Bullying isn’t just a kid problem. Is someone picking on you financially?
It’s a memory that never made sense to me. I was 15 years old when I got a job flipping burgers, and when I earned my first paycheck I bought an album and a music magazine. When I got home from the store I panicked and stuffed my purchases under my shirt before entering the house. I sneaked past my controlling father and down to my bedroom like I was smuggling contraband, and even at the time I remember thinking, “Why am I acting like this? This is my money.”
What seemed like a weird reaction to me turns out to be fairly common. A recent survey by CreditKarma.com indicates that over 1/3 of respondents in relationships feel that their partners make them feel guilty about their shopping habits. That in itself does not constitute bullying; after all, collectively we spent 50-200 million dollars on Big Mouth Billy Bass toys, so obviously now and then a “what the hell were you thinking” from a concerned partner is necessary.
Where genuine concern about the household finances crosses into abusive behavior is when the bank account is used to control the other person. CreditKarma.com lists the following warning signs:
Financial bullying can come in a variety of forms, including withholding money, restricting access to certain accounts, and limiting spending. Many bullies will force their partners to account for even small purchases by always asking to see receipts. In order to feel the power and control bullies crave they also often threaten to leave knowing this would leave their partner in financial trouble.
The Sacramento Bee’s Claudia Buck recently ran a piece on financial bullying. She interviewed financial consultant Peter Cole, who said:
It comes down to using money as a weapon of power. Financial abuse is used in almost identical ways to verbal, sexual or physical abuse – to control somebody and express anger and unresolved emotions.
–photo DieselDemon / Flickr