Tag Archives: financial

Red Flags That Don’t Seem So Bad At First

Everyone knows some basic red flags in relationships that people can show, such as lying, cheating, stealing money or possessions.  There are other ones though that don’t seem terrible at first but they actually are bad.  Many of these relate to romantic relationships, but in some cases, even abusive friends can behave in similar ways.

When someone is jealous of time that you spend with friends or family, that is a red flag.  It really isn’t normal for someone to be jealous of time spent with the other people in your life unless you are obviously out of balance. (Such as ignoring your spouse to spend time with your family on a regular basis.)  This could be a sign of the jealous person wanting to isolate you, so they can abuse you without interference from other people.

Along those same lines is the person who does their best to discourage you from spending time with your friends & family.  Naturally if someone is toxic, anyone who loves you will want you to stay away from that toxic person.  If that is not the case though, someone who behaves this way is trying to isolate a person from people who love them.

Constantly calling &/or texting can be another red flag.  We all have people we’re especially close to.  They are the ones we call & text often possibly even a couple of times a day.  Even so, these people know when we are going to be busy & don’t call or text at that time.  Abusive people will call & text constantly even during those times.  They have no problem interrupting your time spent with that friend you haven’t seen in years or while you’re busy studying for a test.  They do this in order to keep tabs on what you are doing to be sure you aren’t doing something they disapprove of & also to annoy the person you’re with enough that they will end the time spent together early so you will return to them.

Money can be another red flag.  If someone constantly asks to borrow money from you that they never pay back, even with what sounds like good excuses, that is someone irresponsible with money who will take advantage of you.  Or, if you’re married to someone who controls all the money & won’t discuss what they do with it, that is another huge red flag.  That is a controlling person who probably also has something to hide. 

Similarly, the husband who wants you to stay home so he can “take care of you” isn’t necessarily as loving as he may sound.  Many abusive husbands start their financial abuse of their wives by gently suggesting they quit their job & let him take care of her.  Over time, he renders her unable to find or keep a job if she opts to return to the work force.  He can refuse to repair her car or give her money for the train to go to work, or if she does get a job, he may frequently call her or demand she leave early so her boss fires her.

Wanting you to look as they want to is another red flag.  People who love you may have opinions on your clothes, hair & makeup but they won’t tell you how they think you should look.  A controlling person may come across nicely by saying they think you look good when you look a certain way, but eventually that gives way to demanding you look the way they want you to.

There are some red flags where sex is concerned, too.  Violently raping someone isn’t the only way a person can abuse sexually.  Trying to coerce someone who doesn’t want to have sex by using guilt, shaming someone for not wanting to do certain activities or trying to get someone drunk or high in order to have sex with them or get them to do something they are against are also abusive behaviors.

If someone you know behaves in any of these ways, know that this is just the tip of the abusive iceberg.  It is going to get so much worse!  Please protect yourself & abandon this relationship as soon as possible!

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When People Say Things They Shouldn’t To Abuse Victims

Admitting you were abused or hearing stories by other people of abuse they endured is very uncomfortable & unpleasant.  No one wants to talk about abuse.  I sure don’t!  I’d love to write about more pleasant topics & never think about the abuse I endured ever again.  Yet, I know this is impossible.  Even if I quit writing about it, the aftermath of abuse never goes away.  It’s always there to some degree, so talking about it is normal.  Most people talk about abuse in their past either slightly, a lot like me or mostly somewhere in between.

Anyone who has decided to open up about abuse has learned that not everyone is a willing, compassionate listener.  When you gather your courage to discuss the most painful experiences of your life only to be met with invalidation, it can be incredibly painful.  I hope to help you learn some ways to cope with that in this post by sharing some common comments people make to abuse survivors.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?”  Many people who haven’t survived abuse don’t understand why a victim wouldn’t reach out for help.  It’s totally acceptable to educate anyone who asks this question.  Abusers threaten their victims to keep quiet.  They also tell their victims no one will believe them.  They even destroy their victim’s self esteem to the point the victim believes no one would care anyway, so there isn’t a point in telling anyone.

“You shouldn’t talk about this.  It’s not the Christian thing to do, making him/her look bad.”  People who say this are often also survivors of abuse, yet who lack the courage to face their pain.  Others facing their pain makes these folks feel badly, so they try to shut down the open person.  Often, there is no getting through to these people, so it is best not to discuss abuse with them.  It is vital to know though that there is nothing “un-Christian” about discussing your experiences.  You aren’t making the abuser look bad.  The abuser already did that by being abusive.

