10 Ways To Prevent Financial Abuse

Financial abuse comes with other forms of abuse, so if any other forms of abuse is present, financial abuse probably is. 

As with other forms of abuse, it's doing something to you as much as it's sabotaging your quest for independence. For example, a financial abuser can put your name on a business or use your identity to get a credit card, so you end up with a mountain of bills you didn't even know you had. 

This is identity fraud and identity theft. Both are crimes. 

Or an abuser would disrupt your work by calling non stop, prevent you from getting to work by threatening you with the kids or asking you to work for free for them.

Let's say that person has a business and you work there, there's no clear agreement how much your salary is, nothing is written down, there's a verbal agreement and that fluctuates according to how well the business is doing.

This makes it hard for you to plan your finances, you hesitate to take on other jobs in case you're needed but you constantly feel worried at the same time. 

Or an abuser can use your free labour to help them gain achievements like education that will translate to higher earning potential and then refuse to support your quest for your own monkey making ventures in any way, shape or form. 

Time to take action, 

1. Get a copy of your credit report, to see if there's anything to your name. Use a seperate email account or a friend's mailing address to get it. Remember to log out of all applications if you share a computer or phone, erase all history.

2. Set up a notification notice with your bank, where you get alerts for expenditure over a certain amount. This is for a supplementary card or a card from a shared account. It can be a credit care or a debit card. Note that a debit card works the same as cash, so you might have problems reporting fraud after someone uses it. There's usually more consumer protection for credit cards. 

3. Do not leave your wallet laying around. I know from experience, it's hard. I encountered a person who looked through my wallet and questioned me about what cards I had when I went to the bathroom.

It freaked me out then and still freaks me out today.

The point I'm making is to educate yourself about abuse, once they show signs of emotional, psychological or physical abuse, your radar must be up and you have to guard your finances immediately.

4. Sign up for one time pin notifications for all your cards, for the notification to be sent to your phone, when it's used, you will know. Someone won't be able to use it without your phone, just your card number won't work. 

5. Close Bluetooth in public, some identity thieves can tap on it for your credit card details. 

6. Do not leave personal information on your computer when you send it for repair, also when you bring it and leave it at someone's place or share it.

Always use a password for it as well.

That same person I mentioned above asked me for my computer password and my phone password.

It scared the crap out of me, it was so intentional and predatory.

Those eyes, I still remember them, I have flashbacks and nightmares sometimes. 

That's CPTSD for ya! 

7. Remember that these incidences can scar us, it's OK to take time to heal and address any unconscious barriers to money it has caused you. Maybe you attach hostile behaviours such as these to it now, so you dare not ask for a pay raise, you might feel hesitant to start a business even though you REALLY want to or feel so anxious about money matters, you rather throw in the towel and give up the reins to someone else! 

It's OK to be afraid, it IS frightening. People fight about money with those closest to them all the time, finances are indeed weaponised and misused, financial abuse is real. 

8. Your personal documents like passport, immigration papers, birth certificate and identity card is yours. If someone police it and try to keep it away from you, let's say in a safe where it's inaccessible from you, this can be an early warning sign of a controlling person.

The way you can test this is ask for it and observe if that person needs you to jump through hoops to access it, rage at you, make you feel guilty by interrogating you or twist it into an unreasonable request, have a disproportionately large response, as if you asked for an arm or a leg. 

Abusers often erode esteem by making you feel like a burden, they assert authority by spinning normal reasonable requests into abnormally heavy ones, where they're very uncooperative, they intentionally tire you out with chaos so you hesitate to ask again. 

They can range from neurotic to psychotic, some are suspicious and some are paranoid, they image hostility that isn't there and need to guard against you even if you have never harmed them, you're much more passive than they're by personality and aren't in a position to even harm them by authority. 

9. A quick way to tell if someone is protective or controlling is do they respect you making decisions for yourself or they want to be the final decision maker for your life. Notice how they want to decide for you but see the consequences of the decision they make as yours. So they take no responsibility for any decisions but want to rob your autonomy at the same time. 

Yeah no. 

10. Double standards around money, they can work but you no, they can spend but you no, they can borrow loans, take on debt but you no. They shoo you away when you want to have money talks with them but they feel totally OK to interrogate you as and when they want. 

Remember that it is always best to not have a joint account when dating or after marriage. If you decide to so it, make sure that your pay goes to your personal account and not straight there, your portion is then transferred into the joint one.

Keep all personal account details private, including online passwords and account number. Having transparency doesn't involve knowing these things, as long as the mutually agreed upon commitments are met, the rest is OK to keep private. 

You don't have to go at it alone, family and friends usually don't have resources to help either. Call a domestic violence shelter or an organisation to find out more.

If you can afford it, use lawyers and financial planners privately to help you with the details. Navigating these details are hard enough on a good day, when you're constantly stressed out from being around someone abusive, it's even harder.

Self kindness is key to mental wellness, remember to forgive yourself. Every day is a chance to accept God's grace into your life and start a new page. 

I'm writing this with the premise that you already have some suspicions and want to find out more about someone. So this list would indeed come across a bit much for people not in abusive relationships.

Either way, both party's comfort matters, if you feel restricted in any way, it helps to have an open talk. The more a couple talks about money, the more trust is built and the more money becomes a calm respectful discussion. The more public talks we have about money, the more people feel OK to discuss it respectfully in private. 

Eshet chayil, God is a She



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