How to Be Financially Independent in a Controlling Relationship
These tips on how to become financially independent when you have a controlling husband are inspired by The Parable of the Forest Pit – and by a reader who asked for financial help on my article about getting money to leave your husband.
Read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s the most important financial book ever written because it’s not about investing money, getting rich quick, making a budget, or even becoming a financially independent woman. Rather, it’s about gaining self-confidence and figuring out how powerful you are. This book will change how you see your self, your life, your marriage, and your controlling husband – and that is more valuable than 25 books on how to invest your money and gain financial freedom. “Think and grow rich” isn’t just about money, it’s about your life.
If you and your husband argue about money and financial independence, read How to Apologize to Your Spouse After a Money Fight. I’m not saying you need to tell your partner you’re sorry, but those tips might help you see how money fights affect your relationship – and how to cope with a controlling husband.
Here’s what happened to the maiden in the Parable of the Forest Pit, and how it relates to your situation…
The Parable of the Forest Pit
Once upon a time a fair young maiden was walking through a forest. She fell into a deep hole that she didn’t see because it was covered in leaves. She struggled mightily to climb out, but she couldn’t. In despair, she finally sat down and buried her head in her hands.
Before long she heard footsteps in the leaves above. She called out, and two ladies stopped and peered over the edge. They began to lecture her, telling her about the dangers of walking through the forest alone. They scolded her for being so foolish as to fall into holes she couldn’t climb out of, and how she should behave in the future. And they walked on.
What the ladies said was true, but the fair maiden was still stuck in the hole.
Shortly afterward, she heard more footsteps above. She called out. Two nuns stopped, and looked at her with compassion and kindness. They told the young maiden that her problem was primarily a spiritual one. They threw down a Bible and recommended some verses to read. The nuns told the maiden they’d pray for her, and they suggested she pray, too. And they walked on.
What the nuns said was true, but the fair maiden was still stuck in the hole.
A little while later she heard more footsteps. This this time she didn’t bother calling out. Two village women stopped anyway and walked to the edge. They didn’t lecture or offer spiritual advice – they jumped into the forest pit with her!
The fair maiden leaped to her feet and said, “What are you doing?! Now there are three of us stuck in this hole.”
“No,” the village women replied. “We’ve been here before, and we know the way out.”
All three women climbed out of the hole together.
6 Ways to Be Financially Independent From a Controlling Husband
Some of the practical tips in The Parable of the Forest Pit are obvious, and some are not. Here’s how I put this parable into practice; I welcome your ideas!
Don’t lose hope
The fair young maiden in the Parable of the Forest Pit stopped calling out for help because she didn’t get it. She stopped trying. She lost hope. If you’ve been with a controlling husband – or a critical husband – for a long time, you may feel hopeless. In psychology, this is called “learned helplessness.” You may believe you’ll never learn how to become financially independent because your husband keeps telling you that you need him to survive. Don’t lose hope! Remember the maiden in the pit, and trust that someone will come along to help you out.
Remember that “interdependence” is healthier than “independence”
Interdependence means you’re part of a community that supports each other. This community might be a neighborhood, a workplace, a book club, a support group for women who are in controlling relationships. When you’re learning how to become financially independent with a controlling husband, focus on finding a network or community of people that you can rely on – and who can rely on you. Don’t work towards being alone, whether it’s financially, socially, personally, or spiritually. Connect with others, be interdependent.
Find women who found financial independence from their controlling husbands
The best way to learn how to become financially independent with you’re in a controlling relationship is to connect with women who have “Been There, Done That.” Find someone who is willing to climb into the pit with you and get her hands dirty. Is there a volunteer organization for women in your area? Some businesswomen volunteer their time to help other women get back on their feet again – financially, professionally, personally. I don’t know what organizations or resources exist in your area; but I do know that part of being independent is reaching out for help!
If you want to leave your controlling husband but you’re scared you’ll never find love or happiness again, read How to Be Happy Without Your Husband.
In my work at a safe house for women fleeing domestic violence in Vancouver, I learned that it’s very difficult for some women to ask for financial help. Applying for social assistance, researching housing allowances for single women with children, finding ways to support yourself is a humbling experience. I myself have applied for welfare, and it sucked. Humbly asking for help may be the first step you need to take in your journey. As you learn how to become financially independent, you’ll find that this step may be one of the most important ones.
LISTEN to financial advice about how you handle money
If you aren’t a financially independent woman, I suspect you’re a spender. Maybe you were never taught how to handle money or balance a budget. Maybe you just love spending money – and maybe you married a controlling husband so you had an external source of structure. I don’t know what your relationship to money is, but I am 100% convinced you need an objective perspective on your financial beliefs, values, and money management techniques. How do I know this? Because we could ALL use an objective perspective on how to become more financially independent.
Be a burden
“I have no family support and I don’t want to burden my kids,” said my reader, who is desperate to learn how to be financially independent so she can leave her relationship. “I want out of this marriage so bad, but I don’t have the money to leave my controlling husband. He knows I can’t make it on my own financially, and he always wants me to pay something so I have no money left from my paycheck.”
Nobody wants to be a burden on their kids, friends, family, or coworkers! But you can’t succeed without getting help from others. There are no free rides to financial independence, freedom from a controlling husband, or a healthy happy future. You have to sacrifice something. Swallow your pride, and be a burden for a little while – just while you become financially independent. You’ll return the favor in the future, right?
Financial independence will cost you time, energy, resolve, humility, and focus. But the rewards will be worth it!
If your partner isn’t financially independent, read What to Do When Your Boyfriend Asks to Borrow Money.
I welcome your thoughts on how to become financially independent in a controlling relationship – and/or The Parable of the Forest Pit. What do you see that I don’t?
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill.