Recovering from financial abuse anxiety

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openskyblue

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Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« on: September 10, 2018, 09:58:30 AM »
A big part of why I left my marriage (and NPD, ASPD ex husband) was the financial abuse he put me through. Most of our marriage, he was the breadwinner with me working for him, being the super caretaker of him and our family. Whenever I tried to get a job, heíd create some financial or business disaster and Iíd get pulled back into fixing his business. The last five years of the marriage, every month was a balancing act of money desperation. Can we pay the mortgage, insurance, for gas? I cut back on every expense to keep us afloat, while he went out with his buddies, went to expensive sports games, and took ďbusiness trips.Ē

It was tough leaving him, getting a job, taking care of our last kid in college, but Iíve done it. There is not a spare dollar to spare at the end of the month, but I make that dollar stretch. I still have big legal costs fighting my ex to get the rest of the settlement figured out, but Iím really doing okay. Iíve gotten a raise, will probably get another this year. Iíve got 10 more years before retirement, and that scares me, but Iím saving as much as my employer match.

So why am I STILL waking up in a panic at 4am most days? I literally wake up adding up my monthly budget. Iím like a human excel spreadsheet! Have others dealt with this? Does it get better?

Iím starting to think this recurring gnawing worry is not about money as much as it is about fear that financial rug is getting pulled out from under me. In my marriage, as soon as my ex and I were financially okay, heíd do some irresponsible (and even illegal) thing, and weíd be throw us back in financial peril.

Why canít I trust myself that Iíll never let that happen again?

 :fallingbricks:
Even a blind man can tell you when he is standing in the sun.  (Percy Sledge)

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GettingOOTF

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Re: Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2018, 01:11:01 PM »
There was a lot of financial abuse in my marriage and I was the breadwinner which makes it even crazier!

I have been divorced for a few years now. I have zero debt, healthy savings and pretty much do what I want with my money, yet every time I swipe my credit card I get that sick feeling in my stomach. Even though logically I know I never carry a balance on my cards and there is no reason for it not to go through, not to mention there is actual cash in the bank that will more than cover the transaction I still canít just swipe my card without the worry.  Sometimes I have an excuse for the card being denied ready to tell the cashier.

I have to remind myself regularly that I am no longer married to that man and that I am financially stable and secure. I feel like it has gotten better, but I still have a ways to go in this area.

Given everything youíve been through I think what you are feeling is normal. You are also still in a situation where money is an issue. It does sound like you are making progress and you should be proud of that.

I donít know why people donít talk about financial abuse, I wish it were easier to talk about.

People donít talk about financial abuse a lot but for me there is nothing worse than that feeling of not knowing where your next dollar will come from and I am still traumatized by all the chaos and fear around money from when I was married and also growing up with my parents.

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openskyblue

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Re: Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2018, 03:35:35 PM »
Getting OOTF, I can't thank you enough for your post. I totally understand that fear of swiping the credit card. It's gotten so I barely use mine. I take out my weekly cash budget and that has to last me. If I do have to order something online and use the card, I feel better if I make a payment to my card in the same amount that day. So yeah, I totally get that fear and anxiety.

That feeling of not knowing where the next dollar will come from -- and if it will come at all -- is terrible. My ex blamed all our money problems on me and gradually squeezed our family budget down to nothing, all while living high on the hog himself and keeping a pricey office downtown. He lied about having clients (when he wasn't actually working for them), made big claims about all the money he was going to make, would buy all sorts of stuff, the so-called client wouldn't pay, and then we'd be broke. I lost count of how many times that happened.

You are right: I should be proud of myself. One thing that really makes me happy is saving money. I put a little aside every week, and that has grown into the beginnings of an emergency fund. My goal is to have 6 months of pay in there.

But at the end of the day, no amount of money saved will really get rid of this awful feeling/panic. I think it may be a one of those time has to pass things. The longer I am financially secure (and the more secure I get), the less I will feel this way. I really hope so.

