Begging for pennies

Financial abuse. It isn’t talked about enough. It happens behind closed doors where the abuser can drop the ‘I’m so generous’ mask that he wears for everyone else and make me literally beg for daily necessities.

“Why don’t you just leave?” There isn’t money to leave. “Why don’t you just get a job?” He has sabotaged every job I have ever held. “Why don’t you just get into his account and take what you need?” Are you trying to get me killed?

Money is another form of power. Power that he can lord over me and enjoy my deep concern that I won’t be able to adequately feed our child or buy something as basic as tampons when I need them. Will I even have enough gas to get to the store if he doesn’t feel that I need the things on my list? Will he allow me the gas money?

My life didn’t begin this way. I had my own house. He moved in with me. I worked 16 hours a day to pay the bills. I wasn’t wealthy but I was able to take care of myself.

It happened slowly. Starting with the suggestion that I stay home with our children. The argument was, “You will only be working to pay for daycare and gas. There won’t be anything left after that. Do you really want strangers to take care of our children just so you can pay them to do it? Our children need their Mother.”

Of course I wanted to be there for our children! I quit my job on the promise that he, who was earning the lion’s share of the money, would take care of us financially while I took care of everything else. It was just one more, in a long line of broken promises.

Oh, he paid the bills…for the services that he thought we deserved. That did not include a phone or television. He didn’t want to spend his money on those things since he wasn’t home to enjoy them while he worked. It was never ‘our’ money. It has always been ‘his’ money because he is the one who ‘works for a living’. What I do isn’t work. It’s my duty as a wife and mother.

When the children were old enough to be home alone for a few hours after school, I decided to go back to work. I got a good job and advanced quickly. The owner of the company was thinking of retirement and asked me if I would consider buying the business from him. I was ELATED! For the first time in many years, I felt proud of myself.

Mister promptly quit his job. He then spent every single hour sitting in my office, making my customers uncomfortable by glaring at them while they talked to me and when my boss asked him to leave, he intimidated the poor man so badly that he was never asked to leave again. The offer to buy the business was withdrawn. Between the stress of the job, the stress of still doing everything I had been doing before at home, plus losing an opportunity to have my own business…. I had a heart attack. I was 36. I lost my job.

Mister went back to work. I went back home. The cycle continued.

If I say to this man, I need to go to the store. He wants to know exactly what I plan to buy and how much it costs so he can calculate the bare minimum of money to give me. I’m not kidding. The man pulls out a calculator and adds up every item on my list while questioning whether or not I really need this item or that item. If he is feeling generous, I get to keep the change. He acts like he just gave me a gold bar when I am allowed to keep the change.

In the mean time, he just spent $1200.00 to make some ‘upgrades’ to the phallus. That is what I call his shiny, jacked up truck with the $1400 sound system. The man doesn’t even listen to music. So why spend the money?

He also just bought five new tires for the phallus. They were $503.00 a piece. $180.00 work boots (because he works for a living) and a $2000.00 saw because he deserved to enjoy his hard-earned money.

I could leave with what he just spent on himself. The hatred is real.

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