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, Life, Relationships

Confrontation

confrontation

[ kon-fruh n-tey-shuh n, -fruhn- ]

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noun

  1. an act of confronting.
  2. the state of being confronted.
  3. a meeting of persons face to face.
  4. an open conflict of opposing ideas, forces, etc.
  5. a bringing together of ideas, themes, etc., for comparison.
  6. a technique used in group therapy, as in encounter groups, in which one is forced to recognize one’s shortcomings and their possible consequences.

 

Confrontation has been given a very bad rap in our culture.  Confrontation has such a bad rap that people tend to avoid it all together.  This can be very dangerous.  To explain the dangers of confrontation, we must first fully understand what it means and put it in context.  Contrary to popular belief, CONFRONTATION ≠ FIGHT.  In layman’s terms, confrontation is a meeting of the minds that hold opposing views, it’s not a fight/argument.  It can be a debate… but it’s not necessarily that either.

“Can a confrontation turn into a fight?”

Absolutely! In fact, it is a common occurrence for a number of reasons but the square root of all confrontations giving way to fights is simply because of lack of communication.  Confrontation, is a form of communication where one party is expressing their point of view to another party who has an opposing point of view.   

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When one party suppresses their point of view in hopes the other party will “come around,” the relationship is set on a collision course.  One party becomes continually disappointed by the other party’s ambivalence or indifference.  It’s like putting all your junk in the junk closet and closing the door until finally that last bit of junk causes the door to bust open and all the junk comes tumbling out.  At that point everything (emotionally) including the kitchen sink comes out and causes significant and sometimes permanent damage or irreparable damage to the relationship dynamic.  So…

“How do we avoid a fight?”

The best way to avoid a fight, is to engage in confrontation within a reasonable amount of time.  Expressing your point of view (respectfully) in the moment or within a reasonable amount of time lets all parties know where you stand.  Assumption during a confrontation is like throwing water on a grease fire, so it’s best to avoid assuming anything.  See something, say something!  State the facts.

“When you do _____, I feel like _____ and I don’t like it.”

Making a simple declaration of your point of view sets the tone, it sets boundaries, and it also leaves very little room for the other party to continue on oblivious to where you stand on the issue at hand.   It also starts a dialogue which is an avenue to understanding.

Naturally what we are discussing here is not (unfortunately) a cure all, but weeding out what causes a molehill to become a mountain yields healthier relationship dynamics and a more positive life experience.  It’s easier to call something out as it is happening than to indict a party with a list of repeat offenses that they were not even aware were offenses because if you call someone out on “always doing _____” they will feel blindsided and get defensive which increases the chances of causing a fight.

“Be Prepared to Disagree”

Fear of confrontation also stems from a fear of rejection.  Will they still like me?  We cannot convince everyone to see things our way.  Everyone is different.  Everyone processes things differently: values, priorities, beliefs, and philosophies.  Sometimes after a confrontation we have to accept that we will have to agree to disagree.  Confrontation is not about convincing someone to agree with you.  It’s about stating your point of view and defining your values and boundaries in the process.  This is important because a gauge of conduct is created.  If both parties mutually respect each other’s point of view, they learn how to work through their opposing views respectfully thus keeping the relationship dynamic intact.  Agreeing to disagree forges mutual respect because both parties feel valued when their points of view are heard despite the opposition: that is what we want in a relationship dynamic.  We want to feel valued and to feel heard.  Unfortunately, feeling valued and heard does not mean that everyone will agree.  But is that really such a bad thing?

Confrontation can be healthy and successful without fighting if we get enough courage to communicate and not sweep it under the rug.  Also, a resolution is possible, so long as both parties understand that the confrontation is not about persuasion.  Confrontation is about expression of opposing point of views.  When all the cards are on the table, it is easier for both parties to navigate through the relationship dynamic without damaging it.

Are you comfortable with confrontation?  If not, don’t worry.  It’s a skill, like learning how to write.  You don’t have to be the best at it, but it is a vital and effective communication tool.  Would you like to learn more?  I’d love to hear from you!  Be Well!

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.

 

 

Posted in Dating, emotions, Expression, Life, Perceptions, Relationships, Social, thoughts

Ghosting: The Psychological Bird Flip

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Photo by Elias Tucker

You meet someone and sparks fly.  You talk every day and do things together.  You two are building the foundation of a relationship or friendship; whatever the type of ship it may be, all of a sudden, this ship has sunk because this person checked out and stopped all forms of communication with you unexpectedly.

Maybe he or she enlisted in the Witness Protection Program or maybe aliens abducted him or her.  As absurd as these theories may sound, they may be plausible because you two were having a great a time up until this point.  At least you thought he or she was having as good a time as you.  In the words of the great and late philosopher Whitney Houston, “how will I know”?

In today’s world, no answer is an answer.  For those of you who do not know what ghosting is, it is the act of abruptly ceasing communication of any kind without warning or explanation with someone you were cultivating a relationship with or had a relationship with.  It is easy to hide behind the blanket excuse of “I’ve been so busy,”  but even the Leader of the Free World has time to make multiple posts that 150 characters are less in a day!   So what gives?  Ghosting has become the most common and convenient way to bail on a relationship.

It’s not you, it’s me….

Are people not even worth a cliché anymore?   Giving someone the Casper treatment is rather disrespectful.  Here is why.  Disappearing without an explanation breeds a lot of confusion, speculation and worry.  It brings about far more intense feelings than the feeling of rejection that comes from being up front with someone and saying, “You are a great person and I enjoy the time we spent together; I don’t want to pursue a relationship with you.”   Yes, of course, you run the risk of having a conversation that might be uncomfortable but it is the last conversation you will have with this person on this topic.  It actually beats “ghosting” him or her only to randomly bump into him or her without any place to take cover thus being forced to have an even more awkward and potentially embarrassing conversation– in public, no less!

Ghosting to spare someone’s feeling is a piping hot pile of steaming dung.

Anyone who ghosts someone else is cowardly sparing himself or herself the daunting task of having to admit they are not into this friendship/relationship and having a conversation about why.  It is okay to want out of a relationship for no other reason than you do not want to be in one with that person.  Sometimes that happens.  Not everyone we come across is a crazy creep.  Sometimes sparks fly and fizzle out for no particular reason.  Just because someone is amazing and he or she has the right qualities does not mean he or she is right for you.

If you should find yourself in the situation where you want to call it quits, choose to treat this person with kindness and respect them enough to have that conversation with them.  Be brave.  Don’t be a cruel ghoul and ghost.

Posted in Dating, Expression, Human nature, Relationships, Social

10 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Men

anm_logo2_400x400Let me just start by saying Sabrina Alexis and Eric Charles have been a part of my life for some time.  I’ve been following their amazing blog anewmode.com circa 5 years and they cover a wide array of issues and topics on two things women can never seem to talk about enough, Fashion and Relationships.  Laser focusing on the relationship front, the blog is chuck full of articles on topics that we women often feel the need to congregate and start  make-shift think tanks to decipher certain circumstances and behaviors. I personally appreciate their style of writing because it does not have a condescending tone like some authors on dating tend to have.  When you’re caught admits a situation, it isn’t easy to see things as clearly as someone that is observing from the sidelines.  Eric and Sabrina get that.  I appreciate that tremendously.

hes-not-that-complicated-book-image2-247x300Anewmode gives off a conversation over brunch with a close friend vibe that I believe made it not only unique, but extremely popular; writing a book (or two..) was only a matter of time.  I’m so glad they did.  The first book, “He’s Not That Complicated” was a total slam dunk!  This is what I had to say about that….

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Fast forward four years to Sabina and Eric to book #2, “10 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Men.”

