How to Spot Signs of Financial Abuse in Your Marriage and How to Divorce a Narcissist
How to Spot Signs of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse, both in relationships and against the elderly. In relationships, the abuse is often about having control over the other person. When it happens to the elderly, it is usually because they are vulnerable and easily taken advantage of. If you suspect you are a victim of financial abuse or an elderly loved one is, look for a few red flags, and then take steps to stop the abuse.
Identifying Financial Abuse in Relationships
Watch if your significant other takes charge of your money.One of the signs of financial abuse in a relationship is one of the partners demanding to control the finances. This could mean forcing you to hand over your paycheck to your partner, and then only receiving a small allowance.
- Only one person having access to the bank account is also a sign that abuse could be taking place.
Look at your credit reports and credit card statements frequently.Abusers often forge documents in order to open credit in their partner’s name. Then, they often destroy the credit so that the other is left with limited financial choices when it comes to leaving the relationship.
- Monitor your credit score often to see if you have lines of credit you didn’t know about. Also, check your statements each month to look for charges you didn’t make.
Take note if your partner tracks everything you spend.Abusers often control their significant others by wanting to know how much they spend. Your partner may ask you for receipts or even become angry if you buy something without asking first. The abuser may then limit the amount of money given to you as a punishment.
Identifying Financial Abuse in the Elderly
Examine the person’s home and financial situation.Take a look around the potential victim’s home for signs that items are missing, or that their living conditions have changed for the worse. They could be signs that someone is stealing their possessions or that they don’t have enough money now because it has gone missing from their account.
- If possible, look at the person’s bills to see if they are being paid and on time; if not, it could be a sign that money is being taken away from them.
Monitor the person’s credit reports.Abusers may take out credit cards in the elderly person’s name. If possible, ask the elderly person if the accounts that are open are actually theirs. If not, report the abuser to the police.
- You can help an elderly person who is being abused financially by setting up insurance against identity theft and starting credit monitoring. Talk to your bank or local insurance company to learn how.
Ask questions.Ask the elderly person if they’ve interacted with any salespeople or given money to them. Elderly people are often victims of scams because they are trusting, and may not understand what is actually going on. If your loved one has purchased any kind of new property, made recent investments, or the like, they may have actually been scammed.
- Ask to see any documents that pertain to the money spent, and examine them yourself to see if they are legitimate. You might say, “Dad, where did you get this new gadget?... Can I see the paperwork and receipts they gave you in the store?”
Stopping Financial Abuse
Save little by little.If you’re in a relationship, take money discreetly from your account or out of your paycheck and save it so that you can eventually leave, if you can. Hide the money in a secret savings account or leave it with someone you trust. Overtime, you may have enough saved up so that you can leave the relationship and start a life on your own.
- You may have to get a secret additional job in order to save enough money, or if you are unable to take money from your account without it being noticed. Use the guise of volunteering or that you are spending time with your friends and family to cover for the time you are away while working.
Change personal codes.Contact your bank or that of an elderly loved one and change PIN codes and other personal information so that the abuser doesn’t have access to the money. Additionally, get in touch credit card companies to change the password so that no one can track activity but the designated account holder.
- You may also want to remove your partner or others as an authorized user on bank accounts or credit cards so that no one else has the right to withdraw money or use cards.
Speak up.Confront the person you believe is taking advantage of an elderly loved one. Ask the person you think may be exploiting the elderly person to explain any recent big purchases or questionable behavior. If their explanation doesn’t make sense, you should trust your gut and suspicions. Contact the proper authorities to take action against this person.
- You might say, “I noticed that Mom has a lot of recent online purchases…Can you explain these?”
- Quite often, people who take advantage of the elderly are those who are the closest to them. Adult children or live-in caregivers often have access to the elderly person’s accounts and are commonly those who commit the financial abuse.
End relationships with abusers.If you are in a romantic entanglement or the friend or relative of someone who is committing financial abuse, it may be wise to separate yourself from this person. In many cases, it may be difficult to do so because the person may be near and dear to your heart.
- If you have trouble becoming estranged from a financial abuses, consult with an attorney or financial advisor who has experience with such matters. You might say, “My husband’s gambling habit has ruined my credit and I don’t know how to handle this situation.
Video: Top 10 Signs of Financial Abuse in Narcissistic Relationships
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