If a woman is not physically or sexually abused by her husband,
people generally conclude there is no abuse. But women should
give this question more serious thought. Abuse need not be
verbal, physical or sexual. These types of abuse are sufficient
grounds to head straight for the divorce courts because a
physically or sexually abusive partner needs professional help.
Abuse is a dangerous element in a marriage. Sometimes, divorce is
the only solution because a woman who is consistently abused will
have nothing left of her soul. Her self-esteem disappears and she
will begin to think that she deserves neither respect nor love
from her husband. She will unconsciously heap the blame on
herself for the unhappy marriage. Men who consciously or
unconsciously verbally abuse their wives are not aware of the
consequences of their deeds. Sometimes verbal abuse can be worse
than physical abuse.
There is, however, another kind of abuse that can occur in a
marriage and is often ignored because no physical harm is
involved. We’re referring to economic abuse or more commonly
known as economic domination. This type of abuse is rarely
discussed in therapy circles because it takes a back seat to
physical, verbal or sexual abuse.
Suffice it to say that economic domination can be just as
emotionally devastating to a woman. Imagine a once vibrant woman
who, when single, had a good corporate job, earned an excellent
salary and had the respect of her colleagues at work. One day she
meets the man of her dreams and falls in love. They get married,
but little does she know that he wants her to stay home and be a
full time homemaker. She becomes pregnant even if she isn’t
ready to be a mother. Deep down, she feels that she is happiest
when pursuing her career.
How is a woman like her who thrives in an intellectual milieu
going to fare when faced with economic domination by her
Economic abuse in a marriage is evident in these circumstances:
* telling his wife to quit her job so she can stay home and take
care of the kids,
* confiscating his wife’s assets and other financial resources
and forbidding her from handling money or incurring expenses that
he does not allow,
* using his wife’s financial assets to his advantage and
depriving her of her rights to enjoy what is financially and
* taking away his wife’s credit cards and providing only a
sufficient amount of money to pay for the day-to-day.
A variation of this economic abuse is also apparent in a
relationship where the husband allows his wife to work, but
regains control of her pay check and does not give her the
opportunity to make any financial decisions. We once knew a woman
at work who made good money and who managed to rise up the ranks
because she was hardworking and knew how to make herself
indispensable to the company. She never joined her co-workers for
lunch outings or shopping sprees because she didn’t have a
single cent on her. We asked her once why she never had any money
on her when everyone else was envious of her salary.
Her answer: “My husband controls the purse strings. I don’t know
what he does with my pay check. I dare not ask.”
Are you in a marriage where you suffer from economic abuse?
© 2007 Cathi Adams.
Cathi Adams is the author of “Divorce Secrets: What Every Women
Should Know.” This invaluable resource provides steps to ensure
financial security to woman faced with the possibility of
divorce. Visit her web site for a FREE report –What You
Absolutely Must Know Before You Even THINK About Getting
A Divorce: http://www.DivorceDefense.com