What Is Domestic Financial Abuse-


Financial abuse is a form of emotional spousal abuse that feeds it power from dependency. Sadly, it is a form of abuse rarely mentioned, which is one of the reasons I created Miss Fiercely Independent. I have witness financial abuse, as well as experienced it myself, and it usually manifests itself in together with emotional abuse. If you are a spouse who is dependent on your spouse’s income, you open the door for a potential financial abuse, if you have not had an open conversation about the subject with him or her. While this does not happen only to women, it happens primarily to women.

Here are some signs of financial abuse:

1. He controls every penny of your spending. Even if only one spouse works outside of the home, it is important to note that it is not the working spouse’s right to control every penny of the household income. This is a controlling behavior, that ranges from making one feel like a child to having to justify everyday needs.

2. He controls what job you are allowed to have and how much you are allowed to work. If your spouse decides which career you should take, even if it is not one you would choose for yourself, it is a form of financial abuse.

3. He sabotages your higher education. This can manifest itself by not providing needed transportation to courses,
to not respecting study time. Making sure that you can not better yourself is a form of control.

4. He threatens to quit working or threatens to take on a lesser paying job, that will not cover your families basic

5. All bank accounts are in his name only. Not only does that leave you without an access to income without his consent, it also leaves you without the possibility to save for your own retirement.


Love is about giving freedom..
While I am not saying that every relationship of co-dependency will end up in a financial abusive situation, I believe that the lack of financial co-dependency will prevent any possibility of financial abuse.

If you do find yourself in a financially abusive relationship, it is time to find a way out. One way to find a way out
is by creating an income source for yourself. Passive income sources can create a financial stream for you, which you
can create from your home while taking care of the other responsibilities placed upon you (I raised and homeschooled two children during this time, while growing my own online income streams).

Be on the look out for threats that are directed toward you, toward your children, or toward any future potential
spouses. These can be indications, that the relationship can turn into a more physically violent one, and you should start to be prepared to leave.

A word of caution: I always want to advise you, if you feel like you are under any physical threat, that you always clear your computer’s browser history and cookies, after searching for any kind of information related to making money online,  or how to get away. Do not put yourself in unnecessary danger!

Fiercely Independent Blessings!



  1. Thanks for sharing Claudia. I think it’s important that all women are aware that a overly controlling spouse in any area is not okay. As you said, it can even turn dangerous. A healthy relationship is NOT one where all control, power, and influence lies with one person. It’s a give and take. Thanks and have a great day!

  2. I had no idea this existed, but it makes so much sense. I hope many people can benefit fr your words!

    1. Author

      thank you, Raquel, I hope so too – maybe some men, like the other commenter Tim, will wake up and change their ways, yet my concern lays within helping the woman find a way out. Blessings!

  3. Hi Claudia,

    This is a great article and I can personally relate to this. Unfortunately I was very controlling in the beginning of my marriage, no where near as extreme as all 5 points but controlling nonetheless. My wife has taught me a LOT about myself and relationships… I don’t even know where to start lol.

    I agree that being dependent on your partner can take away your independence and it gives too much control to the other party. This becomes a real issue when the bread winner is naturally dominant/ controlling. I encouraged my wife to quit work and pursue university because she hated her job and I wanted to see her do something she loved. So I provided while she did full time uni and began running a small business. This was quite a stressful burden and it also encouraged my controlling nature which left my wife feeling depressed. I had no idea what effect my behaviour was having until months later when she opened up to me. I have since learned (and continue learning) to let go and not enforce my views and opinions on her and give her the respect she truly deserves as the intelligent and capable woman she really is. Not sure why I elaborated so much lol but the point is spouses can learn a lot from each other by open communication and I honestly think that is what saved us. Being open and honest with each other and ourselves about our good points and our flaws.


    1. Author

      Hi Tim,
      I am glad you decided to open up about your experience from the other side of this coin, and I truly appreciate that you have grown through this experience. It takes a wise person to see their faults and turn them into a learning experience. Your wife is lucky to have you. Sadly in most cases the controlling partners are very well aware of the abuse that they are delivering and financial abuse becomes one facet of more rampant emotional abuse. I watched my Father-In-Law mess with his wife until she was unable to go outside of the home without worry something would happen to her, I watched my brother in law mark the car tires and the floor with markers to make sure his wife would not leave the house when he was gone, and I had my husband threatened me multiple times. That is more likely to be the reality, and a potential escalation of that, which easily can turn violent. And even if he tries to make amends for what he has done – the trust is broken and is not rebuildable.
      Blessings, and thank you again

  4. It’s so sad to think that there are relationships like that. In my opinion, the marriage is a covenant where two people become one and they start moving to the same direction together. They have goals, dreams and visions that are made together for the good of the both persons. Two persons become a team that encourage in everything they do. I know that finances cause fights in many relationships but I think it’s the cause of something else. The problem is even deeper. What do you think?

    1. Author

      I absolutely agree with you – often times it comes together with emotional and even physical abuse, which showcases the abusers troubling personality. But sometimes it is more subtle like it was in my case, were it was for example just never convenient for anyone to get me to my college classes, but getting me a car was out of the question. Or comments like – you don’t need a haircut more than every six months! Multiply that by a thousand, every time there is a need – like new shoes for example, and having to beg for things like that, or never allowed to say “my money”, even if it was given to me, and you have abuse.

  5. You’re right the domestic financial abuse is seldom mentioned. Actually I have never heard such a term, but one of my friends is a victim of such abuse I think. After reading your signs of financial abuse I can see it now. I’ll send her your article, so maybe she can do something about it. Thanks for this article!

  6. Hi Claudia,
    Great article! And so needed to hear to many women. I can not relate to this situation, as I always been very financially independent from men. But I do have friends who are, and that is one of the reasons why they settle with the guys that are below thier league. And then they get abusive, even just verbally but still it is not the right to treat women. I told them you deserve someone better, but they are codependent. It is unreal how many people out there are together for the wrong reasons.
    But anyway, I do think it is because women do not believe that they can be succesful on their own. They do feel like they need a man. So it is still a bit of work needed on a limited belief system. But more success stories more women will become free and happy…:)

  7. Claudia,
    I hadn’t heard of the term “domestic financial abuse” but the types of behavior you describe here sound destructive and abusive. A marriage should always be a partnership and even if only one person is providing an income for the household, their partner should never be made to feel insignificant. I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced these extreme types of behaviors. When I was struggling to raise our three small children and run my home-based business (while watching my my income dropping due to lack of time to spend on it), my husband was understanding. Things changed when the kids grew up and left home and now I’m feeling a weird kind of pressure about why I’m not bringing in the same income I used to before the kids. I guess you never know when this might occur.

  8. Hi,
    Unfortunately, domestic financial abuse does not only happens to women. It happens to men too. I once read news about a man getting verbally abused by his wife and even physically abused as he was just enduring punches by his wife. If this kind of thing happens to anyone, I feel it is best to sit down and talk nicely to your spouse. If it still does not work, it is time to hire professionals or if things get worse, some legal action should be taken.

  9. Hi,
    Unfortunately, domestic financial abuse does not only happens to women. It happens to men too. I once read news about a man getting verbally abused by his wife and even physically abused as he was just enduring punches by his wife. If this kind of thing happens to anyone, I feel it is best to sit down and talk nicely to your spouse. If it still does not work, it is time to hire professionals or if things get worse, some legal action should be taken.

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