Love and Money: 6 Signs of Financial Abuse You Shouldn’t Ignore

Young couple looking at bank statement

Couple managing finances | iStock.com

When you think of domestic violence, your first thought might be of someone who is being physically abused. However, there are other serious forms of violence that take place at home. One form of abuse that is not discussed as often is financial abuse.

During financial abuse, the abuser engages in destructive behavior that results in the victim experiencing a financial crisis and forming a financial dependency on the abuser. The victim’s funds or assets are used solely for the abuser’s benefit. Psychologist Gretchen Kubacky said financial abusers often blame their victim and exhibit extreme behavior. “Financial abuse takes many forms, including blaming the significant other for financial strain, putting the significant other on an absurdly strict budget, public shaming about expenditures, utilizing all or most of the income on an addiction, and taking earned or gifted money away from the significant other,” Kubacky told The Cheat Sheet.

Just 3% of Americans said they felt financial abuse is likely have a long-term negative impact. Emotional (43%) and physical abuse (22%), ranked much higher on the list, according to an Allstate survey. However, financial abuse is more common than many people realize. The Allstate survey revealed financial abuse happens in 99% of all domestic violence cases. Roughly three in five Americans say they know someone who has been financially abused by their partner. Financial abuse can happen to just about anyone. It can occur among husbands and wives, children and their parents, and a variety of other domestic combinations.

Jennifer White-Reid, vice president of domestic violence services at Urban Resource Institute, one of the largest providers of domestic violence services in New York City, told The Cheat Sheet financial abuse doesn’t discriminate. “Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence will likely experience financial abuse as well. It is important to recognize that domestic and financial abuse can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or socioeconomic status,” said White-Reid.