October 16, 2010

DV Month RE-POST - "The Economic Abuse"

He was economically abusive.

In the early days of our relationship when I was working, he would call me at work to argue with me after he had kept me up all night arguing with me. I would hang up on him and he would call back again and again. I got in trouble with my job once and was put on probation after he called me over and over again when I went in to work overtime on a weekend. All the calls were monitored because it was a PC help-desk. They were able to see that when I was supposed to be taking calls from clients, I was receiving repeated calls on an outside line from this maniac.

Later on when I was a stay at home mom, I didn't have access to anything that had to do with money. I was on the same level as the kids in the home. His name was the only one on any account. He and he alone held any credit cards there were. He and he alone knew the account and pin numbers for any and all bank accounts. He and he alone knew the account and pin numbers for the stock account. He moved the money and only he knew exactly how much was coming in and going out. He paid all the bills (if they got paid) and he made all of the purchases. He doled out small sums of money to me on an, "as needed basis." Once he started working off the books, I didn't even know how much he made.

Times were always tough with him, but there were some times that got rougher than others. Although I was staying at home with our children, I offered to go to work at least part time to ease things a bit. He was always against it. He said the money I made would just go to pay for daycare or that it wouldn't add on that much and it was more important for me to be at home with the kids. When he was working at his legitimate job, he'd say that he'll do overtime or something. Anything that he would come up with was just to keep me at home. He didn't want me to be out there making any money of my own. The meaning of the children's nursery rhyme Peter Peter, Pumpkin Eater, became my reality. My entire life was a pumpkin shell.

He didn't want me to do anything that he couldn't be in control of.

I rarely bought anything for myself. No new clothes, shoes, or anything. I didn't get my hair or nails done. Even when I received money as gifts from my mom or dad for my birthday or Mother's Day, I didn't really use it on me. I used it for the kids or the home. It allowed me to be able to purchase things without having to go to him. It felt good to be able to just go buy some toothpaste on my own instead of having to let him know we needed it. Because otherwise, either he'd get it himself or give me a few dollars to get it.

On the few occasions when I did need to get something for myself, he'd take me shopping and pay for it. When he went shopping for himself, which was way more frequent, he'd go alone. When I needed something, the whole family had to come along. I felt like a stupid kid. I felt like I was under pressure and rushed because the children were restless and he'd be giving off this energy and look like, "Hurry up." I also felt like I was being watched. I felt uncomfortable and couldn't shop in peace. I would usually end up quickly taking something I didn't want or say that I couldn't find anything and continue to do without, just to end the shopping experience.

On the one trip he took me on in the 11 years I was with him, he was actually picking out my clothing. Instead of giving me a couple hundred dollars and letting me go to the store like the grown woman that I was, he took me shopping like a parent takes a child. I felt like his daughter instead of his wife. He would pick out things and send me to try it on. I felt like his whore or something. I would pick out things that I liked and had to show it to him for approval. If he didn't approve, it was put back. I think of all the things that were purchased for me for that trip, I may have only actually picked out 1 or 2 pieces. He picked out ugly, cheap and cheesy, hookerish looking costume earrings for me and like a good abusee, I wore them.

He even picked out my sunglasses. I didn't even like them and told him I wanted to look around at some other kinds. He got an attitude and began to say something to the effect of, "What's wrong with these? They look good on you, they're fine, you don't need to look at anymore." I knew where this would go, so I just shut up and took the stupid glasses.

I felt like I was in some Lifetime Network, "bad man," TV movie. I remember thinking, "This can't be real. I can't believe this is happening. I've shopped for myself my whole life and at 37 years old, he is picking out my clothes and accessories?!!
This is bad, really bad..."