When a person (the abuser) takes control of another person’s finances or assets without regard for their well-being, this is referred to as financial abuse. The survivor of financial abuse may suffer not only financial consequences but also the emotional impact of being taken advantage of. Evidence-based approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can be used to treat financial abuse trauma. Seeking Online Counselling from the best online counselor at TalktoAngel would be beneficial.
Definition of Financial Abuse
Financial or economic abuse occurs when a person or entity seizes control of another person’s assets in order to achieve their own goals or desires. While most commonly seen in the context of elderly people having their assets misappropriated (elder abuse cases), financial abuse in marriage and relationships is also common when those relationships are physically or emotionally abused as a means of maintaining control. It’s also seen in cases of sexual abuse and coercion.
The Effects of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse can have long-term financial consequences such as damaged credit, insurmountable debt, legal issues, and difficulty obtaining employment, loans, and even stable housing. It is difficult enough to leave an abusive relationship, but when you are financially abused, your inability to access your own funds can exacerbate feelings of being trapped.
Financial Abuse Techniques
Financial abuse tactics are used to limit the survivor’s access to funds, keep the abuser in control of all finances, and keep the survivor from feeling empowered to make changes or leave the relationship.
There are three types of financial abuse tactics:
- Accounting for all assets and resources
Financial control tactics are used to limit or eliminate the survivor’s access to money, whether their own or borrowed, as well as to keep the survivor from feeling able to leave or change the relationship.
Financial control-related signs of financial abuse include:
- requiring receipts for all expenditures
- limiting or prohibiting cash access
- You are being locked out of your online financial accounts.
- Credit/debit card locking
- requires you to seek permission to spend money
- Taking charge of all paychecks you receive
- Subverting Employment, Education, and Opportunities
Employment and education sabotage serve to limit the survivor’s ability to earn money and foster independence by obtaining or believing that they can. This sabotage is used to keep them from leaving the relationship while maintaining the deception that the abuser has complete control and power in the relationship.
Signs of financial exploitation related to job or education sabotage include:
- Your partner prevents you from going to work or makes you late on purpose.
- Your partner actively discourages you from looking for work or attending job interviews.
- At work, your partner harasses you (calling you frequently at work or showing up unannounced)
- Your partner advises you not to attend class or professional training.
- Your partner criticizes and dismisses your job or career choice.
- Your partner is pressuring you to resign from your job.
- Utilizing Resources
The abuser is only interested in what they can get out of you and the relationship. The abuser can benefit from the abuse and squander the survivor’s funds by doing things like using your money to fund their pursuits, whether business or personal, and using your credit for their benefit.
The following are symptoms of financial exploitation:
- Attempting to limit your use of or access to money you’ve earned or saved
- Ruining your credit history by exceeding credit limits and then failing to pay bills
- They expect you to pay their bills or fulfill their obligations.
- Making you take out loans or credit cards on your own credit is a form of coercion.
How to Get Rid of Financial Abuse
Connect with a domestic violence agency, whether or not you have financial resources. They can assist you in planning and executing your exit, as well as providing post-exit support. If you are hesitant to connect with an organization, friends or family may be able to assist you in keeping yourself and any children safe.
When you realize, you’re in an abusive relationship, follow these steps to safely leave:
- Determine your resources (e.g., the money you have access to, a vehicle you can use)
- Make copies of your financial data, such as credit cards and financial statements, if it is unsafe to take the originals. These copies will come in handy later to prove who owns what. Keep this documentation in a secure location until you can safely depart.
- Determine and connect with your resources.
- Plan a departure strategy with your supporters (e.g., where you will go, how to get there, when you will leave, and who will be involved)
- Commit to leaving and stick to your plan.
How to Get Over Financial Abuse
Because everyone’s experience with financial abuse is unique, so is their recovery. Some people may experience other types of abuse in addition to financial abuse, while others may not. It is critical to developing a strategy to assess the impact of financial abuse and lay the groundwork for recovery.
Get a Financial Education
It’s critical to talk about your financial abuse experience with supportive friends and family and to think about getting educated on your finances and how the system works.
Here are some things to think about when looking for financial literacy:
- Call your bank and request a meeting with someone to discuss your personal finances.
- Consult with a financial planner.
- Consult an attorney.
- Examine your credit score and learn about the significance of credit scores.
Obtain and Freeze Your Credit Reports
After you leave the abusive relationship, you will need to do a few things, but the first step is to organize all of your information.
Obtain a credit report as well as copies of your tax returns. Access and change passwords for your bank accounts online, or visit a branch in person to request access and statements for all accounts. These items should give you an idea of the extent of the damage to your credit, cash holdings, and taxes.
Set up your accounts and, if necessary, seek legal counsel.
Following these steps, begin creating separate accounts, secure email, and a phone. Close any joint credit cards with zero balances and consider enrolling in a credit monitoring service. Once your financial situation is secure, begin researching legal options for credit repair, dealing with abuse, and filing for divorce if you were married. Most areas have legal aid organizations that will provide survivors of domestic abuse with free or reduced legal services.
Obtain Emotional Support
Seek assistance as you go. Abuse of any kind is likely to have emotional and psychological consequences that should be addressed by a professional. Finding a therapist may appear difficult, but it does not have to be. A therapist directory on the internet is a good place to start.
Take Recuperation One Thing at a Time
Dealing with recovery can be difficult, but it is critical to take it one step at a time. Recovery from financial abuse, like recovery from any other type of abuse, will take time because you will need to heal and deal with the practical consequences of the abuse. Taking small steps consistently is an excellent way to lay a foundation and regain confidence.
Feel free to seek Online Counseling at TalktoAngel from the expert counselor for more information on financial abuse.