One of the main signs of narcissistic abuse and also one of the most overlooked is financial abuse. In order to understand how narcissists abuse their victims financially, it is also important to know what financial abuse is and what the signs of financial abuse are.
the main points
Financial abuse is one way for a narcissist to gain and maintain control in a relationship.
Narcissists don’t feel empathy, so they won’t care about other people’s debts or financial ruin.
Brand names and price tags are more important to a narcissist than actual love.
Among the many obsessions of narcissists, money ranks as one of the most important. Not only does money provide security and stability, it provides narcissists with one of their favorite tactics: control.
Financial abuse is very common in narcissistic relationships and can take many forms, from hiding assets during a divorce to charging for store delivery. What many people don’t realize is that financial abuse can happen even when casually dating and long before wedding bells or divorce bills.
Related: An Apology To My Ex and I
dating a narcissist
Dating is already very expensive. From finding a mate to preparing for the actual meeting, being ready to impress someone isn’t a mean or weak thing to do. When you end up dating a narcissist, you can expect your costs to skyrocket.
Many dating sites are free to sign up at first, but eventually, they end up costing money to upgrade or message other users. Sites vary in membership fees from a few dollars per month to longer subscriptions for monthly packages, such as those offered by JDate or Match (Healthy Framework).
In 2017, singles reported spending an average of $1,600 on dating which includes dating apps, dating activities, and hair/makeup/clothing (Allan, 2017). However, while most of these costs have changed or been modified due to the pandemic, in 2019 44% of singles said their finances remained the same (Singles in America, 2021).
So while dining costs have decreased, for example, singles may spend more on other things, such as gifts for their date.
If you are wondering if your new partner is a narcissist, look to see how your pocket money is being spent. Are they OK with a glass of wine with dinner or just an iced tea, or do they need the whole bottle no matter the price? If I show up with carnations, are they delighted, or do they expect roses?
Narcissists are obsessed with looking better than others, which means dates and gifts will be posted on social media as soon as possible. These individuals have extremely low self-esteem and self-worth and instead project a false personality to the public. They are very jealous of what other people have, but at the same time they think that people are jealous of them.
In addition, expensive gifts and comments on their photos fuel their insatiable need for admiration (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
The importance of brands and price tags
Narcissists are also not the type of partner who will agree to accept an off-brand brand. They must have the best of everything or well-known brands within their circles.
Obsessing over brands or insisting on only one type of label is a hallmark of narcissist’s behavior. You can’t just buy your narcissistic partner a pair of slippers at Target for Christmas; The Ugg brand should be three times the price. Winter coats must be from The North Face or Columbia, bags can only be Michael Kors, and summer sandals can only be Walmart imitations but can only be purchased at Crocs.
This reliance on brand names feeds their ego and the narcissist associates their self-worth with the reputation of the brand. Jewelry often sits in its case and is only taken out for a photo shoot. Miguel recalls when he bought his narcissistic ex-wife’s jewelry for a holiday: “She organized pictures to post on Facebook and Instagram and tweet about, then put them back in the box and never wore them again.”
If you can afford it? charge it After all, it is not the narcissist’s responsibility to pay the bills or be held responsible for costs. The inability to feel any empathy for the suffering of others is another hallmark of narcissism (APA, 2013).
Related: Abuse The Abuser: Should You Give A Narcissist A Taste Of Their Own Medicine?
I, I, I… never you!
Narcissists will also refuse to spend any of their own money on dates or spoil their partner. They will never offer to pay, and if they do, it is simply for show. They may open their wallet to realize they’ve “lost” their credit card, or they may imply that the trip is their “treat” and then hand you half of the bill.
Narcissists are never generous with their own money, but they do expect others to meet their needs (Burgemeester, 2021).
A sense of entitlement reinforces the narcissist’s reality, and they truly believe they deserve whatever they ask for (Burgemeester, 2021). Some narcissists go into insane debt to keep up appearances and to please themselves; Other narcissists incur an insane debt to others to keep them happy.
The narcissist will also convince a partner to enter into a loan or financing contract with them so that they can afford something they previously could not afford. In this case, the effect is not on the narcissist’s credit score, but rather on his unsuspecting partner.
Jenny’s ex-boyfriend couldn’t get a loan for the top-of-the-line car he wanted, so he convinced her to co-sign. Unbeknownst to Jenny, she was actually the first signatory to the lease and her former partner was the co-signer. “I thought I was co-signing until I started getting bills in the mail. We broke up, but my name is still on the car, and he refuses to change it.”
Narcissists are unable to care about anyone but themselves. It doesn’t matter if their financial demands hurt someone else. They deserve what they want, and they want what they ask for at any cost. They wouldn’t think twice about humiliating someone else or destroying credit scores if he got them what they wanted.
It is so exploitative that not even family is a priority, which is evident during divorces and custody settlements (APA, 2013; Hines, 2015). Narcissists thrive on mistreating others in order to feel important and soothe their egos, and will even resort to spreading rumors about another person if they believe they have been wronged.