Category Archives: Think

8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition, Femme Frugality is running a series on the topic every Monday. This series includes a mixture of factual pieces and personal stories.

Today’s post is contributed by Laurie Blank–a successful freelance writer who spent many tough years surviving through two abusive relationships; one physically abusive relationship and one emotionally abusive relationship.

Through education and perseverance she has learned how to find her voice and set healthy boundaries that ensure others treat her with love and respect. You can find her blogging about faith, family and finances at LaurieBlank.com.

Please use the hashtag #DVAM2017 when sharing this article on social media.

Note: This post may contain triggers for survivors of abuse.

Saving for my sister. Signs you might be in an abuse relationship. Good things to look out for before things develop into violence.

When you think of domestic abuse, do you picture a man or woman being subjected to physical harm by a partner or spouse?

The truth about domestic violence is that it can take on many forms. Along with physical abuse, an abuser might also inflict harm on a partner by subjecting them to:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Emotional neglect
  • Financial abuse
  • Manipulation and control tactics

Domestic abuse is about much more than the physical act of hitting, punching or shoving someone. Both men and women can be victims of domestic abuse, and both men and women can be abusers.

Often times domestic abuse is very subtle. What might come off as loving and protective is often abusive.

How can you know the difference and stop yourself from becoming a victim of domestic violence?

The first step is in recognizing abusive behaviors, no matter how subtle or masked those behaviors might be.

Here are eight things to watch for that might be signs that your partner is abusive:

1. Your partner is overprotective or jealous.

While on some level it might feel nice to have someone love you so intensely that he or she gets jealous of your other relationships, it’s not healthy for a partner to be jealous of people or interests in your life.

If your partner gets upset when you want to do things on your own or when you have your own interests, this could be a sign that things are at or heading toward an abusive level.

2. Your partner doesn’t like spending time with your family or friends, and doesn’t want you to, either.

Abusers often dominate their partners via isolation. Does your partner seem to not like any of your friends or family members? Does he or she get angry when you suggest attending family gatherings?

Do they insist you stop seeing your friends? All of these behaviors are signs that your partner may be trying to isolate you from people who might call out their abusive behavior if they recognize it.

3. Your partner exhibits controlling behaviors.

Abusers control their partners in a number of ways. An abuser may work to control:

  • Where you work
  • Who you hang out with
  • What types of activities you partake in
  • How the money in your relationship is managed

Or any other number of things in your life. Financial abuse is becoming increasingly common. A financial abuser may cut off their partner’s access to the family money or put them on a limited and unrealistic budget.

A financial abuser may also refuse to let their partner see bank, credit card and loan statements.

All of these types of control tactics are a means to keep you under emotional–and sometimes physical–lock and key. If your partner is exhibiting these types of behaviors it’s time to seek help.

4. Your partner has unrealistic expectations.

Abusers often have unrealistic expectations of a partner’s performance, appearance or time commitments.

An abuser may expect their partner to look perfect at all times, to keep a spotless house or to behave a certain way around outsiders.

5. Your partner doesn’t take responsibility for their actions.

Most abusers, when called out on their abusive behavior, are quick to blame other people or circumstances.

They might deny an incident or behavior altogether, or they might absolve themselves of responsibility for the behavior by blaming you, their job, their parents or whatever other convenient scapegoat they can come up with.

A healthy person not only acknowledges their own unhealthy behaviors; they seek to change them as well.

As an abused person, you might not be able to pinpoint exactly what the other person is doing, however you can notice a gradual change in your feelings. You might be struggling with feelings such as the three listed below.

6. You feel afraid to share your true feelings or “rock the boat.”

A person who’s been subjected to subtle forms of abuse might be afraid to talk with their partner about the behaviors that make them feel uncomfortable.

They might feel it’s their responsibility to do what is asked of them to avoid upsetting the apple cart. If you feel you can’t share uncomfortable feelings with your partner, something is wrong.

