Writings from Christine

How Narcissists Use Money to Abuse

by on January 13, 2015

money power

“Money is a mechanism for control,” David Korten, a former Harvard Business School professor states. And narcissists know this all too well. Even a little bit of money gives a narcissist a sense of power and domination over others. It starts off small with the little things like removing your name from the accounts and then grows into stealing, threats, and extortion.

What are some of the warnings signs of money being used as a mechanism for control over your life? Read on.

  • Assets – narcissists will:
    • Be generous in giving presents but then expects you to submit without question and to immediately comply with their demands.
    • Flaunt their money and use it as a weapon against the less fortunate, including you or other family members.
    • Forbid you to have access to your money or possessions so that you are entirely dependent on them for food, clothing, shelter, and any necessities.
    • Steal from you or your family and expect everyone to be ok with it.
    • Defraud and /or exploit your financial resources for their financial gain (not yours).
    • Destroy your personal belongings without remorse, especially items that have great significance prior to your relationship.
    • Prevent you from acquiring assets, insisting that you be solely reliant on them.
    • Demand that all financial gifts or inheritances be placed in their name.
    • Refuse your access to money to pay your court-ordered child or spousal support because it is not their problem or the other party doesn’t really need the money anyway.
    • Coerce you into selling or signing over any financial assets in only your name. Yet they have many financial assets in their name.
    • Pressure you to agree to a power of attorney so they can sign legal documents for you without reciprocation.
    • Cancel life, health, car, or house insurance without your knowledge leaving you vulnerable, and then claim that the expense is unnecessary.
  • Banking – narcissists will:
    • Open bank accounts in their name and/or yours but won’t give you access or allow you to see any records.
    • Force you to hand over your paycheck, deposit it in their account and then deny you access to the money.
    • Forbid you from maintaining a personal bank account, insisting that you are incapable of managing such things.
    • Own investment accounts at various financial institutions that are unknown to you and have secret stashes of money. They become angry when you confront them and claim that you are hiding money from them.
  • Credit – narcissists will:
    • Put all the bills or credit cards in your name. The assets are in their name but the debt is in your name. This keeps you, hostage.
    • Increase debt without agreement and then lie about it when discovered.
    • Max out credit cards without your knowledge. They will blame you when confronted.
    • Ruin your credit rating and ability to obtain credit in the future by not paying the bills. This move renders you powerless financially because you have no assets and now no ability to obtain credit.
    • Claim the credit card companies make enough money and therefore they don’t deserve to be paid.
  • Taxes – narcissists will:
    • Use your or your child’s social security number without permission to claim additional income tax refunds. Often this is done in a fraudulent manner.
    • Falsify tax records to show greater reductions than is true than expect you to sign tax documents without question. They justify the behavior by saying everyone does it.
    • Deplete tax-sheltered money such as retirement without your knowledge and expect you to just “trust” them.
  • Budgeting – narcissists will:
    • Shame you for how you spend your money while elevating their superior spending habits.
    • Put you on a strict allowance with an impossible “budget” thereby setting you up for failure in order to justify their refusal to give you access to money.
    • Force you to beg for money for clothes, food, medicine, or personal hygiene. And then claim you don’t really need the item.
    • Spend money on them but not you claiming that you don’t deserve it because of your poor budgeting abilities.
    • Punish your spending with verbal, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
  • Work-related – narcissists will:
    • Prevent you from using the car by taking your keys. They insist that they are more important than being on time.
    • Force you to work in a family business for little or no pay while tightly controlling all other budgeting.
    • Forbid you from earning money, attending school, or advancing your career. They demand total financial dependence on them.
    • Interfere in your work environment by calling your boss and demanding you be treated a certain way.
    • Insist on having access to your work emails and calendar knowing details about your job that is excessive, unprofessional, and violates confidentiality.
    • Harass you at work through unannounced visits, excessive phone calls, or texting to negatively impact your job. They claim that they are in charge of you, not your boss.
    • Force you to leave your job or cause you to get fired. Work is then blamed, not them.

