Early in our marriage, my husband and I worked cooperatively on budgeting and saving. We came to an understanding that neither of us would make any major purchases until we discussed them and agreed upon them. But as the years passed, something shifted – and not in a good way.
When balancing our checkbook virtually every month, I would discover significant cash withdrawals that my husband had made, but with nothing material to show for them. When asked where the money was going, he would reply, “Good things. All good things.”
On many evenings, as I paid the bills and tried to budget the little that remained, I had to will myself not to cry. My husband would walk by me sitting there, pat me on the shoulder and say patronizingly, “You’ll figure it out.” And, yes, I always found a way to make ends meet, but barely. I suppose he knew I would, which only substantiated his increasingly spend-aholic ways.
Then there were the times later in our marriage when I found large sums of money stashed away in a drawer or the linen closet. When confronted, he would say that that was his money, perhaps from a bonus he said he had received at work. Not only did I not believe him, but it didn’t matter to me where the money came from when our household had legitimate needs. I reminded him that he had a wife and children who should be a priority, but he usually dismissed me and affirmed that he had more important things in mind – like buying a new shotgun or saving for a new set of conga drums. Month after month money continued to mysteriously disappear from our bank account.
After the divorce, it became apparent that at least a portion of those funds had been spent at local strip clubs. But even that couldn’t account for one-tenth of the financial – and emotional – damage the man had done to me and our children.
Recognizing that the abuser’s desire for power and control are at the core of the abusive relationship, it should come as no surprise that finances will likely be impacted as well. Continue reading Identifying Financial Abusers and Their Tactics