How Narcissists Use Money to Abuse
“Money is a mechanism for control,” David Korten, a former Harvard Business School professor states. And narcissists know this all too well. Even a little bit of money gives a narcissist a sense of power and domination over others. It starts off small with the little things like removing your name from the accounts and then grows into stealing, threats, and extortion.
What are some of the warnings signs of money being used as a mechanism for control over your life? Read on.
- Assets – narcissists will:
- Be generous in giving presents but then expects you to submit without question and to immediately comply with their demands.
- Flaunt their money and use it as a weapon against the less fortunate, including you or other family members.
- Forbid you to have access to your money or possessions so that you are entirely dependent on them for food, clothing, shelter, and any necessities.
- Steal from you or your family and expect everyone to be ok with it.
- Defraud and /or exploit your financial resources for their financial gain (not yours).
- Destroy your personal belongings without remorse, especially items that have great significance prior to your relationship.
- Prevent you from acquiring assets, insisting that you be solely reliant on them.
- Demand that all financial gifts or inheritances be placed in their name.
- Refuse you access to money to pay your court-ordered child or spousal support because it is not their problem or the other party doesn’t really need the money anyway.
- Coerce you into selling or signing over any financial assets in only your name. Yet they have many financial assets in their name.
- Pressure you to agree to a power-of-attorney so they can sign legal documents for you without reciprocation.
- Cancel life, health, car or house insurance without your knowledge leaving you vulnerable and then claim that the expense is unnecessary.
- Banking – narcissists will:
- Open bank accounts in their name and/or yours but won’t give you access or allow you to see any records.
- Force you to hand over your paycheck, deposit it in their account and then deny you access to the money.
- Forbid you from maintaining a personal bank account, insisting that you are incapable of managing such things.
- Own investment accounts at various financial institutions that are unknown to you and have secret stashes of money. They become angry when you confront them and claim that you are hiding money from them.
- Credit – narcissists will:
- Put all the bills or credit cards in your name. The assets are in their name but the debt is in your name. This keeps you hostage.
- Increase debt without agreement and then lie about it when discovered.
- Max out credit cards without your knowledge. They will blame you when confronted.
- Ruin your credit rating and ability to obtain credit in the future by not paying the bills. This move renders you powerless financially because you have no assets and now no ability to obtain credit.
- Claim the credit card companies make enough money and therefore they don’t deserve to be paid.
- Taxes – narcissists will:
- Use your or your child’s social security number without permission to claim additional income tax refunds. Often this is done in a fraudulent manner.
- Falsify tax records to show greater reductions than is true than expect you to sign tax documents without question. They justify the behavior by saying everyone does it.
- Deplete tax sheltered money such as retirement without your knowledge and expect you to just “trust” them.
- Budgeting – narcissists will:
- Shame you for how you spend your money while elevating their superior spending habits.
- Put you on a strict allowance with an impossible “budget” thereby setting you up for failure in order to justify their refusal to give you access to money.
- Force you to beg for money for clothes, food, medicine, or personal hygiene. And then claim you don’t really need the item.
- Spend money on them but not you claiming that you don’t deserve it because of your poor budgeting abilities.
- Punish your spending with verbal, physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
- Work related – narcissists will:
- Prevent you from using the car by taking your keys. They insist that they are more important than being on time.
- Force you to work in a family business for little or no pay while tightly controlling all other budgeting.
- Forbid you from earning money, attending school, or advancing your career. They demand total financial dependence on them.
- Interfere in your work environment by calling your boss and demanding you be treated a certain way.
- Insist on having access to your work emails and calendar knowing details about your job that is excessive, unprofessional, and violates confidentiality.
- Harass you at work through unannounced visits, excessive phone calls or texting to negatively impact your job. They claim that they are in charge of you not your boss.
- Force you to leave your job or cause you to get fired. Work is than blamed, not them.
Knowing the signs of financial abuse by a narcissist is the first step. Not falling into the same trap is the second. Begin by setting small boundaries to reestablish some financial independence such as opening an account and having your paycheck deposited into that account. Then build on that by attending a financial class that promotes balance, not financial dictatorship. Have a conversation with them about what would happen if…(death, disability, or sickness). Calm reasoning mixed with compliments is a better way to confront a narcissist and stop the abuse.
Hammond, C. (2017). How Narcissists Use Money to Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 21, 2018, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/exhausted-woman/2015/05/how-narcissists-use-money-to-abuse/