Before I begin I would like to mention, if you feel uncomfortable or this blog post triggers stress, flashback, or warnings, please seek self-care or help. I will be speaking of my abuse in some detail.
The other day I came across an article on a Facebook post from the StrongHearts Native Helpline. The article entitled, “How to Identify Financial Abuse in a Relationship” drew me in and I clicked on the link.
The opening line of this article stated, “When you think of domestic abuse, most likely the first thing that comes to mind is verbal abuse and physical assault.” This is so very true for most individuals. Even for myself.
I was young when I first experienced abuse in a relationship and I didn’t know what abuse was. I thought abuse was when a person physically attacks and gives you bruises or causes bleeding from the attack and rape. I didn’t know it came in other forms of verbal, emotional, spiritual, sexual, and financial. I think back and wonder if I had known this I would have left the very moment my ex, punched a hole in the wall and I wouldn’t have stayed in that relationship for 4 years.
Being young I was scared all the time. I was walking on eggshells thinking he would leave me, he would hurt me more, he would blame me for something, or something even worst. Every time we argued, I was scared for my life. Once, I became so scared that I slapped him hard and made his nosebleed. At the time I thought I better throw the first slap before he does. That’s how scared I was.
During our last year together, I started to hide my money from him. There were days we didn’t eat or he would share my food at restaurants because we “didn’t have enough” to eat out. I would also have to lie in order to see my friends for lunch or dinner or just to visit them. This whole time he would use the money for over-the-counter medications to get high. At the time, I didn’t know this was financial abuse. All I thought was I need to hide my money, so when he’s at work I can get myself food, or my personal needs.
Then one day he stopped going to work altogether and put more pressure on me to support him. I should note that I didn’t have a job. I was a college student and was given about $120 each week from my dad to help with gas and food. I felt stressed because I didn’t know where to turn too.
During my time in the abusive relationship, I didn’t feel like I had a safe place to turn to. I felt this way because I knew would get the blame for choosing him as my partner. Or that it’s my fault I chose to stay with him, even though red flags were everywhere.
Our society conditions our girls to believe it is our fault for whatever abuse we encounter. Our society is quick to point our fingers at the victim and protect the perpetrator. Our society is teaching it’s okay to be abusive to one another.
When it comes to money matters, most females may feel like they have no place to turn because they are lacking money. They often stay in these types of relationships because they cannot afford their own place to live or feed or clothe themselves. It’s even more difficult when they have children. They may also feel, they need to quit their job because their partner is jealous of their position at work, or who they work with. Or they also have to lie about where they were when they see their friends. I know there are many more stories out there of financial abuse. (*NOTE: I didn’t touch upon males or elder financial abuse, giving the fact I told my story, which is a woman’s point of view.)
In all honesty, it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I learned financial abuse is a real thing. It makes me wonder how can we teach our babies, our families, and our communities that is a form of abuse. Or any abuse for that matter.
We need to raise awareness and educate one another the best we can. I also wanted to give you hope if you are going through this right now. I encourage each of you to click on the following link to read about signs of financial abuse, https://www.verywellmind.com/financial-abuse-4155224.
Please seek help from a family member, friend, counselor or helplines.
- The Strong Hearts Native Helpline is a safe, anonymous and confidential service for Native Americans. Advocates are available at no cost Monday-Friday from 9:00am-5:30pm CST. 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline the Hotline provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to empower victims and survivors to find safety and live free of abuse. We also provide support to friends and family members who are concerned about a loved one. Resources and help can be found by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing may use TTY 1-800-787-3224. Additionally, advocates who are Deaf are available 24/7 through the National Deaf Hotline by video phone at 1-855-812-1001, Instant Messenger (DeafHotline) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If it’s not safe for you to call, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, another option for getting direct help is to use our live chat service here on this website. You’ll receive the same one-on-one, real-time, confidential support from a trained advocate as you would on the phone. Chat is available every day from 24/7/365. El chat en español está disponible de 12 p.m. a 6 p.m. Hora Central.