Financial abuse

Through the Holidays we all fall prey to the need to buy gifts for as many people as we can. Everywhere we go we are bombarded with present ideas for more and more people. Advertising through the holidays tells us that we have to find the “perfect” gift for everyone. Simple gift exchanges become stressful and seem to be a hassle at times.
Finances can be a source for arguments for the strongest of couples. Agreeing on a limit to spend and sticking to it can be tricky for the most seasoned shoppers. However, when you add a couple who has power and control issues, finances are no longer just a small argument about overspending and the need to save. In fact, some homes become war zones over the smallest financial infraction.
When thinking about domestic violence, most people picture bruises, cuts, or black eyes. Very rarely does anyone think that making someone ask for an allowance or not letting them be privilege to the financial information is a big part of domestic violence. The need to control all the money can be one of the first red flags or warning signs that there are power and control issues in your relationship.
If a victim is not allowed to work, they rely solely on the money given to them by their abuser. Some victims are allowed to work but are required to hand over their paycheck immediately upon receiving it. So many people are not allowed information about bank accounts, wages earned, or credit cards taken out. This is financial abuse, and it keeps people in violent and sometimes deadly situations. Victims of financial abuse feel that they have no way to support themselves or their children without their spouse, so they stay through the abuse just to survive.
In some circumstances, abusers force their victims to do demeaning or horrible things to receive money for bills, groceries, or gifts at Christmas. This reinforces the idea that their victim is not a person but property. Abusers call their victims worthless, stupid, or lazy. They keep their victims from working, so they have to rely on them to meet their needs all while convincing them that they are lazy and do not contribute. If the victim is allowed to work, abusers often tell them that they are not making enough money or they should work even harder. They are forced to work second and third jobs to please their abusive partner.
All of these examples are domestic violence. Power and control starts with making someone feel small and worthless. Abusers need their victims to feel powerless, so they can be manipulated and used. This just reinforces that the victim could not do anything without the approval of their partner. All of this happens under the guise that the abusive partner loves them and will take care of them.
If any of these scenarios are present in your relationship, you could be in a potentially dangerous situation. Please call and speak to a domestic violence victim advocate. Crisis Services of North Alabama provides free and confidential crisis counseling and support. Our advocates are trained to help victims break the cycle of power and control and help rebuild their lives. Crisis Services of North Alabama Jackson County office can be reached locally at (256)574-5826 or 24/7 on our HELPline at (256)716-1000. Do not go through this alone. We can help!

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