I'm really glad to hear that you have gotten to such a great financial place in your life. Bravo!
Even a blind man can tell you when he is standing in the sun.  (Percy Sledge)

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GettingOOTF

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Re: Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2018, 05:35:08 PM »
Quote
My ex blamed all our money problems on me and gradually squeezed our family budget down to nothing, all while living high on the hog

I swear they all have an instruction manual they all follow. This was my ex too. Iíd take sandwiches to work and heíd eat at fancy restaurants (I just didnít understand how stressful ďworking from home wasĒ  :roll:).

You will get there. Itís awesome that you are able to save money. I never had savings when I was married and itís so great seeing the money build up. Itís starts small but before you know it you will be where you want to be.

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Associate of Daniel

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Re: Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2018, 07:06:29 PM »
I've found that not having a credit card at all has been the biggest help. That and having an emergency fund.

By the end of our marriage I wasn't using the credit card. But u/npd exH was spending what he earned on the credit card, on Who Knows What, while I scrambled to find the money to pay it and put food on the table and keep the lights on.(I was a SAH, homeschooling Mum).

I would almost have a panic attack every time the credit card envelope would arrive in the mail.

When he left, I vowed I'd never have a credit card again. The psychological trauma of seeing that envelope each month is not something I ever want to experience again.

I think it's Dave Ramsey who says that he and his wife have an emergency fund for the emergency fund.  I think that's what I need, even though my emergency fund is fairly good right now.

AOD

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openskyblue

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Re: Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2018, 07:38:55 PM »
I love it -- an emergency fund for the emergency fund! 

I'm still paying down credit card debt, but my cash-only rule has really helped with that. Also, I do not buy something unless I need it -- and am a pro at returning things. It's amazing how much our society condones and even encourages "shopping therapy." No thanks!

My ex went shopping every single Saturday. It was like he HAD to go buy something or he'd turn into a toad.
Even a blind man can tell you when he is standing in the sun.  (Percy Sledge)

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SaltwareS

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Re: Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2018, 05:36:21 PM »
Part of the financial abuse from my npdParent was the sheer amount of shame heaped on a person anytime they had a financial question. Also if I said "no" to peers who invited me to an expensive event my npdParent would criticize me. Since coming OOTF I've noticed quite a few "wealthy" people like celebrities confess they worried about money for a long long time even after they accumulated wealth.

It seems pretty healthy to worry about money. Also different lines of work are much different in terms of income. For example an author I know doesn't earn anything some years and earns quite a lot other years but she has to set up her own retirement fund.  Some careers end around age 40, other lines of work are quite secure through age 60 and come with a pension fund but no 401k.

Since coming OOTF I'm allowed to worry. I no longer feel shame when I spend time concerned about money. The npdParent would say I was being a "downer" anytime I tried to plan for my financial future. But if I had a question about credit card interest rates, the same parent would shame me for having a balance not paid off in full, and not having all of the latest financial knowledge a priori.

