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  • Lynn Catalano

victim of financial abuse?

People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder need to have control over every situation and person in their life. This includes financial control.

Coercive control

Coercive control is a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation, intimidation, or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. It’s a form of domestic abuse.

The signs of coercive control sound an awful lot like typical behaviors of narcissists:

1. They isolate you from your support network

2. They monitor your activity & limit your access to finances

3. They control all aspects of your life – what you eat, where you go, what medication you take

4. They deny your freedom and autonomy

5. They gaslight you & call you names and put you down (humiliation)

What’s financial abuse?

Financial abuse is an aspect of coercive control. It involves controlling a victim's ability to acquire, use, and maintain financial resources. Victims may even be prevented from working. When the victims do have money, they must account for every penny they spend. In most cases, other forms of abuse are happening contemporaneously.

What are examples of financial abuse?

1. Withholding money

2. Stealing money

3. Restricting the use of finances

Remember, people who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder are exactly that – disordered. Their goals are always the same to gain and maintain power and control in the relationship.

Studies have shown that most Domestic Violence cases also involved financial abuse. In fact, financial abuse is often the first sign of dating violence and domestic abuse. That’s why it’s critical to know how to identify financial abuse for your safety and security.

Financial abuse is one of the most powerful methods of keeping a victim trapped in an abusive relationship.

What does it look like?

If you have little or no access to what you need, and your significant other, partner, or spouse has complete control over the money in the relationship this is financial abuse. Here are some examples:

1. Making large financial decisions without your input

2. Hiding funds in a private account

3. Insisting you share your income but refusing to share theirs

4. Controlling the “purse strings” or establishing unrealistic allowances

5. Withholding financial information such as account passwords, account numbers, and investment information

6. Forcing you to sign financial documents without explanations

7. Threatening to cut you off financially to punish you

8. Fights about money escalating and engaging in other forms of abuse like physical violence

9. Refusing to pay child support & dragging out divorce proceedings in order to financially hurt you


If you suspect that your partner or spouse is financially abusive, reach out for help right away. Financial abuse is not something that gets better with time. In fact, it often escalates and can lead to other types of abuse.

Talk to someone: friends, family members, clergy, counselors, or therapists, or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance. There are also organizations like The Center for Hope of WNY - 716-955-9658 for hope, help, and healing from narcissistic abuse. The best thing you can do is to address this right away.

If you’ve suffered this type of relationship, it helps enormously to talk to someone.

I’m a survivor of narcissistic abuse and now I coach people on their healing journey. I have purpose in what I'm doing. I give people clarity, validation & comfort.

Learn more about me here:

Click here to book a free session with me. We’ll figure out if we work well together.

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