Are you being economically abused? Hear my tale

Good morning. Come on in. If it’s cool enough, we can sit on my porch glider and chill. I think today is a serious discussion day.

Yesterday morning was great for sitting out on the porch. I just sat for a while looking at the gray skies, listening to the distant thunder, and feeling the cool breeze against my skin. The temperature was in the low 80s and there was a promise of rain. I could hear the rain hitting the leaves, although few of the drops were reaching the ground.

I like to read the newspaper out there. I usually skip the work and money section. I find that section very depressing for several reasons. I like good news. However, I read in that section an article concerning domestic abuse, “Programs empower women affected by economic abuse”  by Susan Tompor of the Detroit Free Press. That article  really resonated with me.

I knew during my marriage that I was physically abused, and certainly psychologically abused, but I didn’t really put a label to the economic abuse. I just knew something was drastically wrong with our financial situation, but I was powerless to do anything about it.

From the beginning of our marriage, my ex let me handle the finances. He traveled every week and had no time to run to the bank to deposit his checks. I had the checkbook. He had a credit card. He had no cares about the condition of his bank statements. He was making great money back then. I should have been able to shop in nice stores. Instead, I searched out thrift shops and less than K Mart stores. Why? He seemed to have almost all his check spent before it arrived. I wasn’t in control of anything. I was simply the book keeper.

My father died six years before I married my ex. He was not a wealthy man, but he did leave me a significant inheritance. My beloved knew the value of my “dowry” before the wedding. No, the money was not given to my husband, but it might as well have been. He brought only debts to our marriage which I paid from the pension funds I withdrew.

My ex and I agreed that we would wait a year before looking for a home. The apartment we occupied had paper thin walls so we could hear and be heard during some rather private moments. Four months into the marriage he just “”happened” to be driving through the area and found a house for sale he thought I might like. It was a lovely home. By putting down half my inheritance, we could afford the monthly payments. I did it.

We lived in that house a year before we were transferred. We bought a second home, got transferred and bought a third home, all in the course of two and a half years. Each home made a profit so I didn’t feel too badly.

We had been in our third home about nine months when my ex brought home some good ol’ boys I had never met from some bar I had never seen. He was all excited about his opportunity to buy the rights to run a motorbike race track. It was a “turn-key” operation. The meetings took place in our home but I was not in on them.

He had been trying for three years to get me to part with the remainder of my money. Due to the emotional abuse, I finally felt a lack of resistence. In my abused mind I thought if the money is no longer between us, we might become closer. I closed out my Merrill Lynch account and was paid in cash….$25,000. I handed the cash over to him and the following weekend we were in the motorbike race business. It was supposed to be a deal where we would get all our money back in a couple of weeks at this big race.

The weekend of the race came and it was pouring down rain. A big promoter was in charge of the race. We were told immediately that he got his money first before anybody else. Of course we never saw a dime. On our way home when I tried to question my ex, he started ranting and yelling at me to “Shut up!” He then added I had no idea who these guys were. He was afraid to mess with them. He threatened to push me out of the car in the middle of nowhere. I shut up.

If you come back tomorrow, I’ll tell you the rest of the story. Attic Annie


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