An abuser will not only endeavour to take his victims self worth, control of her own decisions, life choices and confidence, he will also try to take away all of her financial security. She may have had her own car, home, bank account and savings before he met her, or she may have entered into what seemed a wonderful partnership, back then when he was the man she fell in love with, and slowly, gradually, he may have asked her to ‘just sign a few things for me’, said ‘we don’t need a joint account’, and one day so lovingly said ‘I don’t want my princess to work’. The real reason? During one explosive episode, he reveals he thinks she’s been having an affair with a co-worker. They both know she hasn’t, but she doesn’t go back again. It was his way to gain control over where she is. So now she’s stuck in the house, he leaves her money on the side before he goes to work in the morning. She hoovers, and irons, and hovers again. He comes home late, smelling of booze, and he’s going out again, but his favourite shirt is in the wash. She’s lazy and useless, what the fuck does she do all day? Where is his money? He bets she’s spent it on shit coffee gossiping with her mate all day. But she has no mates. The money went on bread and milk and nappies for his children. If there’s no milk for his coffee in the morning he’ll go mad…
Before she knows it, she realises she has given him ultimate control over her emotionally, physically and financially.
If she ever gets to the point at which she feels she is emotionally strong enough to leave him, she has mustered up all the physical strength she has to lift her chin and know she is worth so much more than this, it may suddenly dawn on her that she has nothing. No car in her name to drive away from him in, no money with which to pay for a train to disappear on, no house to take her children away to for safety, no bed to tuck them into and tell them they’ll be okay now. She has nothing to show for the life she has been living. She has merely been existing, a shadow of her former self.
Don’t ever think that women who end up with abusive men were weak, that they were lost causes that were just ‘easy targets’. No, no. I once knew a young girl that had the world at her feet. A bright, enthusiastic girl that saw the good in everyone and everything. She had a place at university, a brand new car, a well off family who loved her and encouraged and supported her in everything she did. She wasn’t weak or downtrodden, she was ambitious and bold. Then she met him, and he told her he loved her because she was all those things. But slowly, gradually, he tried to change her. When she left him she did so with a few jumpers, a few pairs of trousers, some socks and underwear, and fifteen thousand pounds of his debt. The money she had saved for her children’s future was gone, the house she had bought them up in was his, the house she had taken them away to every holiday they had ever known was his, the car she had once owned, was gone.
To this day she has never had a penny from him. There was once a time she would’ve taken his money to support her three children, rebuild the life he had taken from them, but now she would rather die than take it. There was once a day when she realised if she left she would have nothing. How would she cope? Where would she start? Where would she live? But she lifted her chin, and knew she was worth so much more. It’s only money at the end of the day, and if she survived living with a man like him, then she could do anything.
Never give up, never lose hope. You’re worth so much more. Be strong. Remember who you were before him, and find her. She’s right under the surface, waiting.