January 26, 2020
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In this podcast, Suze shares an email from a Women & Money listener about how seeing Suze at an event in New York helped her get out of her financially abusive relationship.
Suze O. here. Welcome to the Women and Money podcast as well as the men smart enough to listen. Today, I want to circle back and talk about a topic that's very near and dear to my heart and that many of the listeners of the Women and Money podcast are responding to, big time. And that's the topic of financial abuse. Still, to this day, when I talk to people about financial abuse, they so often still say to me, what is that? What is that? And if you listen to past podcasts over the first and second season, we are now in the third season of the Women and Money podcast, you will hear the definition of it. You will hear stories of women, you will understand far more about it. And I just want to read an email that I got today because it is possible to heal from abuse whether it is physical, emotional, verbal, psychological or financial abuse. It is absolutely possible to cure yourself of it, to change the situation around. But, you first have to know if you're in that situation, believe it or not, to know that you need to get out of it.You know, when you're in a relationship where you are physically abused, oh, you know you're being physically abused. You know when you are being verbally abused. What you normally do not know is that you are being financially abused. And this all started for me over a year ago when Avon and the National Domestic Violence Hotline asked me to interview seven women who had survived domestic violence. Every one of them had been financially abused, but none of them knew that that was one of the abuses that they suffered. None of them because there wasn't a black and blue mark, and that's when I started to go on this campaign of financial abuse. Again, you can listen to all those interviews, they are right here on the podcast, just go back and you will find them. Now, on September 15, 2018, I appeared at the Apollo Theater and a lot of women came to that event; it was sold out. And it was at that event that I started to talk in public for the first time about financial abuse. Here is an email that I got that I just really loved. And it's called "healing slowly."Hi, Suze. What can I say? Attending your September 15, 2018, Apollo event with my 22-year-old daughter was an emotional experience that is embedded in my day-to-day thoughts. After 21 years of being in a controlling and physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive relationship and marriage, my hearing you talk frankly about financial abuse turned on a light bulb in my head. You are so right. In fact, your talking about financial abuse brought an uncontrollable flow of tears from my eyes. I thought I had learned how to suppress my emotions of the decades of abuse, but I was wrong. Suze, you captured the part of my abusive life that there were no words for but I knew and was afraid to even try to stop it from happening. Suze, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This piece of information may be the missing link to my truly starting to thrive and not just survive. One day, and if you'd like to listen, I would like to share so much of those financially abusive years and those that followed to help stop the abuse. In 2003, I was fortunate enough to have police officers not leave my house on the day I called 911 to come and please make it stop. Our two daughters watched him behave like that to me and to our family dog. Police quickly picked him up on the street, parked with his truck at one of the fire stations. It was that night, after 21 years of abuse when I signed a request for a temporary restraining order. Police told me that if I don't, they feared that the next time they saw me, it would be in the emergency room. While I had so much violence during those 21 years, I was not hit. Suze, I was often pushed, shoved, my arms and legs were scrunched in his hands, resulting in bruises, bruises the size of footballs. This was in addition to financial abuse, verbal abuse, and threats to my life. In the last weeks, before he was removed by the police, I learned how to sleep with my eyes open. I know you don't like long emails, but for some reason, I needed to share with you so that you can understand how very, very thankful I am to have you define the one piece of abuse that was stopping me from really healing. Suze, I thank you with all my heart.I wrote this woman back and what I said to her was, are you kidding me? You can write as many words as you need to write to tell me all about your abuse, to tell me all about how you are feeling, to give me words and guidance to help the hundreds of thousands of women today, millions of women in the United States of America and really around the world, that are suffering from financial abuse. Help me do that. I would actually love to interview this woman, and I will contact her, and hopefully, we can do that so we can put a voice to the email and really hear her story. But here's what I'd like to ask from all of you. If you have been abused on any level, can you please just contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline? Can you just do that? A lot of you write to me and you're saying to me, Suze, please help me, I'm afraid I don't know what to do, he's going to kill me, he's going to hurt me.What I ask all of you to do, and I send you back emails like this when you do write to me that, I ask you to please call the National Domestic Violence hotline or send them an email. You would call them at 1-800-799-7233 or you would send an email to www.thehotline.org. It is a fabulous site that gives you all the information that you need. So that's number one. Number two, I would also like to hear from you if you have stories about being abused, especially financially. But I can tell you, I doubt highly that you are being abused and you are not also being financially abused. Because first comes financial abuse, and then come all the other types of abuse. Because once they are in control of your money, you don't have the money to leave, and then they can do anything that they want to you.Now, when I'm talking about abuse, it's usually a male abusing a female. However, there are absolutely circumstances where a female will financially abuse a male, and I see it all the time. So I'm not just asking the women to write in, I am asking the men who are smart enough to listen to also write in. Send me an email to AskSuzePodcast@gmail.com because we have got to figure out a way, what we can do, to really prevent this from happening. And if you think it's not rampant, you are wrong. Do you know that one out of four women today suffers from financial abuse? One out of eight women suffers from breast cancer, so I just need you to think about that statistic.Now, you may be wondering, Suze, how do I know? How do I know