After being in an abusive relationship for 3 years I’ve learned to understand the red flags of financial abuse. I did not recognize at the time that I was being financially abused. It was only about a year later that I actually realized what had happened to me.

A lot of abusive spouses or partners tend to convince you gradually to allow them to take the initiative when it comes to controlling finances. At the time it may seem okay because you both are partners and in your mind you are working “together”. But remember with narcissists (who are abusers) their number one goal is: themselves. So everything they are telling you is only a lie to convince you to do what they want you so that in the end they have complete control.

You may be wondering how to recognize the difference between a partner who is trying to be controlling in the beginning or a partner who is genuinely trying to work with you to better the financial place you are in.

Here are a few clues to recognize the liar from the honest partner:

  • Pressure –

    • A narcissist will be CONSISTENT on a particular financial matter. Meaning they will repeatedly pressure you into doing something for them or making some type of financial decision regardless if you already said no. Ask yourself: Will this benefit him or US in the long run? Will YOU be the one with a financial burden afterwards? An honest partner may bring it up to you once or twice and even willingly talk with you about it in-depth. They will respect your final decision. Whereas a narcissistic partner, with his own plans, will pressure you about the decision, he will not think about the consequences of it and they will NOT let it down. They will constantly and repeatedly hound you about it, unless you show them firmly that you WILL NOT change your answer.
  • Anger –

    • You will recognize that the narcissistic partner may begin to get angry if you do not agree with their decision or do as they say. They may raise their voice, start to call you names, or get physical with you if you don’t do as they ask. He may even get so desperate to a point where they will physically intimidate you and get in your face or threaten you to do what they want. An honest partner may get upset or yes even angry but they will not take it to this level. They may not agree with you but they will not make you feel unsafe or force you into doing something you don’t want to do.
  • Guilt –

    • Pity is one of the narcissist specialty. If you do not do as they ask, they may start to tell you stories or give you false ideas to make you feel guilty for them. They are doing this so that they can use your pity to get what they want. Some may even go to the extent or crying or bringing up a terrible past pain to make you feel sorry for them. Do not be surprised if you find out later on that whatever story they told you is a lie. Remember, they will go to great lengths to get what they want.

Now that we have gone over a few of the narcissistic signs of liars, lets take a look at what signs may actually be financial abuse.

  • Expecting to make all the financial decisions – A narcissistic partner/spouse will expect to have the final say in all decision-making, whether he is bringing in all the money, some of it, or even nothing at all. They expect you to hear what they have to say, listen, and understand that they know everything, regardless if it makes any sense or not.
    • Not consulting with you before making a decision (buying a car or spending money and you finding out afterwards, putting you in some/more debt)
    • Expecting you to put aside your needs or what you think in order for them to do what they want (if they want a $40 haircut that you can’t afford but they expect you to give them the money for it anyway)
    • Making you feel small if you do not agree with their decisions (saying you are a terrible wife for not allowing him to get a new car, etc.)
    • Foolishly coming to an agreement even when they know they cannot financially handle it (buying a larger house when you both are already struggling with a smaller one)
    • Making decisions but not being financially responsible for them (sending the kids to a private school but expecting you to pay for all the expenses while they can splurge and save as they please)
  • Controlling every aspect of the money – Not allowing you any money or giving you only what they want to. This may also include making you feel stupid for wanting things or asking for anything. The abuser may spend money foolishly or without you knowing.
    • Telling you what you are to do with the money (Wanting $300 to gamble even when you continue to say no)
    • Preventing you from having an access to financial resources or telling you how much you are allowed to have.
    • Secretly hiding or saving money without your knowledge.
    • Expecting you to pay for their bills or financial obligations whether you want to or not. (Making you use your credit cards to buy them new tires or always asking you for money when they need to put gas)
    • Lying to you about having any money so that they don’t need to give you any. (You want to go on a date but they say there is no money yet when you are working they are taking their cousin shopping)
    • Spending everything you have and not helping you pay anything back (spending your credit card money but refusing to help you pay it back or saying they will help but they never do)
    • Making you open up accounts for them under your name so that if anything happens they do not have any financially responsibility for it (making you open up a cable bill in your name, saying they’ll pay for it but they never do; expecting you to put their name under your insurance saying they will help you pay half but they end up not paying anything)
  • Jeopardizing areas of growth and positive areas – Keeping you from getting promoted or donating to charity could be a few different ways they jeopardize you from growing financially. To them, they are the superior one regardless of their past or present. Watching you grow and get better only makes them want to bring you down more.
    • Harassing you at your job to make you look bad/stupid (constantly calling your work or showing up when you have no breaks and expecting you to sit and talk with them for hours)
    • Harassing your co-workers at your workplace (getting in their face because he thinks someone is trying to hit on you)
    • Calling your boss, making you out to be a bad person (calling your boss and telling him lies to make you lose your job or look bad in front of him)
    • Stalking you – Constantly driving through/by your job
    • Telling you to quit – Expecting you do quit your job even when he knows you have financial obligations that you need to take care of. (He wants you to be a stay at home mom, even when he has no job to help take care of you and the kids.)

In Conclusion

These are just a few of the many things that mean financially abuse. Financial abuse brings on A LOT of stress for the victim and the abuser/narcissist does not care how much burdens they put on you. Their whole goal is to get what they want out of you and all the sweet-talking and promises they make to help you pay it off is a lie. Look out for these types of partners/spouses because they will not help you one bit and as soon as you leave them or upset them in any way, they will find out how to make you pay for it, by any means.

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