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'Martin, I read your financial abuse guide and realised I've been financially controlled for most...

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog.

Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.
Read Martin's 'Martin, I read your financial abuse guide and realised I've been financially controlled for most of my marriage – I want to tell my story'

 Please click 'post reply' to discuss below.


  • abster31abster31 Forumite
    17 Posts
    10 Posts
    Wow Karen. This is like reading my story!

    My ex-husband had bad credit history, or so he told me, and all the loans, credit cards and agreements were in my name ( I was 23 and naive). And he basically walked out one night.

    He was a car mechanic, kept buying cars fixing them and buying more. He never brought any of the money home and we couldn’t make ends meet. 

    We even had to live in a caravan when my eldest was 2.5 and I was 4 months pregnant. The caravan was leaking, the heating broke and I wanted to live in a house and he said ‘all you want is a bit of brick’. I’ll never forget those words. Too much to ask to live in a house.

    We had about £200 a month left after our debts for rent and it was impossible. I had to go to CAB and they did a debt management plan. We moved to a house and we had to pretend I wasn’t pregnant else we wouldn’t get the two bed terrace.

    I had to justify anything I spent and had to ask my husband for nursing bras when my son was born. Once I had stopped breast feeding him, there was no money for baby formula milk. We argued about money and he was constantly lying.

    I sat him down one day and said ‘I know you’re lying, but let’s start afresh. Tell me the truth and we can move on’. You could see it in his face but he refused to confess. I eventually found out he was a compulsive liar and that he owed money everywhere. People came knocking at my door for money. One woman I remember was in tears. He even ripped off travellers and I had threats and calls after he left.

    I started working in a bar in the evening to have my own money as he never came home before midnight and was up before I got up. He was furious when I got the bar job as he proclaimed he could earn more than I could in the same amount of time. It was nothing to do with the money, which was never forthcoming anyway, it was about my sanity as I saw no one but the children all day.

    We had a blazing row one day and he tried to strangle me. We went to bed and when I woke up he had gone.

    I was working full time by this point as he said being a stay at home parent was easy so we had swapped roles. I couldn’t go to work. I had to take two weeks off to find a childminder and sort child tax credit so I could return to work.

    He then wouldn’t turn up to collect our 1&3 year olds who were sat waiting in their coats and shoes. He didn’t answer the phone. To this day I hate people screening my calls.

    He didn’t give me a penny for a year and left me in all the debt. I tried to take him off the joint account and he lied and said he had done it. I went into Santander (Abbey back then) after weeks of toing  and froing  and they had convinced him not to remove his name and he was still on the account, despite it being only my money going in. He emptied my account and I couldn’t afford my rent. Abbey we’re appalling.

    Luckily my landlord evicted me as he was looking to sell and I struggled with the rent. I was housed by the housing association as I’d been on the list for four years. It was a really rough area, but it was my home. He even tried to get on the tenancy agreement as we had originally applied as joint applicants on the housing list. I am afraid to say I faked his signature to ensure he had nothing to do with my home as the housing association had to have his consent in writing which is absolutely crazy considering we were separated and the history of violence and money.

    I had days I couldn’t eat, and I could just about feed the kids as I couldn’t afford to. I had very little family support. 

    He didn’t see them or provide for them for a year and I had to eventually go to the Csa. Once they calculated he had to pay £100 a week he was furious and he cut his hours to the bare minimum so he only had to pay £60.

    I was so naive back then. He paid me fortnightly when he eventually did start to pick up the kids. He then went self employed so the Csa had no control.

    I was still paying some of the bills which were in his name such as his mobile phone debt and his life insurance. I had to go bankrupt and a friend lent me the money to do so. It was the hardest part of my life.

    I worked full time and the kids solely relied on me as he was such a flake. I didn’t give them my best as I was snappy and tired and I will always feel guilty for that.

    Going bankrupt was so hard as my family were not supportive. My mother wouldn’t even help to open a basic post office account so I could be paid so I had to get paid by cheque and cash it losing even more money.

    I eventually got a visa electron, then a visa debit card after a year. After 8 years the bankruptcy was off my credit file and I got a credit card to improve my credit score. After 1 year of using the credit card for fuel and food and repaying it at the end of each month, in 2015, 9 years after being declared insolvent, I bought my first home. 

    Never will I get into that kind of debt again. Never will I take out loans in my name for someone else’s benefit, married or not.

    I have a £2,000 limit 0% credit card and my mortgage. We have £7k left on a loan which we used for home improvements as the kitchen and bathroom had to be replaced (did most the work ourselves).

    My current partner and I have a joint account only for the bills, and with the exception of the mortgage, that is it. 

    You will get through this.

    It was going to take 30 years for me to repay £25,000 worth of debts and my only choice was bankruptcy. Luckily I didn’t own a home and my only asset was a beat up car which I fought to keep as I needed it to commute to work and drop the kids to preschool and the childminder.

    You put your trust and faith into your husband, and this is how I was repaid. It has left a lasting impact on me and I have a hard time trusting people and need reassurance. 

    I never buy a thing unless I have truly surplus money which I beat myself up over. I retrained and got a degree and have a good professional job now, but I won’t forget those days of no money.

    My ex husband even cut the Maintanence whilst I was in college retraining and I had to work three jobs whilst at university.

    My new partner earns almost three times what I earn and I believe, splashes out. He doesn’t think so. It’s his money but it goes against the grain and I will always have those worries in the back of my mind from 15 years ago.

    This will make you stronger. Sorry for hijacking your post, I felt so compelled to write!!!!
  • pennyforthempennyforthem Forumite
    185 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I don't know if he was like that before or if the change in circumstances changed him but I learnt to late for me that people block out reality in a lot of ways some of which are socially acceptable others are considered not. It happens when you cannot cope with the reality of your situation and you take on other habits that mean you do not have to live there. It can look quite innocent in using the internet, phones, watching TV unless someone calls you on being excessive. Or it can be what is more socially considered a problem excessive spending, drinking, drugs, hoarding etc.
    I should point out that it was after many years of having problems and no help that I stumbled upon this information and it has helped but it really is so hard to constantly monitor and adjust behaviours that I have done for so many years. I have been on top and I have been on the bottom, I can honestly say I never would have comprehended how you can put all your effort into achieving getting your life back only for life to repeatedly kick me back down. The sheer amount of effort I have waisted comes nowhere near what it was like to remain on top. Even if this does sound like what is happening he has to want to address this because he probably has negative emotions that he needs to find constructive ways to let out.
    Regardless of if I am right you have no need to feel guilty you stood by him even though it was rough going, he was very lucky to have someone who cares so much for him, he made the decision to leave you,  you have been making great progress in clearing your debt and been an excellent example to your children, way da go girl!

  • williammhendswilliammhends Forumite
    1 Post
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    For Karen, you have a very challenging life that you've experienced. Thanks for that, because it can make you strong and smart. But for Somebody who had also experienced the same with Karen and who had suffered because of domestic violence, there are many Women's Shelter in your location and ask help through with them. If you're in the State of Florida, you can call the Miami Divorce Attorney to get the proper help you need.
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