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Domestic Theft

Definition:

Domestic Theft - Consuming or taking control of a resource or asset belonging to (or shared with) a family member, partner or spouse without first obtaining their approval.

When They Take a Mile:

Domestic Theft can range from a kind of petty larceny like using something without permission, through to stealing someone’s identity, spending family money without discussion,  and running up debts which are left to somebody else to pay.

Domestic Theft is one of the most common, yet under-reported symptoms of Personality Disorders. In many cases, there has been habitual or frequent theft of some sort from friends, family members or a partner. The more severe forms of theft which deprive a family member or partner of necessary funds are considered a form of Domestic Violence in some jurisdictions.

These are forms of theft that rarely get prosecuted. Because the victim is a friend or family member, laws often define family property as “community property” which is legally shared. Also, in many cases the losses are less than catastrophic and hence don’t warrant civil litigation.

Examples:

  • When one partner goes to get the rent money from where they have saved it – it simply isn’t there.
  • Utilities are suddenly cut off because the person with the bill money failed to pay the bill and spent the money on addictions or other forms of self-gratification.
  • A parent’s computer, camera or car keys are missing – and so is the car.
  • A friend is forever borrowing fifty bucks here, twenty bucks there, and it is never returned.

How it Feels:

- By 'TalkingLeaves'

My ASPD ex-husband’s ongoing theft of money and my possessions during our decade of marriage created a truly bewildering brew of Fear, Obligation and Guilt.

Nothing was mine anymore – not my car, not my computer, not my art materials – nothing, But his stuff was still his. Because he was big and built like the proverbial brick outhouse, prone to rage attacks and regularly hurting me and our pets, I was scared to confront him.

He would regularly take money out of the kitty that had been put aside for bills or rent and spend it on porn, booze, drugs, junk, and computer games. Sometimes in the middle of a rage episode, he’d announce the marriage was over, take whatever cash was in the house and saved for something, and storm out – only to return later drunk, even angrier and with all the money spent. I got used to living with a disconnected phone, rent arrears and often no food or fuel money. I almost starved to death once our daughter was born and I couldn’t get out and work anymore – he kept stealing the food money. He’d also steal food I had bought for me and her, take my car, and broke many of my possessions including my professional camera, one of my computers, a car, and my guitar.

I felt somewhat conflicted because on the one hand we were married, supposedly everything was shared. How it played out though was everything was his if he wanted it, and I deserved precisely nothing. I felt guilty for being angry when he stole the housekeeping, and I felt obligated to find replacement money myself because by the end if I confronted him about anything at all, he’d hurt our daughter as payback.

After I left him and went on welfare, someone asked me if I’d manage on the small amount of money. I laughed, because for the first time in ten years I had more than enough. It made such a difference just being able to put rent money aside and know it would be there when due date came, being able to buy enough food and be allowed to eat it. This still feels like a remarkable blessing, even though it’s a basic human right.

What NOT to do:

  • Don't put someone with a Domestic Theft habit in charge of any important aspect of the household finances or bill payments.
  • Don't share all bank accounts, and keep a personal supply of enough money for fuel, food and the phone where it cannot be accessed by anyone else.
  • Don't continue to lend money to someone who never pays you back.

What TO do:

  • Maintain a separate bank account in your own name.
  • If the theft is substantial, ongoing and means you cannot afford enough food, your rent, or utilities, contact a Domestic Violence service for advice.
  • Consider whether you need to contact the police and report the theft.

For More Information & Support...

If you suspect you may have a family member or loved-one who suffers from a personality disorder, we encourage you to learn all you can and surround yourself with support as you learn how to cope.

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