“All You Had to Do Was Ask, Tre”

Even before gas prices rose above $3 a gallon, filling up an SUV was expensive. It would have been expensive for me regardless of the price because I had very little money to work with in the first place. As his wife, I was on an allowance.

Let’s Add Gaslighting to the Equation

In mid-2005, my ex and I decided that I would stay home with our son. He was being bullied and had suffered greatly because of it. We agreed on the fact that I would stay at home until Will entered 9th grade. Initially, we were all thrilled with the idea and the results. Little did I know that the mental and emotional abuse that I had endured the 12 years before I left the corporate world would be gravely magnified and that gaslighting would play a prominent role in his control.

My “allowance went from $300-$400 a week in 2005 to $150-$200 bi-weekly by the time the marriage ended. True enough, there were the regular monthly bills that had to be paid, but there was also the $98,000 IRS bill that he racked up because he failed to pay taxes on his self-employed business. He would later blame that bill on me because he said I didn’t help him enough. The truth was, he snorted up any excess money he had in coke, scarfing down beer and stuffing dollar bills down strippers panties.

“All You Had to Do Was Ask, Tre”

As I mentioned in the beginning, filling up the tank on an SUV was expensive and by the time gas prices had gone above $3 a gallon, he was giving me $150-$200 every two weeks. It costs approximately $80 to fill my tank. I needed tampons, contact lenses solution, hair stuff, and other things. When he would give me $150, there was very little left to get those things. I wanted so desperately to get my nails done once and he overheard me on the phone telling one of my friends that I didn’t have the money for it. It would have been $25. He told me he didn’t have any more to give me. I hadn’t even asked him, so I wasn’t sure where he was coming from. Later on, I would learn that he had given a female co-worker of his, who he been exchanging emails with $2500. Can you say “guilt”? I was snooping and found the emails, but he had also told me that he had loaned “this girl” some money because she needed help. I had only started the snooping after he told me about the loan. When I started blasting him about loaning another woman $2500, but refusing to give me $25, he looked me right in the eye and said, “All you had to do was ask, Tre.” There it is again: lying and more lying.

The Shutdown

I learned to live with whatever he gave me. I didn’t ask for much of anything extra because I knew he was either going to say no or would want an itemization of the $150-$200 he had given me. He would always tell me that I needed to learn to budget my money better. The thing is, you can’t budget very well when there’s nothing to budget. I stopped getting my hair done because I couldn’t afford it. He told me that all I had to do was ask him and he would give me the money to get it done. I wasn’t going to ask. I refused to.

Photo credit: New York Times
Photo credit: New York Times

The Almighty Dollar

Money meant so much more to him than my son and I ever did. We had been arguing about me taking my nephew to work one morning and out of the blue, he yelled, “I make more money than God!” Not more than two weeks ago, he told me that he owes me everything because if it hadn’t been for me, he would not be earning the $200,000 that he does now. All I want him to do is pay Will’s tuition like he is supposed to.

It’s All About Control

Gaslighting is one other method of control that abusers exercise. While I don’t regret one moment of the time that I spent at home raising my son, I regret the fact that I allowed my ex that much control over me. It is never, under any circumstance, okay for a person to control your finances. I am now rebuilding my finances and living a much better life. Be vigilant in controlling your own fate.

Women's Lives

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