Financial abuse is a little known type of abuse that narcissists often use on their
victims. It is a very effective way to keep someone under control, after all.
For convenience sake, we’ll assume in this article the financial abuser is male, victim
While dating, a financial abuser obviously can’t have the deep level of control that a
married financial abuser can have. However, he still can exert some control. It will
start small, like him asking to borrow $20 until payday. Most people experience this
at some point, so it’s no red flag. Plus, it’s only $20. Then he needs more and more,
$50 or $100. Or he asks to use your credit card, claiming he’ll pay it off soon. The
problem is he never pays that money back. And, if you say anything, he gets angry.
You learn quickly it’s easiest just to give him money , and not expect it to be repaid. I
went through this when dating my ex husband. Even though he knew perfectly well
how tight money was for me when we first got together in 1988, he still asked to
“borrow” money often, and never paid me back. By the time we got married in 1990, I
figured he’d taken well over $400 from me.
Sometimes an abuser controls his or her victim’s finances completely. The victim has
no access to bank accounts or credit cards. Receipts are demanded so every penny
can be tracked. My mother did this to my father. He got a small “allowance” while
she paid all the bills, saved money, etc. She was very good with money and maybe
because of that should have been in charge of their finances to a degree. But, he had
literally no say in where money was spent and didn’t know how much was saved either.
My husband and I have a similar arrangement, but the healthy version. I tell him where
every penny I spend goes even though he doesn’t ask, and he doesn’t get an “allowance.”
He has full access to all accounts, too, just like I do.
Sometimes financial abusers prevent their victim from working. They may tell their
victim outright that she isn’t allowed to work. Or, they may sabotage her job
somehow, such as by forcing her to call out often or making her run late so often that
she gets fired.
If a victim wants to leave, one way to prevent that is by ruining her credit. She can’t
rent an apartment or buy a home when her credit score is 450 and her credit report is
full of bad debt. He can ruin her credit by charging up her credit cards or taking out
loans in her name, then refusing to pay the bills.
Some male financial abusers also keep their wives pregnant. They even sabotage
birth control. No matter how employable she may be, financially it makes sense for
her to stay home rather than pay for expensive day care. These abusers get what
they want by doing this – they have children to abuse/gain narcissistic supply from,
their wife stays home, they take away her independence and they feel powerful and in
There is hope for victims though, especially if you’re creative.
Ask safe friends and family for any help or advice they may have. They may help you
financially or give you some advice you hadn’t thought of.
Local churches or domestic violence hotlines can help as well. Also, look into
requirements for getting food stamps and public assistance.
Skim any little bit of money you can. Every little bit will help you!
If at all possible, get some sort of job in secret. Babysit while he’s at work or walk
If your credit is bad, get a secured credit card to help you reestablish your credit. A
secured card is one you send money to, then use it to pay for things. Since there is no
risk of customers not paying their debt, companies give these cards out freely, even
to people with less than stellar credit.
Most of all, never forget to pray. God will help you to find ways to escape this
insidiously abusive situation.