7. You feel you can’t be honest with your partner about the things you do.

Do you have to lie or hide information about what you do and who you are with out of fear of a negative reaction from your partner?

This might be a sign you’re in an abusive relationship. Healthy partners encourage their spouses to grow and improve themselves, and that includes having individual activities and having relationships with those outside of the marriage or partnership.

8. You are unhappy in your relationship, but feel powerless to do anything about it.

Are you unhappy in your relationship but are afraid to do anything to help improve it? This could be a sign that your partner is an abuser.

In healthy relationships, each partner feels free to talk about things that they would like to see changed or improved upon.

You should always feel comfortable going to your partner to suggest changes or improvements in your relationship as long as those changes are ones that will make your relationship healthier.

What to Do if You Are in an Abusive Relationship

If you think you might be in an abusive relationship, the time to get help is NOW. If the abuse is non-life threatening, you may be able to talk with your partner about going together for counseling.

If you are feeling afraid of your partner or if your partner has made it clear that you are in imminent danger you need to find a safe way to get out quickly without being noticed.

Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline to get professional help and advice about leaving. This is important because the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you attempt to leave.

Even those who “only” enforce abuse via psychological or economic means will sometimes snap and turn violent when they can no longer exert psychological or financial control over you anymore.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help you locate a local domestic violence shelter – or even connect you with your local police or sheriff if necessary – for immediate help with your situation.

Don’t allow yourself–or your children–to be abused any longer. Get help today and get started on living the life you deserve to live.

 

 

Related Domestic Abuse Content

To learn more about domestic violence or abuse, or to find more ways to get help, check out other articles in this series:

8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Many abuse victims don't realize their relationship is unhealthy until it is too late. Here are red flags to watch for from a domestic violence survivor.

LGBTQ+ Intimate Partner Violence

Unique Economic Obstacles for LGBTQ+ IPV Survivors

While intimate partner violence happens at a comparable rate in the LGBTQ+ community, survivors face additional financial barriers.

long term effects of ptsd

The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

PTSD affects combat veterans and survivors of domestic abuse alike. Learn what it can do to your finances, and what you can do about it.

Getting Help: LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence does happen in the LGBTQ+ community. Here's how to get help if you need it, and how society can better help survivors.

You could be the victim of financial abuse even if you're the primary breadwinner.

Financial Abuse: My Partner Nearly Drained Me Dry

Financial abuse doesn't just happen when a partner tries to limit your income; it can also happen when they try to take over the money you're bringing in.

8 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships

Having a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship is hard. This article gives you tips to help from a domestic violence survivor.

Feeling trapped in a relationship because of money

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is something many go through, but not all recognize it even as it's happening. Read on to learn how to identify this type of abuse.

Here's where you can find money to leave an abusive relationship.

I Have No Money: Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult, complex and nuanced. One major hurdle is finances. Lessen that problem with these resources and grants.

Unique Economic Obstacles for LGBTQ+ IPV Survivors

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition, Femme Frugality is running a series on the topic every Monday. This series will include a mixture of factual pieces and personal stories.

Please use the hashtag #DVAM2017 when sharing this article on social media.

Note: This post may contain triggers for survivors of abuse.

I didn't know intimate partner violence happened at the same rate in the LGBT community. These added hurdles are so messed up, too. Why are there not protections?

 

Over 35% of American women have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV.) While violence isn’t a prerequisite for financial abuse, when physical or sexual abuse is present, 94%-99% of the time, financial abuse comes along with it.

When we think of of abuse, we typically think of women in relationships with men. We assume these women are heterosexual, even though they may fall on a different point of the spectrum of sexual orientation. For example, bisexual women or pansexual women may be in a relationship that appears to meet our cultural perception of heteronormativity.

But abuse doesn’t just happen in 1:1, male:female relationships. In fact, it has a comparable rate of occurence in LGBTQ+ relationships to heterosexual relationships.

Financial abuse is a problem here, too. In fact, there are additional forms of abuse LGBTQ+ individuals are subject to. These abuses affect their personal finances in real and potentially devastating ways.

