Today is the ten-year anniversary of my mother’s death. Grief ebbs and flows. While I rarely go a day without thinking about her, the pain isn’t as sharp as it was at first. Except on certain days.
I’ve been in a foul mood the last week, so I apologize to anyone who had to deal with me. I hadn’t forgotten the day, or the anniversary, I’d just been shoving it aside. But she’s been on my mind.
In tribute to her, I’ve been working on a passion project. Yes, in between the office gig, caring for my kid, turning in five pieces a week of content writing, and trying to date, I’ve also been writing up a guide. It’s the Guide to Leaving a Financially Abusive Partner.
While I didn’t set out to write about financial abuse, or to make educating others about it my life’s purpose, it began with this essay. And it’s grown from there. I’ve known since third grade that I was going to be a writer; I just never expected to be writing about this. But, as I’ve gained a small bit of attention on my corner of the Internet, my inbox has become increasingly hard to handle.
Woman after woman reaching out for help, or advice. Or to share with me her stories, and how similar they are to mine. I’ve spent hours on the phone coaching old friends through how to safely leave a financially abusive man (in addition to his verbal and emotional abuse). And, to be honest, it hasn’t always been easy on me.
I feel ungrateful complaining, given that I chose this path. But the emotional labor is intense and sometimes I’m not doing so well, myself. 2018 was an incredibly bad year. I lost so much – a good job, living where I loved, a boyfriend, financial stability, and simply put – hope. All that loss has led to massive amounts of grief, grief that sometimes buries me.
About two months ago, after another phone call, I tweeted and asked people if they thought writing up all my advice in one place would be helpful.
I heard a resounding, “YES.”
So this is what I’ve been working on in the background. There are resources for women leaving abusive relationships, but few of them make money and a woman’s finances the main focus. The Venn diagram between financial, emotional, verbal and physical abuse is fairly large but I tried to keep this guide focused on what women (and men, but it’s written from my perspective) can do to protect themselves financially when leaving.
I’m making the guide available for free as a PDF download. I hope that people will choose to share and spread it, solely so that it can reach those who need it. To be clear, I don’t make any money off of this site or my blog, so there’s nothing financially in it for me. But I have realized that part of my life’s purpose is to support women leaving abusive relationships, educate the greater community about the realities they face, and see those women shine as they step into their greatness.
So, here it is. It is a work in progress, and will be continually updated and revised as more occurs to me. And I’m going to find a place on the website where it can stay up permanently. Please share it, far and wide, with anyone you think may need it.
I’d like to publicly thank Naomi Kritzer for her input and advice, as well as all the women who have been so brave as to share their stories with me. Throughout this month I'll be highlighting different aspects of financial abuse, sharing some of those stories (with enough details changed as to protect the identities). Education is part of bringing about change. And if I can use my mom's experiences and life to help one other woman step into her power, then it counted for something. Rest in peace, Mom. You may not have lived to see it, but I like to think you'd be proud of the woman I am today.