Controlling Relationships and
Financial Empowerment: Access vs. Control

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Have you ever noticed how controlling people enjoy using money to control their loved ones? Itís as though they like the roll of ďdolling out the cash,Ē all awhile knowing how it inspires financial dependency.

And those on the receiving end both love and hate it. They like their access to money dolled out, but hate the ďwaitingĒ period just before the allowance is due. They donít like the vulnerability that they experience in themselves, knowing that their access to funds is truly out of their hands.

The Lessons Learned through Financial Dependency

Now the irony here in relationships characterized by this dynamic of financial dependency is that neither party is really happy. The financially dependent person suffers from their lack of autonomy and self-sufficiency.

And the financial controller is burdened with having cultivated financial irresponsibility in their economically un-empowered partner. You see, even though it looks satisfying to be on top of this financial control dynamic, the reality is that the financial control loses control from the bottom up.

Financial Abuse vs. Financial Empowerment

I donít think it matters whether we are talking about husband-wife or parent-child when it comes to grooming these dynamics. If your spouse is enabling your diminished financial autonomy, itís like you failing to teach your own child financial responsibility.

If you recognize yourself or your own child in these economic control dynamics, seek to appreciate the distinction between financial access and financial control.

Financial Access vs. Financial Control

While you may like your occasional access to the family money, letís face it...what you really long is some control. You want the privilege and responsibility of financial control. And you realize itís not even about the money. Moreover, itís about personal autonomy, self-sufficiency and individual sustainability.

If you resonate with the glory and the horror of financial dependency, take a hard and honest look at the dynamics of controlling relationships. From here, you will recognize how to inspire the inner well being of your own financial control. And your relationship will benefit from taking away yet another dynamic characteristic of abusive relationships.

For more information about controlling relationships, visit and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. is a seasoned psychologist and consulting expert on domestic abuse intervention and prevention. Copyright 2010, Jeanne King, Ph.D.

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