“Are you really sure that’s what happened?”  This comment is often said by someone who knows both victim & abuser.  This is said by someone who really doesn’t want to accept that someone they care about is capable of such awful behavior.  It also is said by a narcissist’s flying monkey who is trying to instill doubt in the victim so they tolerate more abuse from the narcissist.  Take this comment as a red flag that the person saying it is NOT safe!  Don’t discuss your experiences with this person.  Doing so only will lead to you being hurt, possibly also being the victim of a smear campaign.

“Nobody’s parents are perfect,” “No one gets along perfectly with their parents,” or “Everyone has childhood hurts.”  When a person says these statements, it hurts.  They are lumping vicious abuse in the same category as simple personality differences.  So invalidating!!  Shock value can make a person realize how foolish their words are.  Saying something like, “So my mother berating me to the point of obliterating my self esteem while I was a child is the same as another mother not letting her child wear a certain shirt to school?  That’s what it sounds like you’re saying, & I disagree with you.”

“Stop thinking about it” or “Stop dwelling in the past!”  Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy?!  Again, it’s acceptable to educate whoever asks this question.  Tell them that C-PTSD & PTSD are common after abuse, & are brought on by experiencing such horrific trauma, it literally broke a person’s brain.  A quality these disorders share is constantly reliving the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts.  Not thinking about things is impossible when your brain won’t let you.

“Why would you talk about this now, all this time later?”  When in the midst of suffering abuse, the victim is busy trying to survive.  Talking about it at the time rarely seems important.  Once the victim is safe, survival mode ends & this person can think clearer.  They often try to process what they just escaped by talking about it.  Or, they are triggered by something… a sound, smell, someone that reminds them of their abuser in some way.  Not a lot of people are aware of this, & that may be the case with the person who says this to you.  Tell him or her.

“You’ll get over it,” “It could’ve been so much worse!” or, “Look for the positive in everything!”  Such comments are what I think of as toxic positivity.  While it is good to be positive, too positive is unhealthy.  It’s unrealistic which easily can lead to disappointment.  Comments like this also make a victim feel ashamed for still being affected by the trauma or needing to discuss it in order to heal.  Don’t waste your time talking about past trauma to people like this.  You’ll only end up hurt by their calloused words.

“At least he/she didn’t hit you!”  A common belief is that the only type of abuse is physical.  Anyone subjected to narcissistic abuse knows this is utter nonsense.  Emotional, mental, sexual, financial & spiritual abuse are all horrific forms of abuse.  They simply don’t leave the clearly visible scars that physical abuse does.  The uneducated need to be aware of this, including the person who says this to you..  You can also tell them that PTSD & C-PTSD are physical damage done to the brain by exposure to abuse & trauma.

“What did you do to make him/her treat you that way?”  This invalidating & shaming statement is so common!  It makes victims feel responsible for the terrible things their abuser did to them, & that is utterly wrong!  No one can make another person abuse them, period, no matter what they do or don’t do.  Did Jack the Ripper’s victims do anything to make him kill them?  What about Ted Bundy’s victims?  No.  These men saw an opportunity & took advantage of it.  Their victims did nothing to deserve what these killers did to them.  This is a point which you can bring up to the person who says such a disgusting statement.

“You should be more patient with him/her!”  No.  Just no.  The more patient you are with an abuser, the more they will abuse you because they see that you will tolerate a lot.  It could help to ask this person why should anyone be understanding with someone who repeatedly hurts them & shows no desire to improve their behavior?

“You should be more careful when picking your romantic partners!”  This statement is nothing but victim blaming.  What the heartless person saying this fails to realize yet needs to know is abusers can come across any way they like – very charming, kind, compassionate, romantic, successful.  They rarely are abusive monsters 24/7.  If they were, no one would get involved with them because it would be clear what they were really like.  They lure victims in by appearing to be much better people than they truly are.  While this seems like common sense, unfortunately it isn’t.  The person who says this statement to you needs to be educated!  Tell them this!

Unfortunately, there always will be people who don’t understand what it’s like to survive abuse.  There also will be people who want to silence victims, no matter how much or little they discuss their experiences.  The more you heal, the less these people will bother you, I’m happy to say.  I also hope this post has helped you to learn some ways to deal with these people!  xoxo

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Types Of Abuse That Are Rarely Recognized As Abuse

When most people think of an abusive person, they think of someone who is physically abusive, such as the man who beats his wife & children.  Some may also think of a verbally abusive person, too.  There is so much more to abuse than these two methods, however!  Narcissists often use the following tactics, so it’s wise to be aware of them.