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse is when your partner attempts to entrap  you in a relationship by robbing you of your economic power. Abuse in all its forms is a way to assert control.

Your partner doesn’t have to be the primary breadwinner to pursue financial abuse. You can be bringing in the money and still be robbed of your control–and therefore your ability to leave.

To learn more about financial abuse, read this article.

Prejudices against the LGBTQ+ Community

We have come a long way in our country towards equal rights for some parts of the LGBTQ+ community. But we still have a very long way to go.

We hold prejudices we don’t even think about as we go about our day-to-day lives. We systemically oppress and allow these prejudices to influence policies and laws. This behavior is dangerous at all times, but it has a particularly pronounced effect on LGBTQ+ survivors.

Heteronormativity

Andi Tremonte, advocate with OUTreach Utah, defines heteronormativity as, “the assumption, in individuals or institutions, that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality or bisexuality.”

Heteronormativity has real impacts on employees in the workplace–whether or not they are in an abusive relationship.

Heteronormativity gives birth to homophobia, which Tremonte describes as, “the irrational fear of homosexuals, homosexuality, or any behavior, belief or attitude of self or others, which does not conform to rigid stereotypes for relationships and attraction.”

Cisnormativity

For as hard of a time as our culture has denouncing heteronormativity, we have an even harder time distancing ourselves from cisnormativity.

Tremonte defines cisnormativity as, “the assumption, in individuals or institutions, that everyone is cisgender, and that being cisgender is superior to being trans.”

Cisgender simply means that you express the gender you were assigned at birth in a way that is viewed as acceptable to our society.

The thing is, gender expression is a spectrum, too. In fact, Tremonte notes that you’ll find a wide array of identities and expressions when you look at the trans community.

Cisnormativity can lead to transphobia, which Tremonte says is, “the irrational fear of trans people, transgenderism, or any behavior, belief or attitude of self or others, which does not conform to rigid sex and gender-role stereotypes.”

He also notes that the occurrence rate of domestic violence is higher for trans people in general, and even higher for trans women of color.

Financial Impacts of Heteronormativity and Cisnormativity on Survivors

Heteronormativity and cisnormativity in and of themselves inflict financial oppression. In states without appropriate Non-Discrimination Acts (NDAs,) workers can be fired simply because their boss thinks they may fall outside of heteronormative or cisnormative cultural expectations.

Only thirty-three states have some measure of employment protections based on sexual orientation. Even fewer extend these protections based on gender identity.

This map shows which states do–and don’t–have protective employment laws based on orientation or identity:


Employment isn’t the only area of concern, though. There are separate NDAs–or lack thereof–for the following areas, too:

  • Housing
  • Hate crimes
  • Access to healthcare
  • Access to education
  • Public accommodations

Because it is legal to discriminate in these areas in some states based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, you can run into some really serious financial problems if you are outed.

Tremonte notes that especially for trans individuals, it goes beyond finances: being outed can be the difference between life and death.

Cultural and Identity Abuse

LGBTQ+ survivors face unique types of abuse that heterosexual and cisgender survivors typically do not: cultural abuse and identity abuse.

One way these types of abuse manifest is when someone threatens to out you. They may out you for being gay, for being transgender, for being HIV+, etc.

Those who aren’t LGBTQ+ can face these types of abuse as they relate to religious practice or immigration status.

Cultural and identity abuse leak into so many areas of your life–including your personal finances. Because of the country’s generally weak stance on protective NDA laws, being a victim of cultural or identity abuse has the very real potential of making you permanently unemployable, homeless, or–as Tremonte pointed out–dead.

He also notes that a lack of NDAs are not just a concern for the LGBTQ+ community; if you are simply thought to be outside the bounds of heteronormative or cisnormative biases, you can face the same consequences.

Let’s take a minute to do an exercise.

