Financial Abuse

In couples where there is a lot of money, primary aggressors tend to control the money directly. They may be the only one with access to accounts. They may punish survivors for spending money on themselves. They may insist that the survivor's income be saved or spent in a particular way. Since money in many ways creates options, the objective often is to keep the money away from the survivor.

In couples where there is less money, financial abuse usually takes one of two other forms, both based on irresponsibility. First the primary aggressor may just not work, but rather sponge off the income of the survivor. This is central to the 'player' lifestyle. Second, the primary aggressor may work, but he refuses to deal with all the bills and expenses honestly. Usually in this scenario, the primary aggressor will turn part or all of his income over to the survivor, but then insist on unrealistic spending in the areas he wants. If the survivor tries to talk about bills, or reports there is no more money, she is stonewalled and blamed for supposedly hiding or wasting money. While these power behaviors incorporate irresponsibility, they are far more than impulsive or quick spending. Primary aggressors take care that the money flows away from the survivor, unless there is a momentary goal of manipulating.

To feel secure, every family member has a 'right' to material goods and spending options in line with the overall standard in the family. This is based on the relationship, not earned. Witholding food, clothing, school fees and basic recreational opportunities from a specific member to coerce compliance is abuse not discipline.