February 10, 2019
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Over the last two episodes, Suze explored financial abuse. In this very special episode, you’ll hear a very candid and emotional conversation between Suze and her friend, Sarah.
Suze Orman here. Now I am very aware that you are about to hear another podcast on financial abuse. That will make three in a row. Why? Because this topic is so important to me, and by the way it should be so important to you. That I want to make sure everything, for now anyway that I want to say about it is out in the open. And it started out last week, where I was talking about my massage therapist that I met up with again after four years at some resort. And what happened to her and how devastating it was when I heard that she was in a financially abusive relationship. And then you responded. You wrote in emails, you had comments, and two of them particularly touched my heart. And I shared my responses, as well as those emails, with you a few days later. And then that podcast was over. And after it was over, I was watching Sarah. And Sarah was visibly upset. She was visibly upset in a way that I had never seen her be upset before. And I asked her about why is she upset? And she gives me an answer that I just can't relate to. And so then the conversation began. And thankfully we were still recording. Because this became a very difficult conversation. It's hard. I came down hard on Sarah. Because you know, it's not always easy to admit when you're being financially abused. Not that Sarah is, she's not. But it's not easy to admit it. It's also not easy to admit when you know somebody that you love so much, that they're being financially abused, and you don't know what to do with it. It's in this podcast that we get down to the facts of, we don't know what to do when we're in this situation, or when somebody else is. We don't even know how to feel about it or how to talk about it. So for now, sit back and listen. And just feel this podcast as it vibrates through your soul, and hopefully transforms not only yourself, but the world. So that we can all be women who feel strong, smart and secure. Sarah, I am looking at you, and I'm like, like cause we just listened to that entire thing that I just did. And I'm looking at you and going, Sarah in a financially abusive relationship? What is going on with Sarah? What is going on with you? Well, I've certainly been in one. And I think maybe that's what took me back so far. I was like having flashbacks about it. Um but you know this week we've gotten so many emails, and and I've been reading through them, and I listened to our Sunday episode multiple times as I tried to understand some of the emails that we've been getting. And I've been doing my own research on financial abuse and what it really means. And you just listen to this story Suze. And the conversation you've been having with this woman. And you realize that that one in four number. I mean it's a massive number. I mean look around. And I think it's so scary. Because I can see it. I mean what are the signs? You know you know you have that friend who's only pays for things in cash so that their partner never knows where they spend their money, or doesn't have any money ever. Or, I mean there's so many, so many different things. And I think it's really hard to to admit it. And then to know where to go to get help. I've known you for a long time, and I am watching you. And I do not believe that you are this visibly upset because of how this is affecting one out of four women, and this is all over, and you see it. Right? I want to say to you Sarah, who do you know is your mother being financially abused? Is your sisters, your brothers, your relatives, who do you know personally that is being financially abused? I mean I definitely have a girlfriend in mind. I don't know if it's fair for me to say it here. But I I definitely have a girlfriend in mind. But is that why you are so upset? So somebody you are really close with, you know is being financially abused. So when you hear all this, you get really upset. But yet you come back to me with this answer of you know, very intellectual answer. It's one out of four people, it's this and that, and I'm sitting here and go bullsh, Sarah. Look at you, look at you. Right? So something is going on in your life. And the whole time I've known you, I've never seen you upset like this. And yet this one topic has rocked your boat big time? And for that to be true, you're who I'm talking to Sarah. It's you know somebody, you've seen it happen. Are you upset at yourself because you haven't done something about it to stop her. What is it? So that's where I want to go with you Sarah. Not this intellectual thing of oh and. Sarah, tell me. I just don't know. Where do you where do you begin? Right? Where do you ask somebody what's happening inside of your home? You know where do you how do you even begin to have that conversation and make somebody feel safe? The way I just did it with you. I called you on it. I called you on it. I didn't go tiptoeing around it with this woman who sent in the email. I was very direct with her. I, I wasn't like whatever. You know what was interesting is that somebody wrote in, and I should read you this. They saw the interviews that I did on the hotline.org with the seven women who have you know survived domestic abuse. And she said to me, Suze, and this is a very sophisticated, editorialized professional woman who has written. And she's all around the place. That's besides the point. And she says to me Suze, I knew you were a great interviewer. But I never knew that you were this great. You're the only one who have ever seen interview somebody on this topic where you ask them the questions that we want to know. What was it like to be hit? What all those questions. So I ask the questions that I'm thinking. I don't censor them Sarah. You need to when you are with a friend you can't censor anything that you are thinking or feeling. You have to just go for it. You have to say to your friend, you know what, I don't like what I'm seeing. And I don't like how I'm feeling because every time I'm around you, I feel like you are living a financial lie. And you're living a financial lie with the person that you're living with. And I know in my heart that you're being financially abused. And it is breaking my heart. And it doesn't matter whether you tell me that you are or not. I know you are. I know you are because I see it. I feel it. I live with it with you. And I want this to