Here I want to pause. I want you, regardless of your orientation or identity, but especially if you meet heternomative or cisnormative expectations, to do the following three things:

  1. Think about what you would do if you were legally denied housing, employment, education and/or healthcare because of something you can’t change.
    What would you do for shelter?
    For money?
  2. Now, think about your preconceived notions about those who are of a different orientation or identity than yourself. Those prejudices that you may never say aloud, but still have trouble combating in your head.
    Do you see why they might exist after having performed step one?
    Do you see how these prejudices exist not based on anyone’s morality or work ethic, but because of the oppression our society inflicts?
  3. Now, think about how you see domestic violence survivors in general.
    Do you see why it might be hard to leave a relationship?
    Do you see why threatening to out someone can be a very effective form of manipulation?
    Do you see why some people in abusive relationships choose to stay–and that their decision may make them practical rather than weak?

What You Can Do About It

All of this can feel extremely overwhelming. But there are things you can do to help make the situation better.

Survivors: Know That You Have Rights

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult for anyone, but when you’re not an apparently straight woman, things get even harder. There is limited shelter for men, and prejudices have historically made it difficult for LGBTQ+ women to get the help they need.

However, in 2013, the Violence Against Women Act was updated to provide more protection to the LGBTQ+ community. You can read about the updates here.

Voice Your Support to Your Legislators

Ideally, we would have clear and concise federal legislation that point blank protected the LGBTQ+ community from any discrimination. This would protect all Americans rather than just Americans in a select few states.

Until that day, we still need to keep putting pressure on our state legislators to do the right thing locally.

Write to or call your legislators to let them know you want to see stronger protective laws for the LGBTQ+ community. You can find out who your legislators are here.

Type in your address to find those that represent you at the federal level.

Select your state from the map to see the legislators that affect state laws where you live.

Change the Culture

Gay marriage was only achieved after decades of advocacy from the LGBTQ+ community. When the Supreme Court was finally convinced that American public opinion had shifted, equal rights in one realm were realized.

But we still have a long way to go, and equal rights in other realms are still out of reach. You have a voice. Use it.

When you see heteronormativity or cisnormativity in action, call it out. It doesn’t matter where you notice it–at work, around the dinner table, or coming out of your own mouth. Things are not going to change, and LGBTQ+ survivors will continue to face additional barriers in leaving abusive relationships, until we change public opinion and therefore legislation.

 

 

 Related Domestic Abuse Content

To learn more about domestic violence or abuse, or to find more ways to get help, check out other articles in this series:

8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Many abuse victims don't realize their relationship is unhealthy until it is too late. Here are red flags to watch for from a domestic violence survivor.

LGBTQ+ Intimate Partner Violence

Unique Economic Obstacles for LGBTQ+ IPV Survivors

While intimate partner violence happens at a comparable rate in the LGBTQ+ community, survivors face additional financial barriers.

long term effects of ptsd

The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

PTSD affects combat veterans and survivors of domestic abuse alike. Learn what it can do to your finances, and what you can do about it.

Getting Help: LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence does happen in the LGBTQ+ community. Here's how to get help if you need it, and how society can better help survivors.

You could be the victim of financial abuse even if you're the primary breadwinner.

Financial Abuse: My Partner Nearly Drained Me Dry

Financial abuse doesn't just happen when a partner tries to limit your income; it can also happen when they try to take over the money you're bringing in.

8 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships

Having a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship is hard. This article gives you tips to help from a domestic violence survivor.

Feeling trapped in a relationship because of money

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is something many go through, but not all recognize it even as it's happening. Read on to learn how to identify this type of abuse.

Here's where you can find money to leave an abusive relationship.

I Have No Money: Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult, complex and nuanced. One major hurdle is finances. Lessen that problem with these resources and grants.

Gifts That Give Back

Loving this list of gifts that give back. Has some really creative ideas that never occured to me before. Now my Christmas shopping list will include something other than just charity donations!

I know it’s not December yet, but we’re going to start getting into some holiday stuff around here. I’m a strong proponent of buying gifts throughout the year. It makes it so your budget takes a bunch of small hits rather than one big one. And it’s much easier to recover from small hits.