if I'm in an abusive relationship? He doesn't hit me, yet. Or, how do I know if I'm dating somebody who has that tendency to become financially abusive to me? So here are some signs of an abusive relationship. You might want to listen to this over and over again. You might want to write these down. These are taken directly from the National Domestic Abuse Hotline from www.thehotline.org, but I am going to share them with you right now. You're in a relationship and your partner constantly tells you that you can never do anything right. They show extreme jealousy of your friends and any time that you spend away from them, they literally discourage you from seeing friends and family members. Now, this is a big one. If you are in a relationship with somebody and they are trying to separate you from your sisters or your brothers that you talk to every day, your parents that you talk to every day, friends that you talk to every day, or that you have over, that is the biggest danger sign of all.A healthy partner wants you to be close to your family, wants you to be close to friends, wants you to have people around you to support you.So if that starts to happen, I am telling you because this is where this one thing I just said, they discourage you from seeing friends and family members. That is where all abuse, out of all the women now and men that I have interviewed, that's where it starts. Next, they insult you, they demean you, they shame you, they put you down, they want to control and they do control every single penny that is spent in the household. They take your money from you, even though you may be the one that's earning the money, and they're not working at all, you have got to give it to them, and if you don't give it to them, they take it from you. And once they take it from you, they refuse to give you money for necessary expenses. They look at you and act in a way that scares you, and you feel like you have to hide things. You find yourself hiding money in your kid's pajamas. You find yourself opening a post office box or something where you get mail from a place that you've got your money, but you don't want him or her to know that's where you have it. They control who you see, where you go, or what you do. They absolutely prevent you from making your own decisions. They tell you that you are a bad parent and they threatened to harm or take away your children. They prevent you from working or attending school. This is a big one.Many times, financial abusers in particular, always turn into, in my opinion, into physical, emotional, psychological and verbal abusers. They do not want you out of the house, they do not want you to have an income for you to be able to leave. So they prevent you from working or attending school, and everything you do has to be done with their permission. They will even go so far that if you do get a job somewhere because they think you're going to try to leave them, they may even call up your place of employment and lie about you and get your employers to fire you. They destroy your property and they threaten to hurt or kill your pets, believe it or not. They intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons. They pressure you to have sex when you don't want to, or do things sexually that you are not comfortable with, and they pressure you to use drugs or alcohol. And they use drugs and alcohol to absolutely numb themselves as well. These are just some of the signs of an abusive relationship. I urge you that if any of these, it's not about you having all of these things going on, if you have just one. If you are in a relationship with somebody who doesn't want you to see your mother, or your friends, or your family members, be careful. Big warning signs. If you are in a relationship with somebody who absolutely controls the money and there is nothing that you could do where they will give you money unless you beg for it, they won't let you see what's happening to the money, that is a big danger sign. If you are in a relationship with somebody who does not want you to work and you want to work and you don't have access to money, that is a big danger sign.If any of these things are happening to you, once again, I encourage you to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. I'm going to repeat the number again. It is 800-799-7233 or submit an email at www.thehotline.org.Now here is another favor that I want to ask you. If you are listening to this and you have been abused, can you send an email to AskSuzePodcast@gmail.com, how it happened to you? Can you send in your story? Can you tell me, did you get out of it? Are you still in it? Are you afraid that you might get into it? Can you tell me everything that, very possibly, you have never told anybody before? And I want you to notice that I did not use the name of the woman who sent this email to me, although I very easily could've. I did not read certain parts of the email that were descriptive, and it might identify exactly who she is to those who might know her or know her family members, that might be in the exact same situation that she's in. So I will be absolutely, totally respectful to anything that you asked me. If you don't want me to read it on the air, I won't. If you don't want me to use your name, I won't. Probably won't use your name anyway, just so you know, whatever you want, I will do.But I really, really want to put together on the app that's coming, an entire site that is dedicated simply to financial abuse. And I want to start a community where those women who have been financially abused, and now they're out of it, can help those who are about to get in it or don't know, whatever. And maybe somebody from the National Domestic Violence Hotline can moderate it. I just want you to have a place where you can talk to one another so that you can understand that you're not alone. There are many, many women and men that are in the exact situation as you. So, let's do something about it, and let's do something about it now. In providing answers neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman is acting as a Certified Financial Planner, advisor, a Certified Financial Analyst, an economist, CPA, accountant, or lawyer. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman makes any recommendations as to any specific securities or investments. All content is for informational and general purposes only and does not constitute financial, accounting or legal advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and financial advisors regarding your particular situation. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman accepts any responsibility for any loss, which may arise from accessing or reliance on the information in this podcast and to the fullest extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for loss or damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of the information. To find the right Credit Union for you, visit https://www.mycreditunion.gov/.