How to Know if You’re in a Financially Abusive Relationship

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Operation for HOPE Foundation provides micro-emergency loans to remove economic barriers so domestic violence victims in Coronado and other communities to remain safe.

However, starting over for many is just the beginning of overwhelming and devastating consequences. In regards to financial hardship, it’s never easy to start over and it’s especially not easy for victims of abuse.

As domestic violence is about power and control, abusers often isolate their partners and financial abuse tactics are commonly used. Generally the abuser controls every aspect of their lives, from how all of the money is spent, managing each of the bank accounts and paying all the bills, controlling all credit cards and any access to living independently in the outside world.

Many abusers do not allow their partner to work or earn money. Instead of negotiating the family finances and working through the income and debt ratios as most healthy couples do, financially abusive relationships are about maintaining that power and control over the other person and trapping them into a relationship making them feel helpless and totally dependent.

Financial abuse along with domestic violence abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their income, education or independent success. Additional warning signs to help determine if you may be in a financially abusive relationship includes:

  • Making you feel as though you don’t have a right to know any details about money or household decisions.
  • Forbidding you from working or attending school or training sessions to get ahead.
  • Overusing your credit cards or refusing to pay the bills.
  • Forcing you to file fraudulent tax returns.
  • Preventing you from obtaining or using credit cards.
  • Interfering with your performance at work through harassing activities like frequent telephone calls, emails or visits to your workplace.
  • Not allowing you to have any money on your own.
  • Controlling your cell phone and activity involving any bill.

Victims of domestic violence need to achieve financial independence as well as freedom from abuse.  The mission of the Allstate Foundation through a grant provided to Operation for HOPE Foundation is to provide free financial training and social support services for strategies that can help victims better understand and empower them to regain control over their economic provisions and finances.

The Allstate Foundation offers several financial management modules and curriculum for teaching victims of domestic violence about financial independence.

First if you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, please work with a domestic violence advocate or service provider to help you develop a plan that will keep you and your family safe. Seeking the help of an advocate who will provide a risk assessment and evaluate your needs and help with safety planning is an important step for you in preparing to leave an abusive relationship.

You may also want to consider filing a temporary restraining order or stay away order especially if you have experienced threats or feel that you are in any danger.

Always taking care of yourself and your children is your No. 1 priority. If you have an option of planning to leave the abusive relationship, consider finding ways to save some cash for yourself for emergencies, by saving change from purchases, receiving performance bonuses from work or cash tips and stashing away in a safe place with a friend, secret bank account or safety deposit box.

With education, assistance and support you can become a successful money manager and work toward setting and achieving your own financial goals depending on your personal needs.

Your financial status may change dramatically after leaving your partner. Estimate your current living expenses, including any money you may spend on the children. Some of the assets that may be divided in a divorce include your home, savings, retirement plans, and household items—furniture, dishes, tools and equipment.

In addition to working with Allstate Foundation, Operation for HOPE Foundation was awarded through 4imprint-One by One Charitable Giving a variety of flash drives to provide case managers and community partners for victims of domestic violence to store their documents and records.

It’s important to have copies of critical documents stored in a safe place. Documentation regarding joint property can also be very helpful along with photographs of pay check stubs, tax returns, life insurance policies, birth certificates, restraining orders and any important documents that need to be readily available.

Allstate is committed to helping victims and survivors build their financial skills. The Allstate’s Financial Empowerment Curriculum, along with all of the support of our community partners will help victims of domestic violence abuse gain personal and financial independence. Once independence skills are learned, the feeling of financial success will follow.

During this difficult time, remaining safe is the utmost importance. If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911.


  • Operation For HOPE Foundation
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233
  • National Dating Helpline, 866-331-9474
  • National Center for Victims of Crime Hotline, 800-394-2255
  • San Diego Domestic Violence Hotline, 888-385-4657


  • devonian Rodders

    Realistically you have been too easy going with him and unless you stand your ground, he will continue the "charm" and crying until he gets his own way.

    Yes he may have stress due to work, but HE has to deal with that himself.

    You still love him but is it all worth the angst which comes your way. The only way forward is to tell him "ONE more outburst and I am gone for good" and stick to it.

    Personally I would not consider a second chance to be persecuted by him.
    References :

  • Cindy

    please please please consider leaving him!! You seem like a sweet person. You don’t deserve to be with a person like that. it seems you are the punching bag to his problems in his life. 8 months is long enough, clearly he is not going to change. leave before it becomes physical!
    References :
    3+ yr relationship.

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