Financial abuse: Is it a form of domestic violence?

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When we hear the phrase domestic violence, most of the time we think of the terms battering, assault, and the like. Of cause when a partner hits the other, there is a lot of emotional abuse as well. The physical bruises may heal and fade but the psychological scars never heal. You know the saying ‘forgive and forget’. Well, forgiving an abusive person is possible with time but your mind erasing the incident(s) in your memory is close to impossible.

Physical abuse and emotional torture in relationships is something most people are aware of. There is another form of domestic violence called financial abuse. When we talk of violence, we are talking about both men and women. Women are not the only ones suffering in marriages and relationships. Men also go through it. It is crucial that we make this aspect crystal clear, that even women can be abusive.

What are the signs of financial abuse? Perhaps you have a lover or better half who restricts your spending, yet money is not a problem. The abuser might keep telling you how much you waste money even when you are spending it on a worthwhile item or course including food and other basic needs.

The other sign of financial abuse is identity theft. The person you love takes advantage of your trust and uses your documents to solicit money from different sources such as the bank. It is a disheartening experience that no one should ever go through.

In Kenya where mobile lending ups are popular, your significant other could use your credentials to acquire a loan without your consent. I mean all he or she needs is your phone number and ID number and you are in debt.

You deposit cash in your mobile account or someone sends you money and you start getting messages of deductions. It is hard to believe that someone you trust can do such a thing to you but it is possible. So you start paying debts you never had because those mobile loan companies can be ruthless with frequent warning messages.

Even when money is a problem in your relationship, a financial abuser can still find ways to ‘torture’ you. For example, he or she may sell your appliances or valuables more than one time and it is as if they are not even sorry about it. One time is forgivable, but twice or thrice, that is domestic violence.

No one should ever suffer any form of domestic violence be it physical, emotional, of financial abuse. It may take some time to get of an abusive relationship. However, with a willing heart, you can free yourself from a financial abuser.

Nonetheless, matters of the heart are complicated. May be you still love your partner and you are having a hard time leaving. It is possible that the other person has a psychological problem that causes him or her to strain you financially. You want to make things work.

Seek support from friends and family, or a see therapist to determine whether you can help the person you love. If it does not work out, then get out of that relationship. Otherwise, you may never be happy for rest of your life because your partner restricts you in how much you spend or hurts your finances in one way or another.

See also: What it takes for a woman to physically abuse her man

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