Forcing a person to do something they don’t want to do is abuse.  This can include anything, such as following unreasonable rules, looking a certain way or even performing sexual acts.  The forcing can be accomplished in many ways, like withholding money, using intimidation, guilt or shaming or simply telling the victim there is no choice in this matter.

An extremely possessive & jealous romantic partner is being abusive.  Almost everyone has a little bit of possessiveness & jealousy in them, & that is normal.  Being upset someone flirted with your spouse is bound to bring out that jealous streak.  What is not normal in that situation is if someone becomes enraged at their spouse, accusing them of having an affair with the person who flirted with them or even resorting to physical violence.  When your partner’s jealousy makes you afraid to speak with anyone your partner doesn’t approve of, this is a sign that their behavior is abusive.

Giving no privacy is abusive.  Unless you have given someone a valid reason not to trust you, such as if you cheated on your spouse, there is no good reason for you not to have privacy in your relationships.  It’s healthy for each person in a relationship, any relationship, to have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Each person should be able to trust that the other person won’t snoop through their emails, phone, purse, etc.  Snooping makes a person feel guilty & paranoid about everything, even when they have no reason to feel that way.  It’s a miserable way to live!

Isolation is abuse.  If the other person you’re in a relationship with tries to keep you from seeing your friends & family, this is a huge red flag!  Abusers of all kinds like to isolate their victims as a means of being able to control them.  Isolation limits the information, help & support a victim can receive, which makes them easier to abuse.

Intimidation is also abuse.  My ex husband used to punch walls sometimes when he was angry with me.  He even told me that I was lucky he hit the wall instead of me, because that was what he wanted to do.  Intimidation also can come in the form of someone telling you that they’ll tell everyone you know private things about you & that no one will want anything to do with you after they know those things.

Keeping you from accessing any money is abusive.  Naturally parents don’t allow their children to access their bank accounts, but they also don’t restrict their children from working.  They also don’t expect their children to give them most of their paycheck for rent.  A spouse that refuses to add your name to bank accounts or credit cards, or prevents you from working is also being abusive.

Using religion to force you to behave as they want is abusive.  Spiritual abuse seems to be on the rise.  It can come from those in the church, spouses & even parents.  Spiritual abuse is when someone tries to manipulate your behavior by twisting Scripture around to justify their abusing you or manipulating you into doing what they want.  This is one more reason I believe it’s wise to have plenty of knowledge of the Bible.  People who spiritually abuse can be quite convincing with what they have to say.  The best way to combat this is to have knowledge of the Bible & a relationship with God.

Just remember, Dear Reader, anyone who shows these behaviors is being abusive.  Don’t tell yourself it’s no big deal, it doesn’t mean anything or any other excuses.  These behaviors are abusive & you have every right to protect yourself!

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About Coercive Control

Narcissists clearly are experts in the area of controlling.  One lesser known tactic they use is called coercive control.  It is most commonly known to happen in romantic relationships, but it also can happen in parent/child relationships.

Coercive control doesn’t always involve physical violence, yet victims wonder if they don’t obey the narcissist, will it turn violent one day?  Fear is a great weapon, & those who use coercive control are well aware of that fact.  Often without so much as touching their victim, they instill a deep fear in them.

There are other signs of coercive control that people need to be aware of abusers using.

Intimidation is a big red flag.  Towards the end of my first marriage, my ex was trying to intimidate me by punching things other than me.  After, he would tell me how lucky I was he was hitting the walls instead of me.  Other forms of intimidation can include showing weapons, blocking you from leaving the room or standing over you in a way as to make themselves look much bigger than you.

“Minor” violent acts.  I hate to use the word minor with violent acts because it sounds like it’s trivializing violence.  That isn’t my intention.  What I mean is acts like pushing, holding you in place or even pinching hard.  These are so called minor violent acts.

Using threats to control.  Threatening to leave you, to commit suicide or hurt your child or pet in order to get what they want fall into the category of coercive control.

Micromanaging a victim.  When someone controls things like how you dress or how you wash the dishes, it makes you easy to control because in time, you feel as if you must ask your partner for permission to do everything.   Some parents continue treating their adult child as if they were young children in need of their guidance well into adulthood.  This is known as infantilization.

Financial abuse.  An abusive partner will keep their mate in the relationship by destroying their credit, spending all of their paychecks or refusing them all access to the couple’s finances.