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my1wish

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Re: Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2018, 06:53:47 PM »
Openskyblue,
Thank you so much for sharing this!  It really resonates with me, sounds so familiar to me.
I was married to a very financially irresponsible/ reckless man.  He spent money like nobody's business (especially mine).  Always trying to keep up with the Jones'.  We lived in a home with 5,400 finished square feet.  He would show up at home with a new vehicle, which "he deserved" because he worked hard.  Or buy a brand new boat at a boat show.  Yet we had no savings.  If he made a dime he was out spending a quarter.  Then it became if he THOUGHT he was making a dime he was out spending a quarter.  In a nutshell, he ran his business into the ground.  Got behind on his suppliers.  Used deposits from one job to pay to bring in materials from another job.  Paychecks bounced.  Had a bad reputation in his field.  And the worst of it- stopped paying payroll taxes.  All of this happened without my knowledge.  His office help quit, so I came to work with him, having no idea what was going on.  I came in excited to be working there (youngest just off to kindergarten), only to learn within the first hour the electricity was being turned off.  Gas/water being turned off.  Getting evicted from the building.....owed EVERYONE money.  I wasn't even given so much as a hint of any of this, just walked right into it.  I worked with him for quite some time, clawing our way out of the mess.  We had to put the business into my name just to keep the doors open.  After things got on an even keel and he learned his lesson, I left to start teaching as that had been my career plan.  4 years later, he did the exact same thing again.  Got behind on ALL of it again, including payroll taxes.  The IRS finally notified me- said my x had been saying he would tell me for the past 18 months!  Yet they never told me.  By the time I learned of it, he had racked up half a million dollars IN MY NAME.  And, (drumroll)......was leaving me for another woman.   So he up and left me with 2 kids and half a million dollars of debt in my name.  Our home was on the verge of being seized.......  I felt so stupid.  But really, I just trusted my husband.  Which I should have been able to do..... :stars:
At that time, going to get the mail or driving by a bank made me physically ill.  Answering the phone terrified me.  I knew any day I would be kicked out of our home and the kids and I would have no where to go.  I ended up having to file bankruptcy.  Sat through a meeting with the IRS, thinking I was going to JAIL. :aaauuugh:
It does get better.  But I can still have panic attacks about money.  I can still have anxiety opening the mail.  Or checking my bank account.  I am often scared of some major financial situation happening.  I just have to walk through things logically, talk myself through it.  My situation is not the same now.  I may not have a lot of money, but I don't have debt.  I do not try to keep up with anyone financially.  I changed careers.  I work long and hard to regain some sense of stability.  Our 2 sons are in college, luckily they have earned good scholarships and what is left over is manageable.
To this day, my X is reckless with money.  He gets the boys' health insurance cancelled frequently.  Pays child support late.  Pays tuition late.  In fact, invariably acts surprised that tuition is due.  He got my son's car insurance cancelled- he drove with no insurance for a year.  We had an insurance card, and when I expected a new one that didn't show up I learned that he had stopped paying.  Unfortunately, insurance companies won't/can't alert me to any of that due to confidentiality!  Unbelievable.  All this while he's buying motorcycles, camper, vehicles.....and somehow still living in the huge home (alone) and managed to only make 2 mortgage payments in 3 years.  :sadno:

I will NEVER trust anyone with my financial situation again.  EVER.  I will insist on being involved, transparency, and probably being the one in charge of that area.  But the good thing is I have learned how to do all of that and to trust MYSELF to handle all of that. 
You will get through this, both financially and emotionally.  For me, my faith helps a lot.  Seriously have gone through periods when I was literally "living on a prayer".  But if that is not for you, then do what helps you.  If you need to look at a spreadsheet, do that.  I like to not have any debt and to have emergency funds available.  I have kept a few thousand dollars stashed under my dresser!  Because I was terrified of banks (what if it just disappeared from my account?)  Then I was scared the money would burn up in a fire!  I try to keep my sense of humor about it now and work on all of this logically.
I hope it helps just to know someone else has "been there".

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nonpdincoda

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Re: Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2018, 08:51:47 PM »
Openskyblue,

Thank you for voicing an anxiety I share. I just ended my engagement to uBPD fiance because intense anxiety around finances. I was paying most of the bills and all of the rent, he just kept making less and less. I had never had a credit card, he talked me into getting one for him in my name because he had bad credit, for "our" future, also 3/4 of my paycheck was renting a house he "needed" to expand his plans for a business that never materialized. Now I am the one left with the debt, and I am just now taking back control of my finances. I know I can get back out of debt, I was good with money before him. Sadly this is the second time a relationship sucked me dry financially. This time however is the last.

I was so stressed about the finances I was physically ill and stopped eating (to save on the grocery bill). I too still have a bit of nervousness about checking bank statements, but I only had two years of budgeting pains, five years is a long time to be financially stressed, and a lot of situations arent resolved yet, so it sounds normal.

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Associate of Daniel

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Re: Recovering from financial abuse anxiety
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2018, 09:18:46 PM »
There are 2 things I did for uNPD exH before we were married.

1.  I sold my car so that he could buy one for himself.

2.  I paid off one of his loans - a consolidation loan he had taken out.  Red flag, anyone?

I look back now and shake my head. What was I thinking?

He had no savings and was in about the same amount of debt to random people/banks/organisations as I was to my one debt, my mortgage. And he wasn't yet 25 years old and was still living with his parents.

I was a fool.

Never again.

AOD