs. Did he strangle me? No. Did he try to suffocate me? No. He wanted me to know. He could have kill me. He wanted me to know I’d better watch out, make no mistake, he threatened me. And because I read a great deal, I could support what I saw in his eyes, my certainty about what he was doing. In the past, I had read the Secret Service Threat Assessment For Targeted Violence, and had I not read this, I might have convinced myself that it was
    not a “real threat.”

    You see the world tells us, even the police, that a threat can only come through overt action or words, this could not be farther from the truth. To say that is to simplify human behavior.

    Knowing someone could kill you if you keep fighting for your right to have money and live like a human being is the same as knowing that they will at some point attempt to kill you when you do. It feels the same to me. I know that the moment I am financially independent he will try to kill me. I know this because he is determined to win. And winning is something I didn’t really understand until I managed to read a copy of the book In Sheep’s Clothing by George K. Simon. Based on all he has done to me thus far I have every reason to believe this is his intent, regardless of what anyone outside this situation has to say. I am fully aware of what’s happening.

    But I am equally determined to do all I can to block his will from succeeding. I told him once we are both determined here and I am willing to go all the way, to stop you from taking over me. No human should fight so hard for another person’s autonomy. He backed away, looked at me, and left the apartment for hours. What worries me is when my depression comes it is so overwhelming, I am not as strong as I was in the moment I said that to him, and he knows this. It’s what he relies on to win.

    The conditions at that shelter and the feeling of hopelessness, the spirit of dictatorship there among
    “some” staff members, made many women feel less worthy. There was also little food there, and I honestly did not want to eat. I thought only of escaping this setting but I had no place to go. It taught me a valuable lesson that even when you go someplace expecting help, you still have to be on guard, people driven by control and dominance go where they can gain easy access to victims, and this includes other women, not just men.

    In that shelter, the women would share their experiences about their residence at shelters, and how some advocates were high on the power they felt over victims. I was surprised and was told by one of the women at the shelter that the shelters in the poorest areas were like this, and I needed to find a shelter in a wealthier area, but I needed to have an address near that area. I was shocked. I was very sad after this and decided I could not listen to any more these conversations because I felt my depression coming for me. I did not want to ignore what they were saying because we were there to listen, and support each other but hearing these things cut a like knife, it hurt deeply and I needed to focus on how to regain my economic freedom, to stay on track in spite of the chaos around me.

    If you were sick due to depression the shelter staff entered the room and demand that you get up and find something to do. There was a lack of compassion but I decided to use this demand as inspiration. I told my depression to go away. You can’t come for me now. Go away. I would say this every day in my mind.

    The computer rooms could only be used in the middle of the week even though no one was using them. It was hard to know what you could do to empower your self. All that was on my mind was to find a way I could earn an income independently, I thought the computer and access to the internet would help me figure somethings out, find some sort of inspiration, do some type of research but most of this was restricted. It was also very cold in the shelter and I became ill the heat was limited. I tried to go to a shelter in New York but because I had not been beaten,and because I did not have children, and because I had no restraining order, I was turned down by Safe Horizon.

    In the end, with no money, and no way to really sit down and craft a plan to create an opportunity to use my talents to make money, I was forced to return to my husband. He allowed me to return but he stopped purchasing toilet paper, bathroom soap, then he stopped buying food. I contacted the church I attended and asked for help. They told me they could not believe he would do this and no one showed up to help me, never mind that I was a baptized member.

    I moved from one state of chaos to another, never really having an opportunity to think my way out of hell.
    Why do women stay in domestic abusive situations where their economic freedom has been censored?
    It’s not because they love their abuser, because you cannot love someone who is determined to destroy you. It’s because in this cold, cold, world, if you do not have access to money, you are nothing.

    But I am still trying to escape economic abuse, even though there are many organizations stating they can help you gain a divorce, get your green card under the VAWA Act, gain counseling, and help you get away from your abuser, it is not that simple. There is a waiting list for this help. So again, you are back to the beginning, as an immigrant trapped by economic abuse and the tactics employed by your husband, and you are back to finding a method to gain an income without him knowing, so that you can hire a lawyer to help you get the divorce and get the green card, and for me, that means so I can finally overcome economic abuse, and while you are doing this you have to regulate your brain chemicals to keep the depression away, because it does come for you with great force science have proven that sexual abuse early in life affects our brain chemicals making it harder to keep depression out. It is the depression that also compounds our ability to get out in time. But I say though it has been the greatest challenge of my life, I still believe I can do all this, and get away in time, before he realizes what I am doing and tries to kill me. Thank you very much for allowing me to share this.

    I stand with you united, in your love, in your courage. I admire you. I support you with all my might and heart. When I read about your circumstances and your will power I too am empowered. For those of you who are like me still trying to push your way to the surface, to claim your autonomy: Never, Never, Give up. We must continue to push forward no matter what abusers do to destroy our autonomy, to deny us our economic freedom. We cannot let them win.

    Pick any news story at random and it describes the will and determination of the offender in domestic abuse cases. Determination is not exclusive to them.

    I say even though you might be still locked in this plight with their mad will, you are not less than they are. You are not less than your critics. You are not less than anyone no matter how many material provisions they may have. Those things do not define you. No. You Are Stronger. Your abuser is the weaker one because he or she has chosen to neglect his own humanity, his productivity,(in order to pursue you) the very things that makes us human.

  7. Right there with you! Just upped the dose but trying to make a break for it. You should try too.

  8. Hope, I am so sorry for your pain and suffering. It is heart wrenching to hear your story. The whole race card thing does not help either. I am an aggressive white women who is frequently told that I am to blame for my husbands verbal abuse (that has turned increasingly physical) and that “I could probably beat him up.” They do not understand the fear and embarrassment that comes with not being able to handle another person because they are not playing by the rules. My son is also carefully watching this whole thing play out. Let me just say after twenty years of this, I am outta here in the next week after very careful planning and a lot of crying.

    You are a brave woman Hope, and should be very proud of yourself. Keep your chin up, be a strong as you can be, and get the hell out of there (safety) and don’t look back. You can do it and you deserve that!

  9. Hope,

    You have endured so much. I know there are challenges when trying to leave and start your life over, especially when you are an immigrant. The way he withheld you getting your residency is a common controlling tactic from someone who is abusive. I am glad that you were told about VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), which can help victims of abuse, who are married to a citizen, possibly petition for their own residency (an immigration lawyer can go over the qualifications with anyone interested in this).

    I’m sorry to hear that you were in shelters that were not helpful. Each shelter has different forms of funding, which can mean they offer the very basics (a bed and food) or have resources for counseling, support groups, employment help, and legal advocacy. We all hope that one day they will all be able to provide as much assistance as possible to help all victims regardless of ethnicity, gender, and culture.

    It sounds like you are still struggling to find a way to move forward. Please give The National Domestic Violence Hotline a call for guidance, support, safety planning, and referrals. Advocates are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.

    Thank you for sharing your story with our blog readers. It takes much courage to share your experience in a public forum. I wish you all the best.