Or, you could budget in a small amount of money for gifting each month. That would probably be healthier.

Regardless, this year I wanted to put together a unique gift guide. Twenty seventeen has been a rough year for me. It’s been a rough year for the country, the world, and I’m guessing the people in your life have been thrown for a loop, too.

As we think about giving this year, maybe we should be thinking a bit beyond ourselves. Maybe we should make sure the money that we’re spending is going to support others who are suffering or working through some trials towards a grander goal and future.

That doesn’t mean our gift list needs to be an itinerary of charity donations. Not that there’s anything wrong with charity donations; organizations need money now more than ever.

It’s just that we can still get useful and meaningful gifts while supporting good causes.

Ten Thousand Villages

I’ve been gifting or receiving from Ten Thousand Villages since I was a little kid. My amazing aunt introduced our family to the organization, which brings wares from artisans in developing areas the world over into its shops and online marketplace.

They make sure everyone is being paid fairly and that working conditions are safe. A lot of the materials used are recycled or au naturale. When you shop at Ten Thousand Villages, you support small businesses and individuals by giving them employment–which leads to access to healthcare and education because money.

Plus, you get really phenomenal products. Here are just a few examples of the types of jewelry, housewares and personal care items you’ll find:

Summer Day Hammock

Cream Cotton And Wood Hammock - Summer Day Hammock

The aforementioned aunt has several hammocks inside her home. I’m not going to lie–I’ve taken more than my fair share of naps in them.

She also lives in a chilly climate. The Summer Day Hammock is meant to be used outdoors.

How This Gift Gives Back

The Summer Day Hammock is made by Oyanca Artesania in Nicaragua. The organization–whose employees are 50% female–was started as a way to boost export opportunities for artisans in the Central American country. Today their artisans mix traditional Nicaraguan arts with contemporary design to make amazingly beautiful items like this hammock.

Mosaic Bird Pendant

Gorgeous White Metal Pendant - Mosaic Bird Pendant

Made of turquoise and lapis, this pendant–necklace chain included–is beautiful and only sets you back $49.99.

How This Gift Gives Back

This gorgeous white metal pendant is made by women from Manushi in Nepal. Women in Nepal have very little power over their own lives. Manushi works to solve that problem by empowering poor women with the power of artistry. They also work on community development, provide entrepreneurial training, and issue microloans for small businesses.

Merry Kissmas Mistletoe Soap

Merry Kissmas Kissing Elephants Scented Soap - Misteltoe Soap

Ten Thousand Villages actually has Palam soap in a ton of different scents. If pine isn’t your giftee’s thing–even when there are adorable puns involved–you’ve got plenty of options.

How This Gift Gives Back

India operates under a caste system. At the lowest rung are the Harijans, or untouchables. If you are a Harijan, you are not allowed to purchase land. Palam works to to mediate this injustice by using profits to buy land and homes for Harijan artisans in southeast India. They also build schools for their artisans’ children, on top of providing healthcare and pensions.

Krochet Kids

Krochet Kids fights poverty through knit hats, an apparel line and crocheted stuffed animals. With locations in both Peru and Uganda, the company is focused on building ladders to sustainable businesses. The women they employ get paid fairly for their work, have opportunities for management positions, and receive training in personal finance, business and their craft should they choose to venture down the road of entrepreneurship solo.

Krochet Kids intl. #knowwhomadeit

One of the many cool things about Krochet Kids is that the woman who makes your gift signs the tag. Then, you can go online and write her a thank you note. Here’s how they handle all those notes of thanks in Peru:

Support Healing Through Art Therapy

When you go through something difficult, it takes time to heal. It takes attention. It takes work.

After the past year, I feel like there’s an even bigger need for therapy than there was just twelve months ago, and I think it would be awesome if we could support more people as they choose to pursue the path of healing.

Art therapy is an extremely cathartic and meditative exercise that can pave the path back to well-being. It also happens to be one type of therapy that has a tangible end. Therefore, we can literally pay people for doing it.

