As moms, one of our basics needs is to feel loved, respected, protected and safe. When we find someone who is seemingly willing to fulfill these needs, we tend to become blind avoiding to see any negative patterns in their behavior. Even when we are advised by close family members or friends that something is not right with them, we refuse it and surrender to them unconditionally, dreaming on our “happily ever after” ending.
Sadly, many moms are not that favored and instead of getting the happily ever after ending, our stories are tainted by violence, control, insults, sadness, pain, blame and so on. This is why we need to be really careful when meeting someone, to try to identify and discern the signs of a controlling boyfriend or husband’s behavior masked as a loving gesture, in order to prevent domestic financial abuse.
One of my favorite Ted Talks is Leslie Morgan´s “Why domestic violence victims don´t leave”. She was a young and talented 22-year-old woman, literate, graduated from Harvard College, worked at one of the top magazine companies in New York, owned an apartment, and a credit card. She was quite self-sufficient.
Unfortunately, none of those attributes prevented her from being financially abused by her partner. She was seduced, charmed and gradually isolated by her abuser who used different manipulative techniques masked as loving gestures to take control of her finances, without her even noticing anything wrong in his behavior.
5 Seemingly Loving Phrases Used To Control Your Finances
I want to warn you before you start reading the phrases below that they can be hard to assimilate when you are in love. Yet, they can become part of a carefully prepared trap to control, manipulate and cause you pain. They are very effective if you are not aware of them, especially because the person who uses them is someone you love and trust.
You don´t need to work, I´ll provide for my family
Working moms enjoy having wealth and strong social connections, sense of independence and financial control. That is why abusive husbands don’t want their wives to work, and that’s the main reasons I´ve chosen, “never quit my job to be fully dependent on my partner” as a financial boundary that prevents financial abuse.
If you are a mom that works, whether outside or in the house, he´ll try to convince you to quit your job with the subtle phrase: “You don´t need to work, I´ll provide for my family”. With this allegedly lovely and selfless intention to financially support your family in the name of love, you are very likely to fall.
But if he fails in that attempt, he´ll do what it takes to take you out of the working force or prevent you from working. Other more overt forms are preventing you from attending a job, showing up and harassing while on the job, placing you between the 21% and 60% of victims of domestic violence that, according to Rothman, E. F. et al. (2007), “lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse”.
I´ll take care of the bills, so you don´t have to worry about it
As moms, paying the bills is one of those boring activities we have to do every month that gives us access to the household income. We need to manage a certain amount of money to do it and the abusers know that we can keep some pocket money after the payments. When they want to reduce or limit your access to money they´ll come with the seemingly loving phrase: “I´ll take care of the bills, so you don´t have to worry about it”.
You won´t notice his ulterior motive and you´ll accept it because you love and trust him. You´ll look at this as an act that shows you how much he cares for you that he is willing to help you with the household duties. However, you are placing yourself in a position to have no money on a regular basis, having to ask him for money even for little things like food and toiletries. How “lovely” is that?
I´m better at savings so let´s put the money in my account
In terms of employment and earning, we women are working more than ever and we are earning more than ever (despite the gap between our male counterparts). Yet, when it comes to managing our finances we are less empowered. According to a 2015 study from Prudential, women are less confident than men when it comes to their belief in their knowledge of financial matters.
This fact may be the reason why we tend to delegate our finances to our partners. “I am better at savings, so let´s put the money in my account” is a trap the abusers will use to manage all the household income after paying all the bills. We tend to agree to such proposal because we look at this as a loving gesture from our partner to make our life easier. What is more, we trust them and getting rid of this responsibility–with all the others chores we have to handle as moms–it sounds like a relief. Once you agree, all your money will go to his account and sooner or later you´ll need to ask him for every penny you need to spend and he´ll make you accountable for it.
I´ll take care of you because I love you
“I´ll take care of you because I love you!” What woman does not surrender to such lovely and powerful words? In an abusive pattern, he´ll try to keep you apart from your loved ones. To achieve that goal, he´ll take advantage of any situation while you are feeling disappointed, disillusioned, confused or deceived with one of your closest relatives or friend, and he´ll use it to sow tares among you.
He´ll present himself as the only one that really loves you, the only one that will be there for you forever. He´ll aim that you do the same for him and as a proof of your unconditional love, he may convince you to stop talking to family and friends or to move to a different state, far from them.
However, this deceiving phrase will come after he is sure that you are deeply seduced, charmed and in love with him, when he has developed a tight bond between the both of you and that he knows that you trust him unconditionally.
This way, he´ll be setting the trap to isolate you while you are slowly slipping into financial abuse.
Let´s have another baby!
This is another excuse they can use to induce financial abuse. It could sound weird that having a baby can be used as an excuse, especially if you have one or more kids and you know how overwhelming, stressing, challenging, messy, yet adorable, graceful and surprisingly awesome they can be. However, sometimes “let´s have another baby” can make you fall into the trap.
If you are a mom who has a traditional job or is looking for one, having more than one baby will decrease your chances to go back to work. The more kids you have, the less likely you are to return because of the high cost of childcare. Abusers know it and may use it to manipulate you to be pregnant almost every other year of the relationship. It will cause you to be fully dependent on him taking away your financial sufficiency and independence. It will prevent you not only from working but from leaving the relationship (if you want to) because you´ll need to supply for you and your children and you won’t have enough money.
The deceiving phrases above are all relationship red flags that you should take into consideration to prevent financial abuse. It doesn´t mean that anytime you hear one of them you need to worry about it, yet you should take a closer look at your relationship to identify the root beneath his motive.
If you find a genuine loving interest to help and care, then you´re lucky to be married to a supportive, loving and caring man and I encourage you to keep enjoying your love. Nevertheless, if you cannot be sure of the true intention, you may want to identify other signs of controlling and manipulative behavior and if you find more than one, then I encourage you to learn more about financial abuse to see if your situation matches the description. If it does match, you should take the necessary steps to prevent domestic financial abuse. Once you unlock the truth you´ll be able to make wiser decisions that will impact your present and future life.
Which one of these phrases resonate with you? Can you tell by these phrases that your husband is controlling your finances? Comment and enjoy the conversation below!