  10. Dear Michelle,

    I am encouraged by your response, and by the response of the Hotline Admin.
    I am deeply touched by every experience I have read here. It’s really amazing how strong women are who are faced with these circumstances. I am happy to hear that you are getting out of there. I am so happy for you!!!!!!!!!!! When you are out please come back to the board and post a message about your safety.

    It took 20 years for your victory to surface but people don’t understand how hard we try. They just focus on the fact that it takes us a long time, but very few people actually care deeply enough to help us gain that victory. I am talking about those who should be protecting us, like the police and church communities. So we take the time, care, and planning to rescue ourselves. It doesn’t decrease the value of our victory, it makes it more meaningful. You have so much courage. You are not to blame for his decision to physically abuse you. If you were trying to control him, you would not be on the receiving end of his physical, verbal, or economic abuse. I wish you and your son the very best. I cherish your determination, and bravery. Please be safe.

  11. Hello, I am married and we have 4 kids. I am a stay home and have enjoy everyday of it. After 16 years I decided to go to a friends party that we both got invited but he refused to go with me so for the first time I decided to leave my kids with my parents who are living with us since february and went to the party in a party bus. That was last night, today he took the car keys, took the carseat and everything from the car and told me that he decided to sell it because we need the money. He has been yeeling at me in front of my kids and my parents saying that I am bad example and more things.
    We are having a really hard time with economy but this is no a coincidence. What should I do? He also told me that he will cancel our cellphone service pretty soon.
    Finally 1 hour ago he told that I should ask for forgiveness, and I am not going to do it.

  12. Renee, I’m sorry you didn’t get through when you tried to call. This could have been some technical glitch or high call volume, but I encourage you to try again. We are answering calls 24/7, so please give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 when you get a second chance.


  13. Lisette, this sounds like the start of something you do not want to go through. The advice i will give you is from my own experience: leave a paper trail! if you cannot get out of the house, kick him out of the house and report anything he does. see if you qualify for any temporary assistance while you try for a new start. while you are there ask about transportation assistance.

  14. I am in a very controlling marriage and he has total control over the finances I have no access and he uses them to control me. We have 4 kids and I have been a stay at home mother for years. I feel worthless from his belittling me and scared. He used to physically abuse me in the beginning of our relationship but hasn’t in years. I know I need to make a change. I am very depressed on anti-depressants now but now I’m starting to have panic attack and feel hopeless!

  15. Scared,

    It can feel hopeless when you are dealing with an abusive partner who is not only hurting you verbally, but also in control of the finances. There are domestic violence shelters where you and the children could go while you figured out your next steps. If you have any family, maybe you can ask for help through them. If it’s at all possible, socking away a bit of the grocery money and keeping it hidden where he won’t find it (at a friend’s house or even in a secret bank account) can be a starting point. Advocates at The Hotline can brainstorm creative ways to save money and how to make a change. You can call 24/7 to 1-800-799-7233 for help. Thank you for reaching out through our blog community.


  16. Hi Lisette,

    Thanks for reaching out. After 16 years, I can understand why this would be painful and confusing. Abusive people often want power and control in the relationship and one way that they do this is by restricting access to finances and transportation. It sounds like he perceived your attendance at the party as a sign that he was losing control, and so he decided to step it up. This is very common. In a healthy relationship, both partners would be able to go where they wish and have their choices respected.

    I would invite you to give us a call. Our number is 1(800)799.7233. We are here 24/7 and we would be happy to come up with a plan for your safety. We can also connect you to local resources such as counseling and support groups.

    Until then,
    Hotline Advocate MC

  17. I have been married for almost 15 years, we have 3 children and almost 5 years ago my husband started to be verbally abusive which I was totally unaware that was what was happening until I read an article just a few months ago on verbal abuse( I was totally unaware he showed warning signs when we were dating and even after we were first married). He first started pushing me away and ignoring me after our daughter was born. .He is very selfish and manipulative and somewhat controlling. He finds ways to pick at me and put me down for things he doesn’t agree with or stuff I haven’t done in the house to suit him or if things aren’t done on his time. He gets upset with me if I don’t go along with his ideas. He has succeeded in ruining several of my relationships with my closest friends. He gets jealous when I am friendly to other men that are neighbors or long time friends. He plans everything we do when we have free time with the kids, we don’t get much of say in the matter. He also keeps track of what I do with the kids, like going to ballgames or parties or just out to eat or with my parents. He seems to be jealous that I do things with them without him(we wouldn’t get to do anything because he works 3rd shift and sleeps some of the day and I’m not sitting at home doing nothing all day and a lot of stuff I do with the kids is free, we had free tickets to that ballgame and my parents usually pay if we go out with them) If I try to tell him how I feel or ask him what’s wrong he turns things around to make it look like I have the problem.

    I have spent the last few years thinking I was crazy and something was wrong with me. I have depression and have problems with my stomach because of all this. He never owns up to the hurt he has caused me. He demands that I have sex with him and he has pouted if I do not, he has also made me do sexual things I don’t want to, but felt that I had to do them to keep the peace. He also points out sexual movies or women that look sexy in hopes to get me to change my mind. It disgusts me as I am a Christian and do not like these types of movies or commercials or women. And he knows my feelings toward this.

    I have recently told my parents and two of my friends (that he helped isolate me from) and I’m seeing a counselor, but my depression gets worse with each episode he has. I don’t think he really truly loves me I feel like I’m just being used as someone he can manipulate and control.. I want to ask him to leave but don’t won’t to hurt our children, who are so sweet and good kids. He has begun to be really short with them if they don’t hurry up and get moving on his time or they are loud or act silly. He gets all over them. But rarely disciplines for things they really need to be called out on. Especially when they talk back to me, he usually blames it on me and says why are you arguing with the kids, you have been arguing with them since I got up, what are you going to do when they are teens? I’m usually trying to get them to do homework or brush teeth or pick up toys or go to bed when they are hassling me, he rarely tells them to listen to me or rarely helps me with these things. Then I get frustrated.

