What Is Financial Abuse? An Example.

I forgot to get the mail yesterday afternoon. I didn’t pick it up until after AWANA. And thus begins my story…

With the exception of the three years I managed the finances, during which time I got us out of debt and saved enough to buy a brand new car, not to mention heating and air conditioning for our home, my married life has been filled with the dread of the pink utility bill.

If you have no idea what a pink utility bill is, you probably pay your bills on time. A pink utility bill is the notice that in five days they are going to cut your services.

When the pink utility bill arrives, and it arrives in our mailbox on a regular basis, I am reminded, again, that my husband does not care enough for me and the children to make make a budget so we don’t have to worry about money or where we’re going to live. Because, behind that pink utility bill, I know there are all the other past due bills that don’t change color. Last week, for example, was a Macy’s bill that was past due. I only use the Macy’s card for school uniforms in the fall. Since it was February, you can see how past due it was.

This situation has nearly destroyed me. In the early days of our marriage, my abuser would get angry at me for how much I spent. He would constantly complain about me and my shopping. Yet, if asked, he could not give me an amount to spend each week. When I confronted him about it recently, he again tried to turn the blame on me by saying he didn’t want to make a budget because he didn’t didn’t want to hinder me. In abusive relationships it’s never the abuser’s fault, even when it is this obvious.

The financial abuse was just one of my sources of depression. Though, the lawyer I spoke with said that alone was enough to cause it.

So last night, after a particularly trying day, discovering a pink bill in the mailbox was stressful…or not.

I have spoken about the odd event that was the moment when the chains and control my abuser had over me began to break. It was the day when he made it obvious that he didn’t care if I comitted suicide. For just just a moment, I was terrified, until I was realized I wasn’t. Last night the same exact reaction occurred. My words were panicked, I think it even tried to panic. I expected to be upset, so I tried to behave accordingly. But the feeling wasn’t there. The usual overwhelmed and terrified feeling had been exchanged for that same feeling from last September. His lack of love and care in the most basic of things (the past due portion of the bill was a mere $37)  broke even more chains. And this on a day when I spent most of my waking hours wondering if I would ever be able to free my mind from his control.

This happens on a regular basis to me these days. I view these incidents as messages from God. He reminds me why I need to break the chains. He sends these things on just the right day to show me I’m not making up the abuse, it really is happening. The “mean” one (as my abuser likes to call me) is him, a man who doesn’t care enough for his wife and children to make up a simple budget so they don’t lose everything.

UPDATE: He gave me the same excuse he has given often, that the bill was set up on auto-pay incorrectly. I’m not sure how many years he expects that excuse to be good for.

UPDATE 2: Got a call from the drinking water company today. No bill has been paid since September. And there was a card from the Sheriff on the door. Not sure if they are still trying to serve the divorce papers to him or if we are getting evicted. I laugh because after 45 years of abuse I have quite the refined sense of gallows humor.

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