Written by Writer’s Corps member Ashley Campusano
Money is one of the main stressors in a relationship. Hence, it’s perfectly normal for couples to argue over bills and other finances sometimes. But money-based conflicts can veer into unhealthy territory, where one partner is trying to manipulate the other and control all the funds. This is called financial abuse. It’s is a form of mistreatment that occurs in nearly 99% of domestic violence cases and involves tactics like sabotaging employment opportunities, limiting access to funds, or overly keeping tabs on how money is spent by a responsible partner. So how do you know if your arguments about money are signs of financial abuse? These excellent resources will help you recognize unhealthy financial behavior and give you the support you need to put a stop to it.
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1. Office on Women’s Health
Financial abuse can be difficult to detect, but Womenshealth.gov lists a number of warning signs that help you understand if you’re experiencing this. It also offers advice on how to begin the process of leaving an abusive partner, providing hands-on resources such as available services from domestic violence shelters and a list of potential ways to implement a safety plan.
2. Purple Purse Allstate Foundation
Established in 2005, this organization continues to assist those who are suffering, or who have suffered financially abusive relationships. Services include a free online financial empowerment curriculum that teaches financial literacy skills such as learning credit basics, loan application processes, and budgeting/saving practices. Purple Purse also provides state-specific coalitions to help survivors find help and support even in the most remote locations.
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After leaving a financially abusive relationship, it is possible to take legal action to try and rectify the economic damage. This could include trying to get your money back, handling debt under your name, or regaining control of your credit. Whether or not you would want a lawyer, knowing your rights in your state is a crucial part of financial empowerment. The website Womenslaw.org gives you valuable information such as how to report identity theft for unauthorized accounts and best practices for handling financial documents.
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4. Federal Trade Commission
A large part of regaining financial control is fixing your credit. Getting a handle on your finances can feel overwhelming and many of us don’t know where to begin. The Federal Trade Commission helps by offering free credit reports, help with reporting identity theft, and consumer alerts to keep yourself updated on your financials. The website also helps you find a credit counselor and provides information on the differences between debt relief and bankruptcy so that you can choose the right course of action.
If you need a more detailed guideline of how to leave a financially abusive relationship, HelpGuide has made an extensive list that covers all the bases, including safety planning, and how to protect your privacy. More importantly, the guide dissects the many common thought processes that survivors may have while still in their relationships. This can help dissipate the fear of the unknown that prevents many from leaving their abusive partners.
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If you or someone you know is experiencing an unhealthy or abusive relationship, check out our real-time resources, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you’re in imminent danger, please call 911.