    I want to ask in the way of finances if this is an example of control or abuse too?….I’m a stay at home mom for over 5 years now, mainly due to health problems I had when I was pregnant with my daughter but It was always my dream to stay at home. He doesn’t exactly hold money from me or not allow me to spend it but he tries very hard to spend a lot of the money from his paycheck before I get to pay the bills, leaving us with not much money to pay them. If we run out of money for something he wants, like the food he claims he has to have or taking the kids out somewhere expensive or going to a restaurant with a cousin he will then use his credit card for those expenses, no matter the amount. I have to use the credit card to buy necessities for the kids like clothes or shoes or food sometimes because he has spent all our money. My parents help me out with things the kids need, but he doesn’t always know it because he will think he has to go buy something too. This week the kids really needed a haircut but he made sure he went out with his grandmother to eat at a very expensive restaurant, took one of my sons to laser tag and for ice cream and made sure he got a haircut and food at the gas station and his newspapers. All this was done without asking how much money we might have left after we paid bills. I guess he used his credit card because we only had a few dollars in the checking account. I’m not left with enough money for gas or milk and bread for the kids. I’m not spending a lot of excess money, but he is…is that considered a form of control too?
    We could have more money if he would just work with me and set a budget and be aware of what we have to spend and stop spending what we don’t have. I work very hard to shop sales and use coupons and have tried to make a stockpile of extra food, but he puts me down for all that and makes fun if I buy a store brand item. And he spends what I work so hard to save. I use to try to reason with him and point out what he was spending and that the bills were not getting paid, but he didn’t seem to care and would get upset with me and act like I was controlling him on the spending. I would tell him that setting a budget and properly handling money and us working together as a couple was reality not controlling him or punishing him, we can’t spend beyond our means. He hides his receipts so I won’t see them or tears them up and throws them out or he just plain lies to me. He also takes any chance he can to cut his hours at work or take vacation hours when they have extra workers. Which gives us way less money when it comes paycheck time. It all feels like it’s on purpose to me. He also has a small part time job and he now goes and puts it in the bank himself and spends that on what he wants at the grocery store and never asks what else we need in the house or considers that I might need gas or have another bill to pay. He brags about having 2 jobs but actually with the 2 jobs he still doesn’t work a complete 40 hours a week. He talks about saving for vacations all the time and where he wants to go. He got annoyed because I had to use some of the vacation money to cover a bill so we wouldn’t bounce a check(he had gone and spent the money behind my back on something). I had no choice, we had no other means of money for that week. Is this all financial control too?
    I have gotten to the point where I’m not wanting to talk to him unless I have to so I can avoid a conflict or sexual pressure or all the put downs he dishes out. I have moved out of the bedroom to keep from getting pressured mainly. I get nervous and sick to my stomach to even come home. I can’t even look him the eye. I’m a lot more relaxed away from home or when he is at work. I’m walking on eggshells when he is around. I’m not knowing what to do? I’m getting free counseling at a church but that will end in 3 weeks. I’m not sure if he would physically hurt me or the kids, but he has hit my bible when I was reading it so I would pay attention to him and has lightly punched me on the shoulders before and has stood over top of me when I have been sitting on the floor like he is trying to make me feel uncomfortable and intimidated. Is this how the physical abuse begins…subtle?

    He tells me that I’m sensitive when I get upset with how he is talking to me, he says he has to watch what he says around me. He just does that so he won’t have to talk about the real issues. I told him last weekend he needed help, but he hasn’t once said he would get counseling. He never said he loved me and or that he wanted to work things out. He just said “You must still care you haven’t kicked me out” I told him then I wanted to take the kids and leave or for him to leave. But he hasn’t left. He has tried to play Mr. Nice Guy after this last “talk” as he called it and acts as if nothing has happened. He claims I’m giving him the silent treatment, but I’m just tired of being hurt all the time. But I’m not buying the nice guy act anymore. He does this month after month, I’m just waiting for the next explosion.
    I just wondered about the financial control because it really didn’t fit into the financial control outlines I have read but it sure feels like control to me. Thanks!

  18. Jennifer, Thank you for sharing so much of what you’re going through with our blog community. You’ve been dealing with so much for so long, we appreciate your courage in sharing all that you and your children have gone through; it takes a lot of strength to open up about these painful things. You’ve described a lot of different types of abusive behaviors that you’re experiencing. A lot of emotional abuse and controlling behavior, but also sexual abuse, and physical abuse. Pressuring you to have sex is not okay, if you do not want to have sex, or do not want to do something specific, your partner should respect that. You should never feel like you have to do something, anything, including anything sexually to keep the peace. That isn’t fair to you, and I’m sorry you’ve been put in that situation. Abuse of any kind can often start off subtly, we know that abuse gets worse as time goes on, and I don’t think it is uncommon for abuse of any kind to start off subtle and increase as time goes on. The physical things you’ve described I would include in physical violence/abuse, like punching you in the shoulder, as you described. Even if this is “lightly” right now, it is not a healthy way to treat someone. I include physical intimidation – like standing over you while you’re sitting down – as physical abuse. It is not okay to make you feel scared, intimated, or fearful in any way. As well, financial abuse can come in many different forms like other types of abuse, and I think what you’re being put through financially is unfair, stressful, and deliberate.
    You’re going through so much, and it sounds like everything is very overwhelming. Our advocates are here to talk 24/7; if you’d ever like to give us a call and talk about what you’re going through, we are completely confidential and anonymous hotline. It can be unsafe to speak to us in front of your partner, or even while they are home, but give us a call when you are safe to talk, whenever that is, and we’ll be here.
    1-800-799-SAFE (7233)


  19. Dave,

    Thank you for sharing with our blog community. I can understand how that may be interpreted from the article, but I believe the following sentence captures the posts main point, “In a relationship where some form of abuse is present — whether physical or emotional — it is not uncommon that an abusive partner extends their power and control into the area of finances.”

    We know that a budget is not the only indicator to an abusive relationship but economic abuse is expericed by 80% of battered women. If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1800-799-7233.

  20. Ive been with my abuser over 20 years- we never were married, he controlle EVERYTHING and Im walking away with nothing. Not even a car. Stupid me, I did leave him a year ago. Moved back with my family. But after 6 months. I still couldn’t find affordable housing they bought me a one way ticket back to him! I tried each and everyday to get back my independence (I did manage to get on SSI and food stamps, but it wasn’t enough) I’ve been in bed since the day I was sent back. I’m too depressed. Im nauseas and sick to my stomach daily . Its either this or become a bag lady.

  21. Kat,

    Wow! That sounds like an extremely difficult situation. I’m so sorry to hear that your family is not supportive. It is very common for folks to become depressed when situations like these occur. But you sure don’t have to face this alone. I would encourage you to call us at 1(800)799.7233. We are here 24/7 and we are completely confidential. We can talk about your situation and get you connected to local resources that can help you get back on your feet.

    Until then,
    Hotline Advocate MC

  22. I am married to a person who I thought was my soulmate and will protect and caring. I didn’t realize until 7/26/13 he sent a courier to my work to serve me with divorce paper. I am hitting the rock bottom, financial destroyed and yet have to battle to get child custody. My husband always been the person who control our finance. I have a full time job and also going to nursing school. He set allowance for me and watching every single thing I bought and majority were for my kids (4&5 yr). If we go out to the restaurant, he always make me feel uncomfortable to order food and drink that I want to enjoy without being judge by him. Often If I looked at menu, first I look was the price because he done this almost 8 years. He didn’t allow me to get 401k through my work because he said we need the money. I worked overtime to make myself not feeling guilty if I know I want to get something or planning buy something next month. Now we are going through divorce and on temporary order he got the conservatory custody because judge said he making more money than I do. I feel like the sky just felt on top of me and buried me alive. I don’t understand the whole system. On court he said I worked too much but the fact when the paycheck was there he complained nothing. In my entire 8 years of married, the first time in my life I ever saw 1040 form. I never know how much tax return we got. By the way I am not U.S citizen and I don’t know much about the law here. I am so desperate to find help to get support and to get child custody on my children.

