There are no shortages of articles and internet resources about financial abuse money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2011/04/26/how-to-stop-domestic-financial-abuse is one really good example. For those of us pressed for time, and who isn’t, let’s see if we can boil this down to a paragraph or two (or maybe three; what can I say? I am verbose). Abuse is always about power and control. It is about oppression for the sake of being in total control. An abusive relationship is marked by one’s coercive control over another. This is done in 100’s of ways, including physical and verbal assault, but it is also carried out in hundreds of less obvious ways. Financial abuse is basically controlling money to the point of oppressing one’s victim.
It is not about money; it is not about how much money is available? It is not about whether one is rich or poor. It is about control. So what does this look like? Let’s look at the Tina and Ike Turner story as described in What’s Love Got to do With It? Tina Turner was (and still is) a huge and iconic pop star. Turner’s lifestyle, to the average person, is one of superstar status, privilege and opulence. But even with all that money, she had no control over it. Ike controlled all the finances; when she wanted to escape his assault, she has to beg a hotel manager to let her stay there, because she didn’t have money to pay for the hotel.
There is no difference between the perceived lavish riches of Tina Turner and a recent victim, Mary, who described living in abject poverty. Her husband would give her $40.00 for groceries for her and the 2 children and then leave on “business” for a month. When he returned, he would say she was stupid for not having food in the house. As a household, they were not impoverished. The husband had enough money to travel and pay rent, but his “allowance” for her to manage the house was insignificant, controlling and dangerously abusive. Tina Turner and this woman were living the same life! Forced dependency is very, very scary. How can one leave if they have no resources?
As important as money is, it is not about having enough of it; it is a matter of getting out from under the abuser’s thumb. Ultimately Tina Turner figured that out and so did Mary. Both are living abuse free lives albeit in completely different economic strata. Once free from abuse, people can begin to pick up the pieces of their lives, including the economic piece. The single most important factor for victims to get out from under the abuser’s control is emotional support from others. If victims are supported, they can rebuild both emotionally and financially. It is not easy, but both Tina and Mary are examples that it can be done.
Blog post by Lil Corcorane