There is this idea in our common culture that all abuse victims need to do is leave. We see it on talk shows, in television shows and reflected in movies. And, unfortunately, even in the era of #metoo, this “just leave” mentality is still pervasive. However, when researchers actually talk with abuse victims who have left, they find that over 90% of them still deal with abuse, sometimes, even decades after they left.
Taking away your resources immediately
When you leave, the immediate move, for most California abusers, is to cut you off financially. Even if you have a job, they will try to lock you out of all of the accounts, and where they cannot, liquidate those accounts. They will also limit your credit resources by stopping payments, in some cases, and in other cases, taking out and applying for multiple loans. Cumulatively, these actions will make starting your new life much harder.
Taking away resources post-divorce
This economic abuse does not stop when the divorce is finalized. If they have your Social Security Number, they may still try to use it fraudulently or give it to others to use fraudulently. If your name is still attached to any bill after the divorce, they may stop making payments. However, their economic abuse can become extremely petty as well.
If you share kids, they may force you to spend money that you would not otherwise have to spend in several ways. They may sign the kids up for sports and other activities, and then, refuse to pay. They may misplace or lose items, which causes you to repeatedly have to buy items. Some abusers even go so far as getting themselves fired to have their child support and alimony payments reduced. Some Newport Beach, California, abusers may even fake a disability and work under the table to stop that support.
Beginning immediately and ongoing for as long as the abuser desires, they may try to manipulate you emotionally. This will come directly with you as gaslighting you about all the bad things they did. They may lie and only focus on “the good times.” They may also sow discord with your friends and family. They may spread horrible rumors about you, and possibly, claim that you were the abuser. They may even create fake social media accounts to Catfish you.
If you need to go, go
None of this is meant to convince our Orange County readers not to leave their abusive spouses. On the contrary, this post is to make sure that you leave with a plan. Talk with your friends, family and lawyer to create an escape and mitigation plan.