  23. Benirda,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences. It sounds like you’ve experienced a lot of financial abuse and a lot of controlling behavior when it comes to money. If you’d ever like to talk to one of our advocates about the issues with money, and other things that are going on, please give us a call. We are anonymous and confidential and you can call us at 1-800-799-7233.


  24. Well, I am one of the women going through abuse, and I have been making plans to leave. Been trying all I know how. I have a safe place to go, but I have to be able to support me and my girls plus the new one along the way, and I have to have a way of transportation which I have neither. I have talked to so many and still haven’t been able to get much help so I started a campaign in order of trying to get what I need.

  25. Mandi,

    Thank you so much for sharing with our blog community. It sounds like this has been such a difficult situation and you are taking so many big steps to get you and your children to safety. It takes so much strength and creativity to come up with a plan to leave but it is so important to. We know that the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you are trying to leave. It is often the time when the abuse escalates if your partner becomes aware of the steps you are taking.

    It sounds like it has been frustrating to find resources in your area. Know that The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1800-799-7233, is available 24/7 to help you find local resources as well as help you brainstorm ways to leave safely. Because physical and emotional safety is our priority we removed the link to your campaign because it links back to specific identifying information. Our community guidelines ask that the post remain non-identifying for your safety and we want our blog to be a safe place for all community members. If you have any questions or would like to speak to an advocate, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.


  26. Married 13 years to financial control freak. I worked full time until two years ago, laid off and not been able to find work. When I did work I put half my paycheck into his account, and the other half I could use as I saw fit. That worked. Now that I dont work, he wants to see receipts and questions me aboujt EVERYTHING spent, down to dollar items. When we go to the grocery store, I cannot buy anything that I want or need, only what he wants. I wanted a can of refried beans which were on sale for a dollar, and he said NO and wouldnt give me a reason. Everything is questioned. I have no allowance even, I have to ask him for every penny. We are not poor – I dont understand this at all and I feel controlled, sufficated and unloved.

  27. Hi Pat,
    Thank you so much for reaching out. It sounds like such a frustrating situation. Many abusers want to keep financial control in order to have all the power in the relationship. They often put their needs first and make you ask for money, even for the simplest things. It’s unfair that he treats you this way.

    Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) so that we can talk you about your options and help you create a plan to stay safe.

    Hotline Advocate VG

  28. My child support is only given to me by the week. (Judged okayed that)
    If I let him treat me badly I will get paid my cash. If I don’t he withholds my child support, takes me to court, and I end up losing more. Not only with my homes, my child support, but then I’m bullied and harassed by all of his law students. Last two visits I hide in my bedroom, until he is done. I’m very moody and sad. I feel inconfindent and ashamed. Losing my savings to his profession of law, and now I can’t even afford my goal. They’re draining me dry. Usually it ends (after his threats and then actually enjoying the feel of doing this to me).. by his “friends and collegues” of real estate laws that (have friends) telling me “I” need therapy. (Normally after they get THEIR wages paid. The last time his dad came for a visit, I hid in my room, so he couldn’t blame me when he starts acting mentally odd using our son to threaten me with. Visitation rights vs. his father/andpaternity rights.. He gave my son the money. I guess now he’s teaching my son that when he is good to him.. mommy will get money. I think it’s sick pathetic and sick from a man with his college degree and leadership. It’s left me feeling resentful and depressed. I put my child support in my son’s room (feels weird to accept it now).. and told my 11 year old he can use it to pay his guardian ad litem the 500.00 that his dad’s lawyer said we need to pay. It’s a real lousy situation. She was hired to represent my son (through my request.. I didn’t feel she did her job properly, so of course his lawyer hired her this time. (Yuck) that’s how His students work. His dad is very “special” and is Indeed treated exactly that way by not only the courts, but the community. It’s like living in a Nazi prison. I can’t even leave or enter without them telling him. :-/ I’m hoping to move soon. NEVER EVER DATE ANYONE NOT YOUR AGE. I hope you all are having a better day.

  29. Ms Misty September,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us. It sounds like you are going through an really terrible situation. We know that abusive people want to have power and control, even after the relationship has ended. Abusive people with connections and money can be even harder to handle because they just have more resources to hurt you. And its so unfair. You don’t deserve this. You haven’t done anything wrong, and even if you did, this would still not be ok. I want you to know that this is not your fault. You are not alone. And it sounds like you are doing the very best you can to stay safe. There is no right or wrong way to respond to abuse. You do what you need to stay safe. In situations like this it is super important that you focus on self-care and getting connected to a supportive community. Dealing with this by yourself is going to be really hard. Are there people in your life that you can lean on for support? Are there activities and hobbies that you really enjoy doing that can help ease some of the stress?

    I would encourage you to give us a call at 1 (800) 799-7233. We are here 24/7 and we are confidential/anonymous. We can talk about your situation, develop a plan for your safety and get you connected to resources that can help, like support groups and counseling. If nothing else, you can call us just to talk. We are here to support you in anyway that we can.

    Until then,
    Hotline Advocate MC

  30. So I am experiencing all of the above physical mental and economical abuse.my husband is on drugs.I started my job about a few weeks ago and he had taken every dime.I never get to do anything for myself.he’s put his hands on me and he makes me feel bad for going to work everyday.we share a truck (which is in his name) so I really don’t know whether I can depend on him or not.I’m scared I’m going to lose my job.I always feel so terrible about myself.I don’t even feel like myself anymore.I have 3 kids and I know they are scared too.I’m scared that they will get taken away from me because of him.he’s mean to all of us.I have no family to go to either

  31. Hi Heather,

    We’re so glad that you’ve reached out to our online community. It takes a lot of courage to talk about what you’re going through. It sounds like you identified a lot with our post on economic abuse. It can be really hard to be constantly afraid of losing your job, especially when you have children that you’re providing for. You and your kids deserve the safety that comes with stability, and no one has the right to take that away from you.

    We talk to a lot of people dealing with financial abuse in their intimate relationships, and understand how challenging it can be, particularly when you’re trying to figure out how to leave. We’re here if you’d like a safe place to talk about what’s going on, or find out about resources that may be available to help. We keep all of our calls anonymous and confidential and you can reach our advocates 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.

    We’re here when you need us.

    Hotline Advocate AS

  32. hi, i just got married couple weeks ago. And recently he brought up 3 things that he wanted me to do right away; otherwise, he’d like to file a divorce.
    1. move to CT with him as soon as possible
    2.give all my salary to him to manage and cannot have a personal bank account
    3. stop supporting my parents (cannot give money to my family, no matter how much)
    i feel i have been threatened verbally and emotionally, because he keeps calling and pushing me to make decision as soon as possible. He also asks me to move to CT and live with him, i’m scared because i worry that i maybe threatened or abused physically in the future.
    please help me – is this abuse ?

