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Controlling Relationships – Are You Being Controlled Financially by Your Intimate Partner?

What is the difference between financial dependence and intimate partner abusive control? Often times I hear these terms used interchangeably, but I see them as very different.

You can be in an intimate relationship in which you are the economically un-empowered partner and not be a victim of intimate partner abuse. And you can be in an abusive relationship in which you are the economically empowered partner. Yes, you heard that right.

While it is true that more often financial control is a part of the control dynamic in abusive relationships, they don’t always go hand-in-hand.

Financial Dependence and Control

Just as two people differ in their appearance and personality, so do they in their financial statements. It is not uncommon to see one partner financially dependent on the other. Sometimes it is by their mutual conscious decision to enable one person to further their education or to raise young children at home.

Other times it is the mere disparity in assets that deems one person dependent on the other. The person of lesser means grows dependent on their partner for the life-style they rely on and have become accustomed to. And the financial control they experience is self-assigned rather than partner required.

Financial control that is a by-product of abusive relationships has more of an imprisoned feel to it. Your decisions about money are not yours, and reaching for financial independence is unheard of within the relationship.

People who must succumb to their partner’s will for the sake of food and shelter know financial control as economic imprisonment. Those who cannot access lose change for personal expenditures know financial control as a liberty robber. And those who pay a penalty for the use of relationship funds become dysfunctional about and around financial freedom. From their perspective, it’s foreign exchange.

Abusive Relationships and Financial Control

Controlling another person’s access to and use of finances that come into a marital relationship-otherwise deemed as marital assets-is classic financial control. It is one of the ways a controlling spouse maintains control over their partner.

Essentially, it aids in creating a wall of isolation around the financially un-empowered person. And this wall is the primary barrier that sustains the silence, which keeps the abusive relationship intact. In your intimate relationship, do you have the freedom to make or contribute to financial decisions? Do you enjoy access to the means to support everyday needs within your family budget?

Are you reprimanded or punished by your partner when you exercise financial privilege in your relationship? Your answers to these questions will help you distinguish between financial control and financial dependence. Source by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

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