Eco­nomic abuse is real

Antelope Valley Press - - Valley Life -

Dear Annie: I’ve been mar­ried for nearly 32 years to a fi­nan­cially abu­sive bully. For many years, when­ever I took out money that I needed with­out first seek­ing his ap­proval, he’d pun­ish me. His method for do­ing this was to ask me to go to the bank to get money out; when I’d try to do so, the tell­ers would let me know that there was not enough money in the ac­count — be­cause he’d with­drawn nearly all of the money and opened his own ac­counts with­out my name on them! See­ing the tell­ers whis­per and snicker to each other was so em­bar­rass­ing, and it was hurt­ful that he’d de­lib­er­ately hu­mil­i­ate me that way.

Some years ago, an at­tor­ney told him never to do this, and for the past five years he has not. But to this day, if I take money out of any ac­count, even for some­thing im­por­tant, his dirty looks, silent treat­ment and yelling and scream­ing are un­bear­able!

I don’t want to live like this any­more, but I’m afraid to leave. Any ad­vice?

— Bul­lied

Dear Bul­lied: Your hus­band’s be­hav­ior is in­deed abu­sive. The Na­tional Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Hot­line de­scribes eco­nomic abusers as achiev­ing power over their part­ners in some of the fol­low­ing ways: “pre­vent­ing her from get­ting a job; mak­ing her ask for money; giv­ing her an al­lowance; tak­ing her money; not let­ting her know about or have ac­cess to fam­ily in­come.” To de­mean some­one this way, to de­lib­er­ately make them feel small and pow­er­less, is the op­po­site of love.

For your safety, it’s im­por­tant to for­mu­late an exit strat­egy that in­cludes the sup­port of a coun­selor, le­gal ad­viser and at least one trusted friend. For fur­ther guid­ance, I’d en­cour­age you to call the Na­tional Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Hot­line (1-800-799-7233), which is avail­able 24/7, or visit their web­site (the­hot­line.org). Hold fast to the knowl­edge that you are wor­thy of so much more.

Dear Annie: About two years ago, my hus­band had a re­la­tion­ship with an­other woman. The only rea­son I found out was that she called my home and told me all the sor­did de­tails. He then ad­mit­ted it was all true. My ques­tion to you now is: Should I trust him again or leave him?

— Tor­tured

Dear Tor­tured: In­deed, those are the op­tions — be­cause you can­not stay with him with­out trust­ing him. But you can’t sim­ply force your­self to trust him, ei­ther. You’re go­ing to need a lot of help to get to that point.

Talk to your hus­band about seek­ing out that help to­gether through mar­riage coun­sel­ing.

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