  33. Kelly,

    Thank you so much for sharing with our blog community. Sometimes abuse can happen so subtly, it can be difficult to recognize all the signs. Healthy relationships require mutual consent for decisions that affect either person in the relationship. It sounds like this ultimatum is forcing you to release the right you have to consent. We know that abuse is something that happens because one person believes they deserve all the power and control over the other, and uses a lot of different strategies to gain that control. I am concerned for your safety because it sounds like some of those decisions may isolate you from your family as well as limit your access to resources. Those are two common strategies that abusers will use to maintain control.

    I encourage you to give us, The National Domestic Violence Hotline a call at 1800-799-7233. Advocates are available 24/7 to offer guidance and support, and your call is completely anonymous and confidential.

  34. Hope, I am so moved by your story, as well as by your beautiful spirit and talent for telling your story. I am in a violent marriage myself. My story sharrs some similarity in that we are noth abused. However, I can’t imagine what you’ve done been put through. PLEASE contact me. I’m also in NY. I would love to talk with you. And I’d be honored to be your friend. I know your comment was made a year ago. I hope you see this. I hope things are better for you now, but please contact me either way. Wishing you PEACE &Cooper LOVE &the JOY. XO

  35. I dont work much out of the home..but in order for my husband to give me money i have to have sex with him. this money that is needed is for clothes,deodorant, personal products ,even stuff for the home like soap,paper towels etc. He always checks the receipts, he checks my phone,im not allowed to visit family he even tries to restrict my oldest daughter from visiting me . even takes keys away and leaves car with no gas nor money…..is this abuse ?

  36. Hello Someone Who Cares,

    We’re so glad that you’re part of our online community. Connection with others who’ve had similar experiences can be very powerful and encouraging.

    As per our community guidelines, for all members’ safety, we ask that no one post identifying information including email addresses. Remember that our blog and social media channels are accessible by the general public and anything you post can be seen by all visitors. You can view all of our guidelines here.

    We appreciate your help in keeping our space safe for everyone. If you’d like to talk to a Hotline Advocate directly, you can call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233, or chat us online every day 9am-2am CST. All conversations are confidential and anonymous.

    Take care,

    Hotline Advocate AS

  37. Hi Nichole,

    We’re so glad that you’ve found our online community. It sounds like you’re probably feeling isolated and trapped because of the choices that your husband is making. He doesn’t have the right to control who you see, where you go, or who you talk to. You have the right to make the choices in your life for yourself. He also doesn’t have the right to demand sex from you; again, you have the right to decide if and with whom you want to have sex. From what you’ve described, you could be experiencing several different types of abuse: financial, sexual, emotional. If you’d like to check out the resources we have online, our website here might be a good resource.

    If you would like to talk about what you’re experiencing, your safety, and next steps, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 to speak with a Hotline advocate. You can reach us 24/7. You can also chat us online every day 9am-2am CST. All conversations are anonymous and confidential.

    We’re here when you need us.

    Hotline Advocate AS

  38. I have been a SAHM for 18 years…and for all of it, I have been controlled. I am an intelligent person, it’s stupid of me to have allowed this…18 years in the toilet. Don’t do as I’ve done. Leave.

    I never had access to any of the CCs, debit cards, bank accounts, his name is on everything including the house we share. There was ALWAYS an excuse why I wasn’t listed on anything & it was always somehow my fault or I was a “golddigger” for asking for even basic needs. Give me a break. My car broke down 4 years ago…it was never replaced…then the cell phone bill wasn’t paid. I was told if I went & got a job, I would be thrown out & that he would tell everyone how horrible I am… Ridiculous, I know but my children were young then… After years of nothing but daily stress and anxiety, I had a massive heart attack at 40 with NO phone to call for help. I have ZERO conditions that would bring on a heart attack at my age…only him. Even still, I remained & today was the last straw. Today, for the 2nd year in a row, he had some excuse why he couldn’t buy my life sustaining heart meds. I’m done. My last kids are off to college next fall & I don’t care if I live in a cardboard box, I’m out. Seriously, don’t ruin your life like I did…I am not going to survive my heart disease. This life has literally destroyed me from the inside out. Please, I beg of you, for your children & yourself…find a way out. You deserve better than this…I don’t have the chance to look forward to better days but you do…Love to all of you.

  39. Hi Leslie,

    We are so glad that you’re part of our online community. It sounds like the emotional, verbal, and financial abuse you’ve survived for so long has had you feeling trapped and terrified. Anyone who experienced what you did would have felt the same way. None of this abuse is your fault and you never deserved to be treated like this. This abuse was done to you by someone you trusted and cared about; someone who took advantage of your trust and love. Abuse can happen to the most intelligent person. It doesn’t have any boundary – not income, sex, gender, race, age, religion, or intelligence. You aren’t stupid for being abused; you’re in a relationship with someone who chose to be abusive to you. This wasn’t your choice.

    It must be so scary to have your health disregarded by your partner, when he refuses to buy your medication. You deserve to be safe, physically, emotionally, mentally. You deserve to be treated better than how your partner has chosen to treat you. We understand that leaving can be a scary and dangerous time. Please know that you can always reach us to talk about the situation. We’re available 24/7 by phone at 1-800-799-7233, and by online chat every day, from 7am – 2am CST.

    We’re here when you need us.

    Hotline Advocate AS

  40. Its the opposite for me. I married my wife 3 years ago and i wish she told me about the 40 thousand dollars in credit card debt. She knew I had 8 thousand in credit cards going in but she never let me in on how much she really had. Thats how I have been sucked into this hell abuse week after week like a cancer or prison sentence for an innocent man. I work full time and so does she. Shes almost a nurse in 2 more semesters of night school. I didnt know she was making a minimum of 1400 a month on credit card payments. So i had to get 2 other part time jobs besides my m-f 40 hour job and i work an extra 3 shifts friday, saturday, and sunday. She has 2 kids im we are supporting with no child support from her deadbeat ex. One of our children is mentally challenged with an IQ of 30. He’s going to be a six year old mindset for life. The financial abuse came when we decided to do a debt consolidation and they made us close all our accounts and have all the paychecks in one account. Well big mistake for me because i have to beg for gas. I get 20 lousy bucks which she knows is not enough for working 7 days a week then during the middle of the week i have to beg again for another $20. Its got so bad that I have insurance and dental and cant even go to the dentist my once perfect teeth took a downward spiral becuase she buys the worst tooth paste and brushes and wont give me money for the co-pay. I had to take a fourth job working with my dad to pay for my contacts, contact solution, shaving products, coffee (she feels i dont need any stimulants to work seven days) and my own gas in the car for the week. Shes got her family and friends convinced that im a selfish prick who is saving for a luxury mid life crisis car when they ask why im working like a dog. Its got to the point that I just work, I slowly deteriorate and my stepkids dont appreciate that im paying the bills and laugh like im a crazy person. Im tired. Im exhausted. I cannot go on. Just this week she asked me If i had anything to confess and i said what are you talking about and she said you put $20 gas on our credit union debit card and I argued all night with her until she realized she did it and the gas station for some reason used a different address for the bank statement. After this stupid credit debt relief program is over in 2016 im going to take back all my 3 paychecks and pay the bills and tell her shes not going to treat me like im dumb and I wont have to ask for permission to go out to lunch with my professional friends with her telling me i have $10 to spend. How pathetic I am. How pathetic I sound.