change. That's how you do it Sarah. Well, I'm gonna do it. I mean I think that's what I have to do. I don't have a choice. Oh Sarah, in life, we always have a choice. However with that said, I'm gonna give you a break here. Alright. It's already been hard enough. So do me a favor. Let's go on, and now tell me. Because I'm going to check back with you girlfriend. I'm gonna check back with you. But for now tell me, has anybody else written in, are there any other questions that we need to focus on? One woman, her name is Jennifer. I'm gonna guess she's in her early thirties, late twenties somewhere in there. Um and her question, her email started when does control over finances become financial abuse? And she says she's a stay-at-home mom with a two year old which you know, obviously resonated for me. My husband has has us on a very strict budget. I'm not a process at all since I no longer earn an income. I'm allocated $300 a month for anything me related. But he monitors and evaluates what I spend. I feel micromanaged and controlled. I do have a little bit of pre-marriage savings for when I want to buy something that I don't have to quote unquote report back to him. I want to take care of myself, which I like she said that first, and my son and not allow any kind of abuse whatsoever. So going back to her question, when does control over finances become financial abuse? And the reason why that one stood out to me instead of some of the others, and some of the others did as well. Um, was I think that sometimes you don't know it until it's so big that it's terrifying to do anything about. And I feel like there were a lot of questions that we got from people who maybe were sensing, like you said at the end of, um, this is, is that trust yourself more than you trust others. And that little voice when you hear the little voice, what do you do? And well for this woman, yes, you are in a financially abusive relationship. The mere fact that you have to even ask that question, you know the answer. You know, I always have this saying that you never ask a question that you don't know the answer to. You ask the question usually so that somebody else tells you what you want to hear. And and therefore identifies with you, that everything's okay. But you know, you know. You're asking, you already know. You know somebody who micro-manages you and only gives you 300 bucks. You know, they're they're they're abusive to you. You're raising your child, both of your childs. And you know there's no how harder work than doing that. And yet he devalues you, and he controls you, and that's what you want to raise your child? And you already know, you already know the answer to this because here's the question to you, would you have another child with him? Would you if you had a chance to do this all over again, would you get married again? Would you say I do? Would you? Why do I think the answer to both of those questions are no, no I won't because if somebody is disrespecting you . If somebody is trying to limit you and hold you down and clip your wings and they don't want you to fly, and they want to control what you do. Are you kidding me? They have put you in jail. And you don't belong in jail. You belong to this world, you belong to your child, you belong to anybody and everybody that you want in your life in any way you want it. But that's not what he wants for you. Why is that? Why is it? Have you asked him? Why is he only willing to give you $300? Why won't he give you more? Why don't you ask him that question? But again, you know the answer to that because he wants to control you. I could go on and on about this but oh yeah you are in a financially abusive relationship. And either you change it now, you make demands now, you get him to understand that you want to be respected now, or you leave you leave now while you still can. Um with the woman that you spoke about and we and you read her kind of exchange with you and she was still protecting her children, protecting her husband while saying protecting her children, but really protecting her husband. How do you, I mean, I think the question is and and same thing with this woman, um Jennifer, how do you get the courage to just stand in your truth and you kno, pull the band aid off? I think there's a big fear. This woman has stopped working, doesn't earn any income, and she's got this two year old. That unknown on the other side is scary. That is the first mistake by the way that yeah, that's the first mistake. Before you stop working. Before you literally give up your income, you have to make an agreement with your partner that this is how it's going to be. I want this much money, I want this much money in my savings account, and you have to do that beforehand. But you've given up what you were doing. But you don't have to give up what you're doing forever. You can go back to work right now and figure out how to make that work. And Sarah to your question, you know there are eight qualities of a wealthy woman and in the first season of the Women & Money podcast, we talk about those qualities. But the main important quality is courage. It's courage. It takes courage to stand in your truth. It takes courage to say to somebody something that you know they're gonna yell or disagree or put you down. It takes courage to put yourself first. But if you aren't courageous, if you don't value who you are over everybody else, then really you have nobody to blame but yourself if you end up years from now being powerless, and being penniless. And going, I can't believe I wasted my whole life. And that's how you'll feel, even though you won't have wasted your whole life. Because maybe it might take you 58 years to learn the greatest lessons of your life. And you will emerge from that and you will be strong and who knows, you'll meet somebody else and maybe that person will not only sweep you off your feet, but you'll totally rebuild your financial life, and everything will be great. Money will teach you what you need to learn about yourself more than anything else in life. So no matter where you are in the age spectrum, married, two year old child, 58 and a half years of age after 30 years, 75 year old woman realizing about her mother or whatever it may be, money will teach you. And once you've learned that lesson, I promise you, you can move on. You won't have to learn it again and again and again. You can move on, and something else will move into your life and remedy the finances once you've remedied your soul.
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