Financial abuse is a type of abuse that takes place in close relationships such as between intimate partners, or a caregiver and an elderly person. It refers to any attempt directed towards controlling someone’s ability to gain, use, or maintain financial assets or resources.

When we think about domestic abuse – emotional abuse and physical abuse are what usually come to mind. But those are not the only two forms. And one type that often goes unnoticed is financial abuse. Many times it’s also referred to as “hidden abuse” because often victims don’t realize that whatever situation they are in is a form of abuse.

It is often done with the goal to either gain power or to exercise control over the victim’s life as a whole by trying to control their financial situation and withdrawing security.  

It may be perpetrated by – 

Preventing the victim from working

Restricting access or stealing the victim’s money 

In the rare cases that the victim has access, the abuser may ask the victim to account for every penny spent. 

Impact of Financial Abuse 

Financial abuse can prove to be one of the most powerful tools to keep the victim trapped in an abusive relationship. This makes them feel incapable of sustaining themselves – finding a job and earning an income – in the real world.

Commonly emotional abuse is often accompanied by financial abuse in relationships. In the aftermath of emotional abuse, the victim feels inadequate and unsure of their abilities. Consequently, this increases the likelihood of physical abuse and violence as well. 

Signs – 

Exploiting one’s resources: This can be seen when someone either tries to control or access your money because they feel entitled to it. They might even demand that the individual turns over their paychecks or passwords. 

Interfering in employment opportunities: This often starts by belittling someone’s job or career choice and escalates to a state wherein the person either pressurizes or forbids an individual from working. 

Taking control of shared assets: The abuser doesn’t involve the individual in major financial decisions and often keeps the bigger financial picture in the dark. They might also try to control how the victim’s money is spent and become enraged over money. 

Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.


MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.

About the Author.

Dhriti Ranpura is a psychologist at You can learn more about her by clicking here

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of, the Founders, or management team.

Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.


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