  41. Hi Tom,

    Your story isn’t pathetic, and neither are you. It sounds like your wife hasn’t been honest with anyone about the debt that she accrued, and that must have been really hard to find out about after you got married, especially with two kids involved. It sounds like all the hours you’re working are exhausting and overwhelming you, and that it’s incredibly frustrating to not have full access to your income. Coming home to someone who continues to be controlling and belittling about the finances must hurt. I understand being angry about how your wife is choosing to treat you. You deserve to be treated with respect and that’s not happening.

    You have the right to decide whether you stay in this relationship. If you decide to stay, it sounds like you and your wife will need to figure out how to handle the family finances. This can be a difficult conversation for any couple, even though it is a necessary one. While this may look different for each couple, a healthy relationship is one based on trust, respect, and consent, and this includes the finances. Neither partner has the right to take choices away from the other.

    If you’d like to talk more about healthy relationships, or what your options are, please feel free to give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 and speak anonymously and confidentially to one of our advocates.

    Take care,

    Hotline Advocate AS

  42. So sorry you are going through this too, Tom. Can you take control of the bills now? I mean you are being so generous just paying for her 2 kids not to mention all the debt she didnt tell you about…

  43. desperately trying to save my home and am in bankruptcy. Was left with all the bills and no car. The house was mine but not a cent went on principle the whole marriage or my cards or into my broken truck. I have been sick with combined sub acute neuropathy (brain and spine) I fought to keep my house, family promised to help and then just quit before I even was legally separated. I told them I was really sick and my Mom and brother refused to listen. I would have stayed to plan a “escape” not something I would typically do since that would be manipulative even in an abusive situation but I didn’t want to lose my home and have my credit ruined and now I am going through both. Its horrible. I spent most of the marriage keeping my ex and his ill mother alive and my health was always put off. I have never been this low ever. Need someone to live in my house like yesterday and move to my barn and drag my self not fully recovered to a new job quick. Why does everyone have to lose where they live? He canceled the resolution meetings and had to be dragged to court and by the time we got there I got a attorney bill larger than my support total. And I didn’t even get a smidgeon of what was supposed to even be discussed. But I got all of the bills with the Judge and the attorney saying well he has no money? But he has a ton more than me,. It was an act. I helped him get rid of his debt during the marriage and short sell his leveraged depreciated house and I got left far worse off than I started. I don’t even know how to go on. My “family” just demanded I do what they ordered me to do like I was with him. I think I know how I fell into his trap. I was convinced the treatment was “love” Not actions but words,. No really they love you. They just don’t know how to show it.

  44. Hi Leanna,

    That’s such an unfair and stressful situation. Divorces can be difficult under most circumstances, but we know abusers make it so much harder. Abusers will often drag their feet in court and refuse to disclose important information, like their income. Attorneys can be so expensive and not all of them understand domestic violence, so they may not understand the tactics your abuser uses. I’m so sorry that your family has not been as supportive or helpful as they promised. Sometimes, family members mean well but do the wrong thing. Sometimes, families have their own issues with power and control. Regardless of the reason, you deserve to be supported and have your wishes respected. You have been through so much and you deserve to have some peace and happiness. Remember, love is an action not just a word. Many abusers may say they love you and their actions can show something completely different. If you would like to talk to an advocate about your situation, we’re 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. We’re completely confidential and anonymous.

    Take care,

    Hotline Advocate VG

  45. I’m freaking out because my husband finally told me he took out 40% of our savings for a new house to spend on other things. All this money in our savings account was from our wedding gifts of money, (we married 3 months ago,) that we agreed wouldn’t be touched, and would be saved for a new house. We agreed since we started dating that he would be in charge of our finances. We have a more traditional arrangement where he is the provider and I am the homemaker, which we both value. He’s been in a career slump, job-hopping, often no income at all, and said he needed this money for things like groceries, gas, and business cards. He also spent some of it on Christmas, and things like eating out together, having drinks together, and buying a game for us to play. So, according to him, he didn’t need my permission because he spent it on “us” and he’s in charge of the finances, nevermind that we agreed this money wouldn’t be touched. This makes me feel heartbroken and betrayed.

    We live in a condo my parents own. My parents got it for me when I was in college, 10 years ago. They never made me pay rent or utilities, even after college, and they even paid for all my other bills, but any roommate or boyfriend living with me had to pay. My now-husband moved in with me about a year before we married. He’s supposed to pay them monthly for rent, utilities, internet bill, which they gave him a great deal on, couldn’t get a better deal anywhere! He paid them at first but then he got laid off and job-hopped and got so behind, that he hasn’t paid them in over a year. They keep letting it slide, they’re so loving and generous, and just want us to get on our feet. This has made me feel so guilty. I keep saying to my husband that I should go to work because we’re too behind, and he keeps saying no, and it will get better soon. I try to help my parents in other ways, because I know we owe them so much. They even paid for our wedding, and gave us additional money on top as a wedding gift, and all the while knowing we have all this money from wedding gifts, they never asked for our back-rent to be paid and instead suggested to us that we save it for a house, which is exactly what I Thought we were doing until yesterday. My husband doesn’t try his best to make an income, which he says is due to being in this slump and being depressed, which I understand. But when he does make any money, he pays everyone else he owes instead of giving any to my parents, and also spends some money on things that aren’t a necessity, making me feel like he’s insulting my family and taking advantage of them. If he didn’t have me in his life right now, he would be homeless. But I doubt he would be homeless, I bet he would do whatever it takes to earn an income to provide for himself. But since my parents are allowing him to live here for free, he’s not forced to try hard enough to support himself, or me.

    What should I do? Whenever we end up talking about any of this, he gets so angry, probably due to feeling ashamed, guilty, and like a failure. Even just asking him how much money he made this month from his new job made him blow up at me. He tells me I’m not a nice person for bringing it up, that I’m “kicking him while he’s down”, starts yelling, calling me names, telling me he doesn’t want me “spewing lies” to my friends and family about all this, (I haven’t even talked to anyone I know about this, but he’s nervous I will), slamming the door and saying he’s not coming back, then comes back 5 minutes later. I’m at a loss. I’m so upset he spent our wedding money the way he did, it makes me want to puke.

  46. Hi Gigi,

    Wow this sounds like such a stressful situation. It is very typical that some abusers are unemployed or underemployed. Then they blame the lack of a job for their depression. This becomes a vicious cycle and the woman is left trying to figure out how to survive. I can imagine you feel heartbroken and betrayed by his actions. You both agreed on specific uses of your finances and he lied and broke that agreement. It is so tragic how many women end up financially bankrupt due to their abusers actions. It does sound like he is totally taking advantage of your family and I am sorry that he is so inconsiderate.