Here is some work from some of my favorite Etsy shops–all of which sell the product of their therapeutic efforts.

Transitions

art theraphy feel good gifts

Ting Yuen is a full-fledged Canadian artist with her own gallery and all. She has always used art as a form of self-expression, so it makes sense that when she was going through a difficult period in her life, she painted her way through.

Metamorphose III, pictured above, is all about realizing that change, while painful, can result in beauty.

Gone Too Soon

Dana Pecararo tragically lost a friend when they were just 8 years old, and the pain stayed with her. Today, she draws upon that experience to craft sculptures for parents mourning their children.

This Mother and Angel Sculpture is demonstrative of her work which spans a wide range of grief and aspires to keep the loved one’s memory alive by sparking a conversation.

PTSD

ptsd art therapy

We talked about PTSD just the other day. About how it affects women more often than men, and how it doesn’t only happen to soldiers.

Bridgett Pollock developed PTSD after a traumatic experience, and now works her way through the ups and downs via art. Pictured above, Fragmented Continuation is just one piece in a series. While this one highlights a feeling of falling apart–of intrusive memories from the past coming in and shattering the present–some of the other pieces are created when she’s in a place of mindfulness and joy.

Anorexia

Taking self-publishing to a new level, writer Jennifer Prater shares her thoughts, feelings and experiences with an eating disorder in her poetry anthology–thin. Not only does she create the written content, but she hand binds each and every copy.

 

Are you giving gifts that give back this year? Would love to hear about your plans in the comments.

The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition, Femme Frugality will be running a series on the topic every Monday this month. This series will include a mixture of factual pieces and personal stories. Today we focus on the topic of PTSD, and what it can do to the long-term finances of survivors.

Please use the hashtag #DVAM2017 when sharing this article on social media.

Note: This post may contain triggers for those suffering from PTSD.

I never knew abuse could stay with you so long after the fact--or that PTSD could have an effect on your money.

PTSD is often thought of as a soldiers’ disorder. It is true that somewhere around 20% of combat veterans suffer from PTSD. These brave souls have been through truly traumatic and devastating events.

War is not the only place one can experience trauma, though. About 1 in 4 American women and 1 in 9 American men have experienced some type of domestic violence—whether that be physical abuse, sexual abuse or stalking—resulting in physical or psychological injury, according to the CDC.

In fact, there is a particularly strong correlation between PTSD and sexual trauma. This may explain in part why women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event.

How does having PTSD affect your long-term money situation? Today we’re delving in to find out.

The Effects of Macroeconomic Financial Shocks

Depression Babiesa study which focused on data from 1960 up until 2007—revealed that how the stock market has performed over your lifetime influences how much risk you’re willing to take on in your investments. For example, those who lived through the Great Depression are decidedly more conservative in their investments than those who entered the workforce in 1990.

PTSD’s Effect on Investing Behaviors

After reading Depression Babies, there was a lingering question in the air: if big, financial shocks impacted investing habits over the course of a lifetime, what effect would other types of trauma have on investment choices?

Vicki Bogan, associate professor of economics at Cornell University, worked together with colleagues David Just and Brian Wansink to find the answer to this question. Their findings were illuminating.

The study–Do Psychological Shocks Affect Financial Risk Taking Behavior?focused on the investment choices of WWII veterans who had experienced combat or war, and compared them to soldiers of the same age and era who had not lived through the same traumatic experiences.

It revealed that combat veterans were 14.10%-17.64% less likely to invest in risky assets such as stocks or mutual funds when compared to their combat-inexperienced peers. This is a problem because while these investments are riskier, they also hold more potential for growth.

Because this study focused on veterans, it notes that this data signals a need for heightened investment education for those who have seen combat.

Domestic Violence, PTSD and Investing

Research on the long-term effects of domestic violence on money habits is virtually nonexistent. Besides that, there isn’t a guarantee that living through abuse will result in PTSD.

