Natalie is a nurse and her husband Jack is a physician who co-owned the medical practice together.
Jack was self-centered when they married, but was really a Narcissist coming out of the closet a bit down the road. His belittling and tearing Natalie down increased in intensity until she began to doubt her own intelligence.
She enrolled in a three month certificate course and received high marks.
This propelled her to take stock of her situation. She felt conflicted because she thought it best that their two sons had a father in the house, especially since Jack was so active in Boy Scouts.
The Emotional and Financial Abuse
Emotional abuse is about punishing and keeping the other spouse in line.
Natalie started bringing it to Jack’s attention when he or a son was disrespectful towards her. She began limiting their couple time in public because she felt uncomfortable around Jack.
This meant not going out for office lunches and telling him that she no longer would attend his business functions including when he was the keynote speaker. Natalie started feeling stronger and refused to enable Jack’s façade of the charming family man.
Jack had been past president of various organizations in their city and Natalie was not playing the part of the adoring wife. To a Narcissist this is unacceptable.
Natalie did the office bookkeeping and paid their personal bills and mortgage. She completely paid the balances on their credit cards so no interest accrued. Then Natalie received a £35,000 inheritance which she wisely put exclusively in her own name.
Natalie also bought a Mediterranean cruise for the family, which Jack declined going on at the last minute, assuming Natalie and sons would forego this non-refundable trip.
Upon their return, Natalie and sons had a big shock.
Financial abuse is about control and that is what Jack did. While they were away, Jack and the female accountant colluded to remove Natalie as signer on the business account which is where all of their income was derived.
Jack took over paying all bills which resulted in their house going into foreclosure, high interest charges on credit cards and the utility company threatening to disconnect service.
Natalie sold some of her jewellery and dipped into her inheritance to stay afloat. Although she confided to family and friends, no one stepped in to help or say “Get out.” Only their financial institution was concerned enough to ask Natalie about an exit plan.
The sons asked their father why Mum had no money. Jack told them that she would have to come to him and ask for some, which Natalie was not going to do.
Natalie was so stressed that she refused to go out for their anniversary and Valentine’s Day dinners and offered to have them at home with the family instead. She got a collaborative solicitor shortly after that.
Looking back, there were signs early in the marriage of emotional abuse, but Natalie would explain them away. Or she listened to supposedly wiser, older folks who would downplay Jack’s actions.
When Natalie became a more independent person, then the financial abuse started. It is harder to spot abuse when it is your life as opposed to someone else’s.
We all make mistakes, it is how we rectify them that matters. Adversity builds strength.