    Please call us so that we discuss this situation in more detail. It sounds like you may also want to contact your local domestic violence agency and participate in their therapy sessions and/or their support groups. This may help you figure how what to do and what options you have. The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-7233. Please don’t wait til he has spent every cent in your account.

    Hotline Advocate MT

  47. Hello. I have a question. I’ll try to be brief. Me: —. mother of two daughters, 12 & 3yrs. Husband —. and we’re married 14 years. Prior physical abuse that stopped after intervention and now verbal and financial abuse. I homeschool and last worked as a dance teacher in 2010, recently disabled with rare, lifelong disease that makes it impossible to keep a regular job. As a SAHM now, I am still fighting for disability. I am only able to donate food and medical care for my family. This tax season, my working husband has decided to file jointly with me, claim our children for the E.I.C. like last year and take the whole $4,000 for himself, putting it into one of the many bank accounts, debit and credit cards that I am allowed no access to. I must beg for necessary items and wait to see if I have been “good” enough for him to buy them for me on his own time. No car, no money, no friends or family. I also just found out I am 3 months pregnant. I am desperate to change my situation for my children but this cannot be done without money. I live in S.C. where there is only ONE shelter and they will not accept my children and myself because we do not fit requirements. My specific question, is whether or not I will be able to somehow force a way for me to receive SOMETHING from the income tax money, seeing as how the return would not be as high without him filing with me and claiming our children. Can I somehow force the tax preparers to put the money on separate debit cards or something? I have no bank account, debit card, nothing. This is my only chance and my disability requires specific details when planing an escape. Is there ANYTHING I can do without making my situation worse for my children by involving police and child services? Thank you in advance.

  48. You will never be alone as we are here 24/7 to support you and find you additional resources to meet your needs on your journey.

    Please give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. Your situation sounds dire and our advocates would be happy to provide you with some valuable resources and possible strategic solutions.

  49. Gone thru yrs of horrific emo/verb abuse, instances of mild physical abuse, now that he knows I was going to move out he’s mr nice normal guy etc., except now he’s keeping most accts. Secret and in his name only..even though he seems truly repentant and sincere acting..I dont trust the financial situation and don’t feel I can live next 20 yrs with someone whos been so horrifically cruel, controlling and abusive the last 20 yrs..now that ive dug out of the hole I was in..im afraid if I dont leave, I’ll be pushed back down in the hole and may spend the rest of my life regretting, I regret I wasnt able to leave when my children were young as I couldnt find a job, now I have a secure job and have the means to leave..

  50. Lee,

    Thank you for reaching out to us. That sounds like a really upsetting situation! You deserve to be treated with respect and to feel safe in your relationships. You have every right to leave if you want to do so. Preparing to leave an abusive relationship can be very difficult. Our advocates are always available to help you make a safety plan for leaving and can explore different options with you. I encourage you to reach out to us directly and speak one-on-one with an advocate. Please call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat online at http://www.thehotline.org from 7am-2am (CST) every day.

    Take care,
    Hotline Advocate RG

  51. HI Gigi- Sadly, love, it’s only YOU that values the “staying home” part…He is NOT a provider. At all. ( Ignore his controlling “it will get better” & get that job to help pay them back & find some independence from this guy. I agree with you… I would be ill staying home knowing he’s not going to work & continues to leech from my parents who have provided everything.) He wants to be lazy & steal from your family. I know you didn’t graduate from college to deal with this type of arrangement. I’m sure your parents didn’t provide a college education for you to end up with a controlling “man”. The audacity of him stealing & not paying back your parents is disgusting. I would be horrified. I couldn’t live with that & neither should you. You and your parents deserve better than a lazy, thief destroying everything your family worked for…outright lying & stealing from your poor parents that have gone above & beyond for both of you. He is using both of you.

    He “leaves” then comes back 5 mins. later because he knows no one else would put up with his sitting around doing nothing & taking from the bank account secretly. His accusation of you “spewing lies” is his defense mechanism because he knows he will be found out & exposed…and he 100% should be. Today.

    Go to your parents & tell them. It’s so unfair to you & them that he is doing this…his behavior is outrageous.

    I say this with love: DO NOT make any more excuses for him. Depressed, anxious, feels like a failure is on HIM. Think about it…did he care while at the bank withdrawing that money how depressed & anxious you’d be? How about how his never having a real, consistent job would affect you & the stealing would affect your future? Did he care while lying to you & then spending your parents money? And YOU’RE the one kicking him while HE’S down? No. Outrageous.

    Do you want to being children into this? Do you want your children to be just like him & think this is ok? Please, I beg of you, you are being abused & taken advantage of…I’m of the mind-set that I can handle most things but if you stoop to the low of taking from my family? Hell no. Please end this misery today. Call your parents or call the number or even better…both. You deserve better than a life full of unhappiness & it will be 100%. I’ve been where you are…except I wasted my whole life living with someone like your husband. I cant get those years back but you can. Much love to you.

    Let us know how you are doing.

  52. Hello, LLC:

    Thank you so much for sharing your concerns with Gigi. I hear that you are concerned about her safety and wellbeing. Ultimately, it is up to Gigi to decide what is best for her, because everyone’s circumstances are unique. There are many reasons why people remain in a abusive relationships. I encourage you to take a look at this related blog post on 50 Obstacles to Leaving: 11-20: https://www.thehotline.org/2013/06/50-obstacles-to-leaving-11-20/. When it comes to domestic violence, figuring out next steps is a very personal decision. Decision-making in domestic violence situations is highly challenging and complicated. It is important that we respect that it is up to Gigi to determine what her next steps will be.

    I invite you to call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat online from 7am-2am every day, if you would like to chat more about ways to support a friend experiencing domestic violence.

    All the best,

    Hotline Advocate ND

  53. Hi,glad I found the site sounds like my situation, been married 24 yes and was a stay at home mom ,love being with my kids and it was going fine. Then one day I was informed I need to get a job because we were losing every thing, he got behind on bills and the trucking company we owned was going uder and he couldn’t pay all the credit cards! So we go to file for bankrupey get to layers office and we owe more money then he told me( ant that something) and we cant file eitherSo I did get a job and he took all of paychecks and wouldn’t give me no money for things like choths for kids . So then I got better job making a little more and then one day I got hurt at work and then they fired me .So now I was left like this and didn’t have no insurance to get medical help so I was left stayed in bed and cryed in pain and would though up and got down to 88 pounds in bad shape, he would not take me to doctors we didn’t have the money, and didnt do anything to help me out around house or pay me no hugs or confort of any kind it took 2yrs to hug me and tell me it was going to be ok,and when i asked how come it took so long to do that he said he didnt know if it was going to be ok ,so one day I took my daughter to his sisters kids party hadn’t seen his mother in 8 months but she called and got on him for it! The next day he took me to a docter that did spinal decompression and at the end of first session he wonted to know when I could go back to work?I was stunned at this just couldn’t belive it! So I did this,it was a 2 hour drive to get there and he couldn’t take me, I had to drive it, that was hard to do in my shape at that time. Well this didn’t work!!so then I’m back in worse shape then before! Well still didn’t have insurance then the Obama care came in affect so he was force to get insurance . so I get to see a doctor and then a specialist.. So now I have neck spiral surgery and they fixed that. A couple of days before i had surgery, he says to me that he was going to go back to work after i come out, l was stunned, we drove 2hours to get there,and he wonted to drive 2 hours back to work and drive back ,he said we needed the money, it would cost more in gas to do that then to miss time?,So after this I find out he quit paying my insurance when the doctors office calls and tells me they won’t set my next surger up till its payed So I guess he thought we were done! So now I’ve had lower back surgery and they cut some of my hip bones off and put rods in and scewed my spine to pelvic bones. Now then love got to go back and now he hasn’t paid my insurance again, I’m in a tough spot now I’ve got to have another surgery!! When I get well again I think I should run!!!!

