I am… a survivor of economic abuse
A survivor of economic abuse tells her story
In the early years of my marriage, I had not consciously realised that economic abuse was taking place. I believed we had a simple, workable system of managing finances. We opened a joint bank account specifically for paying the mortgage and bills. Our personal current accounts were used to pay bills linked to personal use – mobile phones, clothes etc. As I was the main earner, I paid for all holidays, family events and the savings and expenses for my two children.
On our first wedding anniversary, he physically attacked me. He then decided to cancel his personal account and pay his wages into the joint account. It would be easier, and beneficial for me, he said. He constantly told friends that he gave me all his wages, and implied that I made no contribution. I worked full-time and earned double his salary.
He gave up his full-time professional job to be a self-employed tradesperson. He had a lower salary and was forever changing his job or not being in work yet refused to look for work or seek benefits. He had 14 jobs in 14 years of marriage but continued to live and spend as if he was receiving a high salary – buying designer clothes and expensive cars. I never considered it economic abuse.
If I dared to suggest that we could not afford to attend an event, I would be physically abused or stonewalled for weeks. His family never knew he was regularly out of work. The money he paid into the joint account rarely covered his personal outgoings, and only sometimes paid for his share of the mortgage and bills. I had to pay large additional sums into the joint account from my personal accounts. I took on as much overtime as I could…
This article was supplied by the Surviving Economic Abuse charity
This is an extract from an article that was published in the October 2019 edition of Reform