Twisted Tactics of Mr. Ex: Unmasking Financial Abuse

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When Money Becomes a Weapon in its Darkest Form

Financial abuse isn’t just an economic issue. It’s an insidious form of violence that seeps into relationships, families, and even courtrooms. Trust me, I’m living this nightmare. Mr. Ex is turning our family court agreement into a tactical map for financial ruin. Do you think Swiss cheese has holes? This topic is like the black hole of social conversations—sucking everything into its dark abyss and leaving nothing behind.

As we speak, Mr. Ex is strategically undermining the court-ordered financial arrangements meant to protect me and my children. He’s not just skimming a few bucks here and there; he’s shaving off entire mortgage payments, month after month, since day one, right after he swore under oath, and he agrees to all terms in the motion he filed. Why? To force my house into auction so he can swoop in like some sort of twisted knight in tarnished armor. It’s not just that he doesn’t want to pay; he wants to ruin me. And the courts? Well, let’s just say they’re taking their sweet time catching up to Mr. Ex’s fraud and manipulation of court processes.

So, before we delve into the complexities of financial abuse, know that this isn’t just theoretical for me. This is my life. Now, let’s rip the cover off this can of worms.

At Mom Versus the World, we’re committed to illuminating the dark corners of experiences that many people endure but seldom discuss. Today, we’re delving deep into the convoluted world of financial abuse—because knowledge is power, and we want to arm you with it.

Table of Contents

  1. The Anatomy of Financial Abuse
  2. Is it Really Financial Abuse? The Varying Forms
  3. The Gendered Lens: Women as Frequent Victims
  4. Elder Abuse: The Silent Epidemic
  5. Real-Life Confessions: Our Stories
  6. Identifying Warning Signs
  7. The Ripple Effect: Impacts Beyond Finances
  8. How to Seek Help
  9. The Bottom Line

The Anatomy of Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is not a one-size-fits-all sort of ordeal. It’s often a systematic tactic utilized by one party to control another’s access to financial resources. In layman’s terms? It’s about making someone financially crippled and overly dependent, turning money into a form of shackles rather than a resource.

Common tactics employed:

  • Controlling Financial Resources: Imagine living on an “allowance” provided by another adult. Ridiculous, right?
  • Impeding Financial Independence: What’s worse than having no money? Being actively stopped from earning any.

Is it Really Financial Abuse? The Varying Forms

Financial abuse is a master of disguise. It might present itself as a seemingly benign offer to “manage” the household finances. Sometimes, it’s concealed as false generosity or a misguided sense of protective behavior. Let’s break down its many masks.

Examples of financial abuse:

  1. Covert Control
    • One party dictates how all finances are allocated.
    • Mr. Ex just did this to me today. While he hasn’t paid support in months, I literally don’t have food or gasoline until the court decides to rule on the enforcement and actually enforce the order. I need medication every month, which I have stretched for the last 2 months. The kids and I finally got state insurance today, but I don’t know how much the copays are. I asked him to at least give me money to get our son his epi-pen and inhaler, but he said, “I’ll go pick it up”. Oh, so you have it? Mr. Ex knows we are literally getting utilities shut off, but you won’t give the money because then I could get it myself and he can’t demean me for asking.  That, my friends, is financial abuse.
  2. Forced Dependency
    • Partner is discouraged from working or furthering education.
    • Mr. Ex even made sure my credit was destroyed, which was an 800, perfect payment record, before he destroyed my career, that is.
  3. Resource Restriction
    • Limited access to joint bank accounts or financial information.
    • It was easier to find Waldo than get a glimpse of our bank statement, but when I finally did, via SUBPEONA, I was able to see that he had been lying for a long time. He was stashing $10K a month every month and telling me he had nothing, but he was doing the best he could.
  4. Exploitation of Assets
  5. Sabotaging Employment
    • Interfering with job opportunities or employment status.
    • Mr. Ex. would call and text me literally 40 to 50 times a day before I filed for divorce. He wouldn’t stop. I was working in the city and our son has health issues so I couldn’t just block him. He has shown up in the city at my job, consistently had sudden “urgent” matters, always coinciding with my key work moments and has called my boss and my clients on several occasions.
  6. Debt Accumulation
    • Taking significant debt in the other person’s name, often without their knowledgeEconomic abuse
    • Surprise! You’re the unwilling owner of $300,000 in unsecured debt who is now suing the crap out of you while he sits pretty.
  7. Refusal to Pay or Evasion of Child Support
    • Deliberately avoiding or refusing to pay legally required child support
    • Mr. Ex agreed to an amendment where I dropped $460,000 of his obligation to me in exchange for increasing the court-ordered payment by $200 a week so I could get back on my feet and pay the mortgage. He knew that one missed payment would send this house to auction. That was in May. He hasn’t made a single correct payment since. He also stopped making payments three months ago, was arrested for it three weeks ago, and was ordered to pay a lump sum plus reinstate required payments. CRICKETS…. NADA!   Guess what? He let it slip that he planned to buy the house at auction. So this man thinks he can deliberately make me default so it goes to auction, and then I buy my hose at auction. WOW, the balls on this guy.  He doesn’t read his agreements very well; even if he did pull that off, there is a clause in our amendment that if he purchases anything over $10K, it’s mine. I seize it to pay his back support.  But honestly, should any human being have to go through this crap? Why am I not allowed to move on? 
  8. Withholding Basic Necessities
    • Refusing to provide or limiting basic necessities like food, clothing, or medical care
    • My essentials were always on the “forgot to buy” list. In the past 3 months, we have been without food or toilet paper on several occasions. I think you get the point.