  54. Hi Tambre,

    It sounds like you have been through so much in your relationship, and you definitely do not deserve to be controlled like that. You should be able to make your own financial and health decisions about your body. What you’ve been through is awful, and you don’t deserve this. Your situation sounds very serious and complex and may be best served by talking with you directly. You can reach us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233, or 7am-2am CST online through our chat service at http://www.thehotline.org. We would be happy to talk with you and connect you with any resources you may need.


    Hotline Advocate CC

  55. Janice you need to get away from him go to the authorities see if there’s a women’s shelter. If you can go to a neighbor’s house anything but if it’s that bad you need to get out. I was in a situation where i literally threw a guy with his clothing and him out of my house. I knowi was lucky he moved in with me so i was able to throw him out the police were useless and i had to figure out how to get rid of him. But if you can ask the authorities for information if not outright help the sooner you do the better off you’ll be. God bless and protect you.

  56. Hope, I must say that the grace of the Lord is sufficient to see you through all these. You are not alone in this battle. I am impressed that even with what you have been through, you still have the burning desire to survive, you will definitely survive because of your belief. May my Lord Jesus wipe your tears and make a way for you where there seems to be no way.

  57. Geeze, I thought I had it bad. I get yelled it real bad to where the neighbors can hear it. He only gives me a small about a money & I only buy used clothes on ebay which are hit or miss. He also stays on his cell phone looking at facebook pictures all the time and never talks to me. It’s weird that he looks at pictures of other people having a life and doesn’t have a life of his own. We never go out unless it’s something free so thank God the communities around here have free concerts or I’d be at home most of the year. I drive an embarrassing car that needs paint when he takes a plane to go golfing with his friends and spends weeks fishing. He still acts like he is single when we have been married for yeasr and I’m really just someone to yell at if he is having a bad day. If someone is thinking about getting married make sure that person doesn’t have a mean streak and watch other people responds to him. Like my preacher didn’t think it was a good idea that we get married because of his responses but I talked him into it. It’s been up and down, the more alcohol the worse it gets. He had a controlling mother so he may dislike women because of that. He married late in life…wonder why. You spend of lot of time wondering what you are going to do and how did this happen. I never thought in my old age I’d be wishing I could start over.

  58. Hope, I feel you. I’m not going to get into my situation right now. I wanted to tell you that I knew a woman from Jamaica who found herself in a similar situation only she had some young children. She also had obtained her green card I believe but not certain. She accused her husband of bathing the children inappropriately and it went to court. He was white and she was black but he had an unusual appearance with dread locks and such which worked in her favor. He ended up going to prison for a year (taking a deal because he said he didn’t want to put the kids through the stress of being on the stand answering questions of this nature) whatever the truth is I don’t know, but I know that she was able to save the money, pack up her three kids and move across the country alone with no family or friends helping. She was an immigrant with no education and had three kids. She found her way away from him but he had to be confined. She was able to get a job, a home and raised those three kids who all graduated HS! She did it alone! I hope this story brings you inspiration, Hope!

  59. I have worked my entire adult life (and some before) and my wife has controlled the finances. It seemed like a good idea since she had the time and she even held a job at a bank for a year. She has not worked for about half of our marriage. She doesn’t seem to realize that here drama won’t be tolerated for long at a job, she plays victim at work, at home, everywhere she goes. Accuses co-workers and employers of all kinds of things. All that said she still controls finances and blames me for all debt. She won’t pay one particular bill and will not allow me access to the finances deposited from my check (our only income) to pay that bill. I get an allowance.

    You can come up with all reasons to hate me. She will not allow me to buy cigarettes with household money but she spends big $ on all kinds of supliments. She must take 30 a day because each one apparently is the solution to any potential ailment. She learned this from her mom.

    I have to scrap and borrow to pay this bill each month. She demands access to my work expense account. Not to use it but to monitor it daily. She harasses our adult kids over their finances.

    She doesn’t pay debt down, she pays minimum payments, occasionally rounded up but with no plan to attack the debt. She’ll try to use this as an argument. She keeps us in debt so she has a means of power. While I believe in giving to the church, she will overdo it and uses that as her platform as to why we are not getting rid of debt.

    She too gets an allowance (same amount) but not for daily personal expenses. She is currently not working but drives a Lexus. She’s never earned much when she did work. She spends way too much on gifts. It’s as if her goal is to run out of money just as the next paycheck is due to be deposited. She demands all passwords to my work email and computer (owned by the company I work for).

    She refuses to listen to any debt reduction plan I have offered such as pausing church giving or snowballing.
    She’s a bully but essentially claims she’s a Christian. She will not tolerate anyone out-Christianning her. If someone prays out loud in a group, she will out pray them by two or three fold. Her stories are always better than anyone’s and when it comes to telling of woes, she has it far worse.

    Sick and tired of it but she is vindictive to anything we can’t agree on. She will bury us financially in a divorce out of spite. She knows she can con the next guy with here beauty. She’ll trap some sucker with her beauty and how she has suffered. I feel sorry for the next guy.

  60. I have been a relationship for 2 years now and am engaged well supposed to be anyway. My fiance is the primary financial provider in our home, well a week ago he told me that I am now officially cut off because tax season is around the corner and I should be able to make it. He wants to stay together but wants me to pay own way, keep in mind I gave up my apartment and moved to a different town to live with him. So now I’m in a different town, away from family, I have no friends, a small home based business that barely breaks even each month and I’m broke with kids and a stack of bills. I feel absolutely helpless and hopeless.

  61. Hi Marty!
    It sounds like you’re needing support and want to talk about relationship concerns. We’re not able to provide crisis support via blog comments, but our advocates are available to help 24/7. If you’d like to reach out about your concerns, you can give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 or online chat with us by clicking Chat Now at thehotline.org.

  62. My husband has removed me from our joint checking account and opened up his own. He will not add me to the new account and won’t give me access to the bank statements. He has put me on a $40.00 weekly allowance. He also has a P.O Box that he also will not give me a key to or access having all his mail even mail addressed to me. He denis this is financial abuse.

Comments are closed.

caret-downemailfacebookgoogleplusLove is Respect Heart Iconlinkedinmagnifying-glasspdfpinterestreddittumblrtwitter
Click to go back to top of page.