However, because the rate of PTSD is comparatively high in women who have lived in abusive households, we can reasonably expect to see similar effects on their investment habits—until proven otherwise.

That means if you have PTSD resulting from abuse, you may want to check yourself to make sure you’re not investing more conservatively than you need to. Women with or without PTSD tend to set lower investing goals than men. We also tend to live longer.

Because we live longer, we need more money, yet we don’t shoot as high with our goals. If you’re avoiding risky assets unnecessarily, your behavior has real potential to delay how long it takes you to reach that already lowered bar.

What to Do if You Have PTSD

If you have experienced a traumatic event, like domestic violence or war, the first step to recovery is awareness. You have to recognize something is wrong before you can fix it.

If you’re concerned that PTSD may be affecting your investment habits or other parts of your life, talk to professionals. A therapist may help you work through the hypervigilance and fear—both of which may be keeping you away from stocks and riskier investments–while a financial professional can help you work out a sound investment strategy that matches your unique risk profile.

Riskier Investments Aren’t for Everyone

Bogan notes that taking on more stocks is not the right reaction for everyone.

“It [how much risk you should take] depends on a lot of factors,” she says. “One of the most important is your time horizon.”

For example, Bogan says that if you are saving money which you will need to access in the next couple of years, investing in stocks isn’t your best bet.

The stock market—over long periods of time—has reliably trended upwards. But in between the starting and ending points of that upward trend, there are a lot of ups and downs. If you invest in a stock and need the money in a year or two, there’s a reasonable chance that you will lose money on your investment.

However, she notes that if you have a longer time horizon—say, 10 or 20 years—you’re better able to ride out the ups and downs, taking advantage of that upwards trend. In these situations, you’re able to take on riskier investments.

Another major factor Bogan illuminates is risk aversion—or your level of comfort with investing in a greater percentage of stocks and mutual funds.

Because this is the area where PTSD could affect your judgement, it’s wise to work with a financial professional. Your own risk aversion may be heightened because of your experiences, even if all the other factors in your life, including time horizon, indicate that investing in more stocks and mutual funds is a wise move.

A professional can help evaluate your situation objectively without the cloud of bias that PTSD casts over riskier investments.

Get PTSD Treatment

Your retirement savings is extremely important. But if you have PTSD, you most likely have even more immediate needs right in front of you. What you’re going through is real, and other people have been there.

You might have PTSD if you’re exemplifying some—though not necessarily all–of these symptoms.

  • Nightmares, intrusive thoughts or flashbacks.
  • Emotional distress or physical pain/illness after exposure to triggers.
  • You try to avoid thinking about the trauma.
  • You can’t remember the details of the traumatic incident.
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.
  • Isolation from friends and family.
  • Irritability or aggression.
  • Hypervigilance.
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating.

The good news is that other people haven’t just been where you are right now—they’ve come out the other side.

The VA has stepped up their PTSD efforts in recent years. While not geared towards domestic violence survivors, the VA’s resources are still worth a look from all affected parties.

If you’re nervous about getting treatment for PTSD, visit About Face. The VA has put this resource together to encourage those suffering from the disorder to learn more, and to seek treatment.

Those people who have made it out the other side?

You’ll find them there, sharing their stories and the experiences they had while they walked the path of recovery.

Where to Find PTSD Treatment

Once you’ve decided you want to work towards recovery, seek out a mental health professional in your area. Preferentially, you’ll get someone with experience with domestic violence and/or PTSD. You can search local psychologists and licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) by their specialties on Psychology Today.

If you’re in an area where health insurance is scant, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They will be able to connect you with any local resources that may exist.

While you’re waiting to be connected, you can also take a look at the VA’s PTSD Coach Online. It’s not a substitute for personalized therapy, but it is a place to start.

Related Domestic Abuse Content

To learn more about domestic violence or abuse, or to find more ways to get help, check out other articles in this series:

8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Many abuse victims don't realize their relationship is unhealthy until it is too late. Here are red flags to watch for from a domestic violence survivor.

