Money Trauma & Financial Abuse in Narcissistic Relationships

Money Trauma & Financial Abuse in Narcissistic Relationships

Money Trauma & Financial Abuse in Narcissistic Relationships money trauma & financial abuse in narcissistic relationships
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Money is a powerful tool of control, but when it intersects with abusive relationships, it takes on an even more insidious role. Financial abuse is a systematic behavior wherein someone utilizes money and other financial assets to manipulate or harm another person. It’s also referred to as money abuse and is prevalent in narcissistic relationships where the narcissist exercises excessive control over their partner’s finances, often at the expense of their well-being. This dominance provides the narcissist with an upper hand to perpetuate their torment while satisfying their self-centered desires.

Similar to other forms of emotional abuse, financial abuse leaves victims feeling depressed, isolated, and helpless. The aftermath of financial abuse can result in money trauma, which becomes even more apparent after the victim leaves the narcissistic relationship. Financial or money trauma is the emotional response triggered by events related to money.

How does a narcissist engage in financial abuse?

Financial abuse is a subtle form of manipulation that can go unnoticed until you find yourself deeply entangled, perhaps drowning in debt or lacking funds even for basic necessities.

Common warning signs of financial abuse in toxic relationships include:

Taking control of all your earnings (and providing you with an allowance)

Forcing you to take loans in your name

Forging your signature on financial documents without your consent

Selling your possessions or assets without your permission

Concealing or stealing your belongings

Coercing you into selling assets solely under your name

Changing passwords for joint accounts without notification to control them entirely

Denying you access to money, making it impossible to afford essentials like food or medicine

Accumulating debt in shared accounts or credit cards

Withholding or obstructing finances such as child support

Making no contribution to household expenses

Squandering money on trivialities while depending on you financially

Prohibiting you from obtaining a job

Preventing you from attending important meetings or interviews, or sabotaging your efforts

Halt your pursuit of education

Harassing you at work or contacting your workplace

Shaming you for your spending habits while comparing them to their “superior” habits

Implementing a strict budget without room for adjustments

These are just a few indicators of financial abuse, but the most telling sign is if assets or money are utilized for control, granting someone an unwarranted dominance over you. It’s important to note that questioning a narcissist’s spending habits may trigger verbal and emotional attacks. Financial abuse is also a means for narcissists to hinder your ability to leave the relationship, as you might lack the financial resources to do so. Indeed, one of the main challenges in leaving a narcissistic relationship is often the lack of financial independence, which the narcissist uses as a final means of control.

How should you respond to financial abuse?

Responses to financial abuse will vary, as each individual’s circumstances differ. When confronted with financial abuse, it’s advisable to begin planning and setting small financial boundaries.

For example, consider opening a secret personal account to save money, consolidating your assets, and freezing credit cards or altering passwords to safeguard your credit score. Document your financial situation as you plan your exit strategy. If the narcissist hindered your ability to earn income, it might be time to seek employment or pursue educational opportunities.

However, proceed cautiously, as narcissists aim to maintain your dependence on them. These steps should be taken discreetly. The overarching goal is to leave the relationship and secure your financial stability.

Effects of Financial Abuse & Signs of Financial Trauma:

Financial abuse has severe consequences, leading victims to internalize unconscious beliefs related to money long after exiting the relationship. This can result in money trauma, which manifests in self-sabotaging financial behaviors.

Common beliefs arising from financial abuse include viewing money as evil (due to its manipulation), believing one is inept with money (based on constant criticism), feeling undeserving of money, perceiving money as scarce (stemming from the strict budgeting), or believing one lacks the ability to manage or earn money (due to the narcissist’s control). Living with these deeply ingrained beliefs can prompt behaviors such as:

Overspending — using shopping or spending beyond means as a form of self-soothing or distraction from stress

Underspending — being excessively frugal or reluctant to invest due to fear of scarcity

Avoidance — avoiding checking balances or discussing finances due to anxiety

Poor financial boundaries — struggling to set financial boundaries, leading to excessive giving or underselling services

These examples demonstrate the signs of financial trauma, often resulting in subconscious financial habits. Narcissistic abuse’s impact spans various facets of life, often affecting areas we are unaware of. Effective healing modalities target the deep layers of the subconscious mind to transform limiting beliefs, enabling individuals to live more in the present and establish healthier relationships with their finances.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.


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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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