Isolation is another form of coercive control.  It’s no secret that abusers isolate their victims.  Isolation makes victims easy to control by limiting the information & support they can receive from outside sources.  Abusers may claim their victims’ friends or family aren’t good for them as one way to isolate their victims.

Sex is a very commonly used method of coercive control.  Abusers may violently rape their victims of course, but that isn’t always the case.  Many use shame, saying things like, “Any other woman in the world would do this one little thing for me…” or, “If you loved me, you would do this for me.”  They also may be very good lovers at first to get you hooked on sex with them, then in time, they suddenly lose interest in having sex with you.  When you practically beg them is when they have power over you.  They use the opportunity to tell you what they want from you that will make them regain interest in sex.

When things like this happen, it’s not easy to identify these behaviors as abusive at first.  Abusers get worse gradually, to build a victim’s tolerance to abuse.  This is probably why so many victims stay… it happened so gradually, they didn’t even realize it was happening.  By the time they did, they felt unable to escape.

If this describes you or someone you know, please get out NOW!!!  These behaviors are all signs of a potentially violent person!  Protect yourself & stay safe!  xoxo

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Financial Abuse

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Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is a little known type of abuse that narcissists often use on their victims.  It is a very effective way to keep someone under control, after all.

For convenience sake, we’ll assume in this article the financial abuser is male, victim female.

While dating, a financial abuser obviously can’t have the deep level of control that a married financial abuser can have.  However, he still can exert some control.  It probably will start small, like him asking to borrow $20 until payday.  Most people experience this at some point, so it’s no red flag,  Plus, it’s only $20.  Then he needs more & more, $50 or $100.  Or maybe he asks to use your credit card, claiming he’ll pay it off soon.  The problem is he never pays that money back.  And, if you say anything, he gets extremely angry.  You learn quickly it’s easiest just to give him money & not expect it to be repaid.  I went through this when dating my ex husband.  Even though he knew perfectly well how tight money was for me when we first got together, he still asked to “borrow” money often, & never paid it back.  By the time we got married a bit over 2 years later, I figured he’d taken well over $400 from me.

Sometimes an abuser controls his or her victim’s finances completely.   The victim has no access to bank accounts or credit cards.  Receipts are demanded so every penny can be tracked.  My mother did this to my father.  He got a small “allowance” while she paid all the bills, saved money, etc.  True, she was very good with money & maybe because of that should have been in charge of their finances to a degree.  But, he had literally no say in where money was spent & didn’t know how much was saved either.  My husband & I have a similar arrangement, but the healthy version.  I tell him where every penny I spend goes (even though he doesn’t ask) & he doesn’t get an “allowance.”  He has full access to all accounts, too, just like I do.

Sometimes financial abusers prevent their victim from working.  They may tell their victim outright that she isn’t allowed to work.  Or, they may sabotage her job somehow, such as by forcing her to call out often or making her run late so often that she gets fired.

Another trick of financial abusers is to ruin their victim’s credit.  If the victim has her own income & wants to leave, one way to prevent that is by ruining her credit.  How could she rent an apartment or buy a home when her credit score is 450 & her credit report is full of charged off bad debt?  It’s impossible.  He can ruin her credit by charging up her credit cards or taking out loans in her name, then refusing to pay the bills.

Some male financial abusers also keep their wives pregnant.  They may sabotage birth control so she gets pregnant.  If she has babies often, no matter how employable she may be, financially it just makes more sense for her to stay home rather than pay for expensive day care for several children.  These abusers get what they want in many ways by doing this-  they have more children to abuse/gain narcissistic supply from, their wife stays home as they want, they take away her independence & they feel powerful & in control.

There is hope for victims though, especially if you’re creative.

Ask safe friends & family for any help or advice they may have.  They may help you financially or give you some advice you hadn’t thought of.

Local churches or domestic violence hotlines can help as well.  Also, look into requirements for getting food stamps & public assistance.  No, no one wants to do this, but they can help you until you get on your feet.

Skim any little bit of money you can.  Every little bit will help you!

If at all possible, get some sort of job in secret.  Babysit while he’s at work or walk dogs.

If your credit is bad, get a secured credit card to help you reestablish your credit.  A secured card is one you send money to, then use it to pay for things instead of the other way around.  Since there is no risk of customers not paying their debt, companies give these cards out freely, even to people with less than stellar credit.

Most of all, never forget to pray.  God will help you to find ways to escape this insidiously abusive situation.

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