LGBTQ+ Intimate Partner Violence

Unique Economic Obstacles for LGBTQ+ IPV Survivors

While intimate partner violence happens at a comparable rate in the LGBTQ+ community, survivors face additional financial barriers.

long term effects of ptsd

The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

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Harness the Power of Powerless Language

powerful vs powerless speech

As women, we often are victims of prejudice in the workplace. If we say what we mean, what we want, or what we know, we get labelled as a b!@%*. If we soften our language, we tend to get trampled all over.

Hedges Are Powerless Language

When we hedge our language, we are using an aspect of powerless language. The anithesis of powerless language is powerful language.

Unfortunately, too many times I’ve heard powerful language attributed to the way men speak and powerless language to the way women speak. I feel that these associations are not prescribed based on the way we actually talk, but rather based on the way our society continues to view us.

Examples of hedges in powerless language are, “I think,” “seem to,” and “possibly.” The standard argument is that they weaken our language and invite people to doubt us or our credibility.

Powerless Speech Can Be Powerful

While this can sometimes be true, some of the greatest persuasive speakers ever used what we label “powerless language” to get their points across. Think Benjamin Franklin and Plato’s version of Socrates. They didn’t call it powerless language, though.

They called it eironeia.

These men had learned early on that being brash was not going to get them anywhere. They had brilliant minds, but no one was going to hear what they had to say if their arguments were cocky and left no room for any error by the speaker.

Cockiness and arrogance tend to make people solidify their original opinion rather than change it.

Powerless Language Changed Benjamin Franklin’s Life

Using eironeia changed Benjamin Franklin’s life. People started listening to and respecting him, which opened up the many career paths he was able to successfully pursue.

Here are some words  he suggested throwing out the window in his autobiography:

  • obviously
  • of course
  • inevitably
  • undoubtedly

These words tell the person you’re talking to that if they disagree with you they are a moron. When you make someone feel like a moron, they’re not likely to agree or ever want to deal with you again.  This is true not just when it’s a woman speaking the words, but a man, too.

Franklin replaced these powerful words with powerless hedges. Some examples he gave are eerily similar to the words we’re told to avoid as they’re powerless or “too feminine.”

“I convcieve,” or “I apprehend,” are an eighteenth century way of saying, “I think.”

Though if the language register in your situation were high enough, Franklin’s words verbatim could still be appropriate today.

Another of his examples, “It appears to me…” is essentially the same thing as saying, “It seems…”

His example of “…it is so if I am not mistaken,” could be replaced by the single word, “possibly.”

Give Powerless Language Legs to Stand On

Franklin always backed up his hedges with good arguments and solid facts. If we say, “I think you did the numbers wrong,” we’re not going to get a very good response.

However, if we change our language we can still use a hedge, come across as professional, and not make people hate us:

I think there may be an error in the numbers.  I’m looking at the district’s sales for February and they don’t seem to match this chart.”

We’ve used hedges–“I think,” “may be,” and “don’t seem”–and we’ve presented facts.  We’ve removed the negative judgement on our subject by focusing on the error in the work, not the person who made the error.

We can rage on in our head, “I know that you are incompetent!” But while those words may fall into the powerful category, they are not an effective way to problem solve in a work environment regardless of your gender.

Avoid Low Register Hedges

There are still some hedges you should avoid. Avoid anything that doesn’t sound professional. Things like, “I’m sort of busy right now,” or, “I’m kind of disappointed in the quality of your work,” might be phrases you would use with friends, but are inappropriate for the work place.

They don’t diminish your language because they are powerless; they can be used just as effectively as the other hedges we looked at above, but only if you’re using them in the right setting. The language register at work is higher. Period. Even if you wear jeans and a tee.

Powerless language–like femininity–can be powerful.

The next time someone tells you powerless language is completely ineffective and feminine, encourage them to read Franklin, Plato, and Socrates. Used properly, a little powerless language can go a long way in influencing others and gaining the respect of your coworkers and superiors.