Posted in relationship, Relationships

Domestic Violence: How aware are we? PT 2: Financial/Economic Abuse

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Financial or Economic Abuse is probably one of the most undercover types of abuse.  It can come in many forms and also spans socioeconomic lines.  The term, “Financial (Economic) Abuse” may be new to some of you, so before we begin lets get familiar with what it means.

What is Financial/Economic Abuse?

Financial/Economic Abuse is a form of abuse where the finances are used to control, manipulate and/or oppress another person.  It can come in many forms:

  1. Withholding or control all access to the finances, purchases and budgeting.
  2. Expecting sex in return for access to the finances or for access to meet basic needs.
  3. Using the partner’s financial information for personal gain (taking out loans without permission).
  4. Deliberately not paying the bills to ruin credit standing.

Financial/Economic Abuse is far more widespread that we think.  It is also quite common with the elderly population and their caregiver (family member included).

Why Not Just Leave?

Financial/Economic Abuse  is a key factor in the answer to this question because Financial/Economic Abuse is often accompanied by Physical/Emotional/Psychological Abuse.  Being able to support oneself, and their children (if they have any) is a very crucial component to survival. Perhaps, there is property or inheritance involved.  Often times, disability or terminal illness may be a factor – inability to efficiently be cared for is a vulnerability that can facilitate oppression and abuse.  The abuser will wield these vulnerabilities as a weapon.

Taking Advantage

Just because it is your spouse (significant other), or your child, or parent, does not give them the right to withhold your finances, use your name to obtain a loan or some other goods/properties, or demand that you should provide them with something in return.  Using threats like: ” it’s your name on the mortgage or lease, so maybe I’ll just stop paying it.”  – IS NOT OKAY.

Other forms of Financial/Economic Abuse is when the abuser has total financial control and everything is in their name which could result in having nothing should the relationship end.  This can be a very scary reality if someone is in a city where they do not have a support system of their own: no friends, family, job, home,  car or money.

Some Financial/Economic Abuse dynamics may involve sex coercion in exchange for basic needs to be met like food, clothing, etc.  This type of abuse can occur within any socioeconomic class.  There is a level of shame associated with it and therefore, many people suffer in silence as a result.

The National Coalition of Domestic Violence

Below is an excerpt of the Quick Guide: Economic and Financial Abuse by NCDV

Employment-related abuse prevents the victim from earning money by:

  • Preventing victim from going to work
  • Sabotaging a victim’s employment
  • Interfering with a victim’s work performance through harassing activities such as frequent phone calls or unannounced visits
  • Demanding that the victim quits her/his job
  • Preventing the victim from looking for jobs or attending job interviews

Prevent Victims from Accessing Existing Funds

Abusers also prevent victims from accessing existing funds by:

  • Deciding when/how victim can use cash, bank accounts, or credit/debit cards
  • Forcing victim to give abuser money, ATM cards, or credit cards
  • Demanding that the lease/mortgage or assets be in the abuser’s name
  • Using victim’s checkbook, ATM card, or credit/debit cards without the victim’s knowledge
  • Preventing victim’s access to bank account(s)

Resources

If you would like to learn more about Financial/Economic Abuse or if you believe you or someone you know may need help, please visit the websites listed below.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

InCharge Debt Solutions

How to Identify Financial Abuse in a Relationship

Understanding Financial Abuse and Safety Planning

Elder Financial Exploitation

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Posted in Dating, Love, Perceptions, relationship, Relationships, Social, thoughts

My Checklist Idiocy

We all walk around stuck in our own heads with an idea of how things should be and how people should behave.  When it comes to relationships, we all have our personal check list of requirements.  We all generally, or img_7739usually, want the same things… Our standards are set and we have a very good idea of who we are willing to invest in, BUT, how many of us meet our very own standards?

My cousin hit me with a haymaker of thought provocation as I scrambled to honestly answer this simple question:

Would you be in a serious relationship with yourself?

It didn’t take long for the epiphany that I have severe relationship myopia.  After clarifying my specific needs and wants in a relationship and comparing what it is that I am willing to give, it was painfully clear that I was in great deficit in img_7740comparison. When it came to my list of expectations, it was much like a laundry list; where as, what I am willing to bring to the table could fit on a Post-It.

So, what is wrong with this picture?  Plenty.  Everyone wants their suitor to be ____, ______, ________ & ______.  However, no one wants to be ____, ______, ________ & ______.   This begs the question:  how does one expect to obtain and maintain a healthy and successful relationship with such acute myopia?

Be the change you want to see in your relationship.

At this juncture, it is imperative to do a little introspection and do an idiot check on myself.  Next to each line item of expectation, I note whether I do or am capable of meeting that expectation myself.  It’s quite an interesting self assessment and I am learning a lot about what I need to work on as an individual to become better and stronger in all my relationships.  This process may not be fun or pretty, but it proves to be valuable.

Even if you are currently in a relationship, if things are going a bit left and you’re not getting on as much, perhaps doing a quick Idiot Checklist is not a bad idea.  You may learn a thing or two.