This post deals with abuse and might be triggering for some readers.
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but it wasn’t until after I left my marriage that I realised I’d been financially abused.
We met when I was 16 and he was 19. It didn’t take us long before we knew that we wanted to be together forever and so shortly afterwards we were engaged. We were married by the time I was 19.
I literally went from living with my parents and being supported by them, to entering into a partnership where we shared money from the outset.
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We were both working full time and had started paying off a mortgage. We lived what I’d call an average sort of lifestyle. We weren’t strapped for cash, but we weren’t exactly rolling in it either.
I can’t recall exactly when the abuse started, I guess because I didn’t realise what was happening to me until after I’d left my marriage. I’d mention some examples to people, and I’d see them actively recoil in horror.
I can remember that for the longest time I was put on a budget of $30 a week for anything I needed or wanted.
This included clothing, alcohol, lunches, anything. He wasn’t much of a spender and so I already felt like I was the frivolous one in the relationship. Needless to say, the money didn’t go very far. I didn’t have the luxury of ever having my nails or hair done.
Okay, that’s a lie. Once or twice I got stick-on nails from Priceline or a DIY hair colour kit from the supermarket. It was just the basics for me.
I developed a love for baking as it was the one thing I could afford to do to keep occupied.
Whenever we would go grocery shopping, he’d take the receipt and deduct the cost of the eggs, sugar, and milk from my allowance.
On the odd occasion I’d splurge and get some chewing gum too. That would come out of my allowance as well.
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When I was about 24, I needed to have some surgery on my foot after stepping on some glass.
My mum took me to the appointment with the surgeon to have my stitches removed. The surgeon was about 70 years old and his practice was basically still working off paper records.