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Sabrina and Eric delivered another a well written book with so much insight on things we overlook or misinterpret in relationships. This book differs from the previous one because “He’s Not That Complicated” focuses on situations and circumstantial behaviors. “10 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Men” focuses on emotional and psychological aspects that help or hinder the ability to make and maintain a real connection.

They are candid with their own personal experiences and lessons while providing a wealth of information and challenges for the reader with exercises to help the reader see and experience what they are conveying for themselves.  All in all the book is insightful, encouraging, challenging and empowering.  It’s definitely one of those books you’ll keep as you may need to go back and reference a few things from time to time.  It can easily be a book you’ll end up purchasing over and over again should you lend it to a friend.

I cannot buy it for you… but I can highly recommend it to you.

“10 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Men” is available in digital and paperback at  Amazon.com

Also, I encourage you to pick up “He’s Not That Complicated.”  It will at the very least equip you with great useful advise to give your girlfriends who are single and ready to mingle.  And by all means check out Anewmode.com for fashion, dating, and relationship tips that will change your life!

Posted in emotions, Human nature, Inspiration, Life, Love, Perceptions, Random, Rants, Relationships, Social, thoughts

Time on Tap

round_tuit_drink_coasters-r125c5b0f54f74c0b9ec0e0864412ee84_x7jy0_8byvr_512Sounds ridiculous, right? Time is not a tangible thing. Nor can we mold it like cosmic play dough. There is no fast forward, rewind, reset or pause. It is quite fascinating how we conduct ourselves and our lives as if we did have time at our disposal on a day to day basis. We live our lives flying by the seat of our pants as if getting “around-to-it” was an actual object that we can obtain. You cannot trade time; it is non-transferrable.   “I’ll call you later,” … “I’m too busy right now” … “Next time” We have this deceptive sense of security when it comes to time and it is not until tragedy strikes that one realizes how truly unbusy they were or could have been if they had known that later would not to be. That argument may not have mattered nor might it have transpired,… you would have said “I love you” … “I appreciate you” or “I’m proud of you”… or stayed at home and cuddled with your sweetheart or played with the kids.

We have all the time in the world to take for granted, until we run out of time.  ~ Dolores Raymond

How much more enjoyable would this hot summer be if you knew it was your last? Would you opt to text a person or place the phone call if that was your final correspondence with them? How tightly would you hug your loved one if you knew this was the last time they would walk through your door? How hard would you laugh at the story you heard for the 1,657,245,326th time if you knew it would never be told by that person again? Wouldn’t you say “I love you too” if you knew that would be your last opportunity?  When someone passes away suddenly and we are grief stricken and shaken to the core… we bleed out emotionally and blurt out “I shoulda,” … “I coulda,” … “I woulda,”… “If I had”It is not so much as guilt but a natural reaction to the hay-maker of reality, that… we have no control over time. And in an instant, we can be taken into eternity or left to grieve a loved one.
Does this mean we have to live in fear? No. It just means perhaps we need to live in awareness that tomorrow is not guaranteed and make a conscious effort to spend time more wisely. It does not have to be a lot of time, but quality time. Place a call instead of a comment on social media or a text message. Go physically say hi. Hug and kiss goodbye. You ever notice how beautiful and eloquent and heartfelt a eulogy is… Why aren’t these beautiful loving heartfelt words and feelings shared with the person while they are alive?  Who says you have to wait until they pass away to share your thoughts and feelings with all their friends and family… in their absence?  We are so quick to dole out sarcasm, criticism, and poke fun… but we need to work up courage to express love and happiness…  we get self-conscious about that.  emphasis on self…  when you become conscious of self,… you tend not to be conscious of others and in turn, the message is lost.
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Who has time? Who has time? But then if we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time? ~Merovingian

We cannot just assume people know how we feel any more than we can assume to live well past 100 years. We do not have time on tap. We do not own time, we cannot trade time, we cannot borrow time, we cannot exchange time, or change time… nor can we stop time. What we can do is love. We can show love and allow ourselves to be loved and express love at every given opportunity while the opportunity is present.