Controlling Behaviour

Every kind of abuse is designed to be controlling in some way, either through fear, isolation, humiliation or restriction of resources. There are countless examples of controlling behaviour. It can be any kind of behaviour and is usually designed to specifically target your individual circumstances.


- Checking your phone

- Going through your bank statements or online banking

- Occasional indulgences – giving you hope that they will change by being nice every so often

- Picking fights with your family/friends so that you are isolated from them

- Creating expectations based on your gender

- Blaming you for the abuse or making you feel responsible

- Telling you that no one will believe you because you’re a man

- Being accused of having affairs



Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is a means of controlling someone through deprivation of resources. In the absence of resources, it can be extremely difficult to leave an abusive relationship and envisage a life beyond abuse. Financial abuse can be the control of liquid assets (your wages) or equity (your house). This can all be further complicated if you have children. It is a myth, and a dated view, that men automatically have the resources to leave an abusive relationships as men are traditionally the bread-winners. Not many people can afford to leave an abusive relationship and pay for a new place to live and continue paying towards the family home. This kind of abuse may soon be recognised as a crime under the new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) legislation.

Signs of financial abuse may include:

- Being forced to take out loans

- Abuse of joint funds

- Not being included in major financial decisions

- Having your signature forged on financial documents

- Restricting your ability to work

- Sabotaging your employment

- Accessing and monitoring your online banking

- Making you live on an allowance

- Withholding your bank cards or changing your PIN

- Asking permission to spend money on basic items

- Hiding important documents

- Refusing to contribute to the family finances where they are able to

- Securing loans against your house without your permission

- Making you submit fraudulent benefit claims or tax returns and using this to blackmail you



Ian's Story

Age: 28                                                             Location: Dundee                                     Relationship: Heterosexual

The biggest obstacle to me getting out of an abusive relationship was due to financial abuse. Kat was verbally and emotionally abusive, always making me feel absolutely awful about myself. She’d be difficult about everything. My salary was paid into a joint account, for which I didn’t have a debit card. I was given an allowance every week. She paid it into a basic current account for me. She had my online banking logon details and would track my spending. Anytime I withdrew cash she wanted to see receipts for what I bought. I found out that she had defaulted on a loan she had secured against our house and she had racked up some serious debt in both our names. Our finances were in a total mess. Her answer was that I should get a better job. I was already working two different jobs and absolutely knackered.


In the end I moved out and lived with my parents for a year. The house was sold and the debt was repaid. Neither off us made any money from the sale but money can’t buy the freedom I have now.

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