Yes, unbeknownst to me back then, it’s relevant and prevalent now more than ever.
My abuser controlled and crippled me financially to be reliant solely on him.
It took me quite a while to get my head around that one of the biggest weapons in Domestic Abuse is Financial Power and Control.
My breaking point was when he told me I had to start paying him weekly amount (to be determined by him) because one of my children still lived with us and cost him money.
Let’s just clarify right now, my child’s father has dutifully always paid child support, and as an over above has been generous to bridge the gap on any big items i.e. Medical or School fees. I do not buy any expensive things, I live modestly and I treat all my children fairly and love them equally. But we’re not playing fair here, we’re under the rules of my husband the abuser.
You see I was being punished for getting a job. My first job in over 6 years!
He was furious that I managed to succeed even with him putting so many obstacles in my way, but I didn’t get there on my own – I had lots of help and a bit of luck thrown in!
It took me a while to find the type of job that I could manage with all the limits he put onto me, I knew he would make it so difficult,but I was willing to do almost anything to earn a living (and some independence) at this point.
I had been wanting to go back to work for a few years, but that was met first by discouragement, then disdain and finally downright refusal. From insults to my intelligence and capability, to denying me any free time to commit to an interview, let alone to keep down any regular job.
Suddenly his career required longer hours and more frequent travel away from home, so I was needed to stay at home and look after the kids.
I would try and plead my case ;
“I just want to find a healthy balance for me, I love being a mother AND I want to work part time”.
I tried placating him“I’ll be so much happier, a better wife to you and mother to the kids too.”
I didn’t remind him that he would frequently drum into me at any opportunity, and especially if I enquired about“our”finances;
“We can’t get ahead until you go back to work”
“Its because you don’t work that we don’t ever have enough money.”
Yeah thought it best not to go there, I don’t need another repeat of this argument.
But between you and I what was stuck in my throat, what I really wanted to scream out loud was:
HOW DARE YOU!
YOU control all the money
YOU spend all the money
YOU only give me a tiny amount to buy food and pay some bills with
YOU question any amount that you don’t recognise on a statement
YOU keep a separate secret account I am not allowed to see
YOU have personal loans and credit cards you don’t want me to know about
Yet YOU only buy the best of everything for yourself
But all that came out of my mouth was the reply “how much do you want?” And right there and then, my first minimal pay check went to re-paying him 4 weeks for my child to live in their own home, with their own mother and siblings.
A flick switched in my brain that day, one moment that after 7 years FINALLY broke me. I had wanted to get there so much sooner, so many times I thought about it and tried leaving only to return to him and his increase in control and abuse.
So many times i drew a different line in the sand, secretly telling myself “Right if this happens I am leaving no matter what”.
Enough is enough, I reached my limit.
My job gave me more than you can imagine; independence,freedom, confidence and an escape. It also made it much easier to leave with having regained some power back, although it meant an increase in his control and abuse it also indicated that I was on track again and working towards a life away from him. I found the extra effort to stand fast and hold my ground,lead to taking the first step of a life without abuse.
Have you drawn an imaginary line in the sand on the limit you can endure?
How many moments have you felt “enough is enough” but can’t manage or are too scared to make the next step to do anything about it?
We are here to help guide you YOU ARE NOT ALONE.