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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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In the past I have made some financial mistakes. They effected

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In the past I have made some financial mistakes as well as some recently.They effected my husband and caused him so much anger toward me. For a few years now I have no access to the money. The accounts are in his name and I fall further behind on bills because of the shame it causes to have to ask him for money. The money is there to pay our bills but I dont have access to it so only his get paid. My bills pile up. Eventually I have to take the money without his knowledge, never meaning any harm. But I feel as though I am forced into the situation. If I do ask for the money, its interrogation time....20 questions followed along with how I should have done something his way, as he is always right. He gets extremely angry and threatens divorce. I dont know what to do. I want to be fair in the relationship. I am not a shopper, all I want is to eliminate the stress of the bills and feel that I am equal in this marriage. It has effected intimacy as well. I feel like I am locked out and he is in control, fully.

I'd like to ask for some more information so that I can give you a good answer.

What is the biggest issue for you:

1. Having to ask for money?
2. Feeling that he does not trust you?
3. Something else?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Both one and two are huge for me. I really dont feel that I should have to ask for money and be subjected to interrogation and put downs because of it. He is not approachable. It puts me in a survivor mode situation.....I am stressed out and dont know what to do.

It seems to me that both issues are to a great extent interlinked. They both produce feelings, I suspect, of guilt, shame and a very negative self image.

In a practical sense, I wonder if you can arrange for any of your bills to be sent directly to him to deal with?

We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Like a child, your husband is going to have to learn to accept boundaries, and you have to give him reason to change.

He needs to know that if he does not change his ways, there will be consequences.

The important point is that this is NOT blackmail – it is giving him a chance to change and grow emotionally, to the benefit of both of you. He needs incentive to change his ways, or he will not – why should he, he gets his own way right now and is rewarded. If you want your life to continue like this, do what you are doing. If not, have the strength and maturity to give him some tough love and allow him to grow.

Up until now, he has just been exploitative and abusive, and he has done that, and kept doing it, simply because he has been allowed to.

There is an old saying that "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got", so if he will not change, your future with him is going to be just like your past.

I agree that you should not have to ask for money. After all, I am sure you contribute fully to the home in other ways. I think it is time to tell him quite clearly that in return for your input into the home and the relationship, you expect to be treated fairly, and that that means all reasonable bills being paid without questions or put-downs.

Ask him to agree with you what these reasonable bills might be. Involving him in that decision will make it easier for him to keep his side of the bargain, and you will know where you stand.

He continues to abuse you – and abuse is what it is – because he thinks he can get a way with it. His mindset has to be changed, and he has to understand that if continues as he does, you will be the one to consider whether or not you want to be in this relationship.

Take back some power. Tell him, that if he does not start to be reasonable, household services – cooking, laundry, cleaning and so on will start to disappear. Make sure that he understands that his threats of divorce are hurtful – and frightening – you are not going to be held to ransom like this.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the detailed answer. My therapist says that he is abusive and that I am a battered woman. I have such a hard time with hearing that. Yes, I am angry and scared of the way he has controlled the finances, etc. But, I am responsible for it all. Had I not made mistakes, he might not be this way. He says that I would be the perfect wife if it wasnt for this. Its not that I want to spend the money, I want the security of knowing that if the money is there, I can pay the necessities and dont have to have that worry. I do not feeling like I have to 'steal' from him in order to pay the bills. It really makes me look bad and feel horrible. When he approaches me about it, I literally shake uncontrollably.

I do not know what kind of therapy you are having, but please ask your therapist if he or she can work with a Cognitive Behavioral approach. I suspect that would be most beneficial for you.

In the end though, you have to negotiate with him, making sure that you do not let him ride roughshod over you.
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