Knowing the signs of financial abuse by a narcissist is the first step. Not falling into the same trap is the second. Begin by setting small boundaries to reestablish some financial independence such as opening an account and having your paycheck deposited into that account. Then build on that by attending a financial class that promotes balance, not a financial dictatorship. Have a conversation with them about what would happen if…(death, disability, or sickness). Calm reasoning mixed with compliments is a better way to confront a narcissist and stop the abuse.

To get your copy of the book, Abuse Exposed, click here.

Posted under: Narcissism Writings from Christine

8 comment on How Narcissists Use Money to Abuse


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    Live with now EX narc boyfriend. He used silence when I was supposed ot move long distance to be near him years ago.
    Was already locked into move.
    Moved and then he continued silent treatment.
    Reconciled and moved in because things were too expensive. Came up with a deal where I would give him most of my income and he would let me use his credit cards for purchases.
    Years later after giving him upwards of 275 k over 5 years he is managing to say I owe him 7,000.
    He stated dating a strippe r(yes dating, not just going ot strip club) behind my back last year.
    Threw it in my face, Said she was th emost beautiful woman he met in 10 years.
    Total cruelty. Instead of getting out of here with my pets, I came down with hoof and mouth disease AND tonsilittis and was sick for nearly 6 weeks.
    Fast foward and he has kept dating the stripper, taking most of my income and now is finally going ot move out.
    He owns the house and I can’t immediately leave with my pets.
    Even though he makes nearly 200k a year, he is terrorizing me verbally (he has never done anything physical though)
    and telling me I don’t make enough money and I owe him 7k and how can I pay him all the money for rent and utilities.
    He called me a HOBO and just wouldn’t stop shrieking at me.

    I am in such shock.
    I am smart and actually can make money, but being screamed at all the time is so nerveracking.

    He even had the nerve to suggest I go strip to make money.
    He has become a full on NPD fiend now that he has completely dumped and discarded me.

    I have both ehlers danlos syndrome and am newly recovered from hypothyroid.
    Both have exhausted me in the past

    I am going to try and keep getting plenty of rest and add in yoga, guided meditation and interpretive dance to keep my sanity.

    Thanks for your blog, it’s great.


    I am so glad to have found this article. My fatherhood, finances, career and sexuality have been systematically taken from me by a narcissistic, control freak spouse. Granted, I have naively allowed this to happen. I simply did not have the strength or cunning to continue to battle this brilliant manipulator. I am now allotted a small allowance and I work at a job far beneath my skill level in a city I abhor (near all of her family). Kids are grown and her hooks are into them now, as well. Things like what you have written help me understand it is not my imagination; that something is really amiss. Hopefully I can gather the courage and funds to make the change that is long overdue. Thanks.


    Thanks Christine! Loved the article! You are spot on with everything. Long story short, my good friend’s husband has basically 95% of all these issues. 1.) He pathological lies constantly 2.) He causes people to lose their mental health, their $, their businesses, their marriages, sometimes even their homes. He does not care! He lies to multiple business partners, he sexually harassed and groped every woman that ever worked in any of his offices. 3.) He makes my good friend put EVERYTHING in her name! So, if they lose their home it’s her fault! If credit cards don’t get paid, yep…her fault! Trucks, cars, assets all in her name! He overspends constantly on the latest and greatest gadgets, office furniture, and etc. 4.) He makes fun of everyones height, weight, hair, skin, where they live, what they drive, who they date, everyone is beneath him. 5.) He caused my good friend a lot of grief with his LATEST FLING/AFFAIR, yep he likes to go after the wet behind the ears ones…the 21+ somethings, blamed the girl for being too stupid and naïve to realize he was only using her. Well, at least it topped his other AFFAIRS with single gals, married ones, widows, and etc. He’s got my friend so knee deep in issues, it’s pathetic. He wooooes her every time! It’s truly sickening! 6.) He was chronically late for everything so people will stare at him! Talk about sick! 7.) Power of attorney & flaunting his $ (except it ain’t his! It’s all on credit!) I could go on and on and on, but you know how they are! Sad, what some of these narcissistic fools do!

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