The Gendered Lens: Women as Frequent Victims

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that women often bear the brunt of financial abuse. The dynamics of societal norms and expectations add layers of vulnerability.

Stats Speak:

  • Women with disabilities face a heightened risk, often falling through the cracks of social support.
  • Working women: Contrary to popular belief, earning an income doesn’t automatically provide immunity.

Elder Abuse: The Silent Epidemic

If you thought only romantic relationships were plagued by financial abuse, think again. Older individuals frequently face this form of exploitation, mostly perpetrated by their own adult children. It’s an uncomfortable topic, but we’re not here to tiptoe around the elephant in the room.

Forms of Elder Financial Abuse:

  • Exploitation of Power of Attorney: This isn’t what they meant when they said, “Power corrupts.”
  • Sudden Fund Transfers: A red flag that’s as crimson as they come.

Real-Life Confessions: Our Stories

Speaking from personal experience, the wounds financial abuse leaves aren’t visible but they scar you for life. I endured this for years, unable to discuss it openly. It’s a shared narrative for many, but it’s time to break the silence.

Identifying Warning Signs

In a world where caution is often thrown to the wind, it’s crucial to be vigilant. Here are some red flags that could indicate financial abuse:

  • Inexplicable withdrawals
  • Lack of knowledge about personal finances
  • Unexplained loss of assets

The Ripple Effect: Impacts Beyond Finances

The aftermath of financial abuse seeps into various facets of life. From mental health challenges to social isolation, the effects are far-reaching and multidimensional.

The Effects Include:

  • Social Isolation: Financially strapped individuals often find it hard to socialize or even meet basic needs.
  • Barriers to Escaping Abuse: Lack of financial resources becomes the golden handcuffs that keep people trapped.

How to Seek Help

Recovering from financial abuse is like undoing a giant knot; it’s complicated but not impossible. The first step is recognizing the problem. The second is to actively seek help, whether it’s legal, social, or financial support.

Steps for Recovery:

  1. Educate yourself: read up, consult professionals, and know your rights.
  2. Document Abuse: Keep all evidence—texts, emails, or any other form of correspondence.
  3. Seek Legal Advice: There are low-cost and pro bono legal services available. Trust me, I’ve been down this road.

Affiliate Opportunity: If you’re interested in learning more, check out this e-book that delves into the intricacies of financial abuse and offers a step-by-step guide to recovery. I wish I had something like this years ago.

The Bottom Line

Financial abuse is a pervasive issue that’s easier to overlook than you think. But the more we talk about it, the more we can arm ourselves and others with the tools to combat it.

Additional Resources:

Life may throw us curveballs, but at Mom Versus the World, we don’t just duck—we hit back. If you found this article helpful, consider sharing it and check out related articles and resources to arm yourself with the knowledge you need. The more you know, the less you’re vulnerable.

So, what are your thoughts? Have you experienced financial abuse? Let’s break the silence.