How Narcissists Use Money to Abuse

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 you 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 than 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 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.


There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at

Understanding Antisocial Personality Disorder

The Silence of the Lambs (film)

The Silence of the Lambs (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure who came up with the name “Antisocial” as this does not even begin to explain the disorder.  It would be like calling an aggressively trained pit bull a puppy who isn’t nice to people.  The former names of psychopath or sociopath are much more understandable names which create a more immediate understanding.  Since APDs (Antisocial Personality Disorder) tend not to care too much about what other people think, I’m guessing that this name is not the result of some political correctness however, it is the name now.

So what is APD?  Here is the technical DSM-V definition:

  • Identity:  Self-esteem derived from personal gain, power, or pleasure
  • Self-direction:  Personal gratification directed with failure to conform to laws or ethics
  • Empathy:  Lack of concern for feelings, needs or suffering of others
  • Intimacy:  Incapacity for intimate relationships
  • Manipulativeness:  Use of subterfuge to control others
  • Deceitfulness:  Dishonesty and fraudulence
  • Callousness:  Lack of remorse about one’s actions, aggression, or sadism
  • Hostility:  Frequent angry feelings, insults, or vengeful behavior
  • Irresponsibility:  Failure to honor financial agreements or promises
  • Impulsivity:  Acting on the spur of the moment without consideration of outcomes
  • Risk taking:  Engagement in dangerous, risky, and potentially self-damaging activities

The practical definition looks more like this:

  • No regard for morality
  • Lies all the time
  • Uses charm to manipulate
  • Sense of superiority
  • Recurring difficulties with all authority
  • Repeatedly violates the rights of others through intimidation
  • Hostility, aggression or violence
  • Lack of empathy or remorse about causing harm
  • Dangerous behaviors
  • Abusive relationships
  • Irresponsible work behavior
  • Failure to learn from the negative consequences

If you are wondering what this looks like in person, imagine Anthony Hopkins in his role as Hannibal in “Silence of the Lambs” or Angelina Jolie in her role as Lisa in “Girl, Interrupted”.  Both of them did an excellent job portraying APD.  Several studies have estimated that anywhere between 50-75% of the prison population has APD.

So how do you deal with a person who might have APD?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Because they are gifted liars, don’t believe what they say.  Actions speak louder than words.
  • Don’t waste your time being fake; they can smell a phony a mile away.
  • Be direct, firm and calmly unwavering in your decisions.
  • No emotion, they see this as weakness.
  • Their stories of people they have harmed is an intimidation tactic, show no reaction.
  • They threaten violence when backed into a corner, don’t look away as they can smell fear.
  • Don’t underestimate them; alcohol/drugs can empower and physically strengthen them.
  • Don’t threaten back; it is a waste of time.  If you say, “I’m going to call the police” then do it.

More often than not, counseling is very helpful in learning to deal with a person who has APD.  Relationships with APDs are not easy and often require boundaries with steel reinforcement and a strong support network.  This is not a time to tough it out alone.


Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at

Recognizing Exhausted Woman’s Syndrome

Exhausted Woma“Burn-out” is an understatement to what you are experiencing; in fact it happened so long ago that it is now stored in long-term memory.  What you are experiencing is beyond burn-out and feels more like a chronic condition for which physical symptoms of stress have become the norm.

If this sounds familiar, then you might be suffering from Exhausted Woman’s Syndrome (EWS).  The symptoms are as follows:

  • Over-annoyed – Little things set you off like people who can’t use their debt card fast enough at the check-out isle.
  • Over-apologetic – Saying, “I’m sorry” when you are not really sorry just to move past this item and on to the next one as quick as possible.
  • Over-attentive – Fixation on potential problems trying to keep them from exploding into bigger ones to the exclusion of taking care of you.
  • Over-burdened – Juggling too many balls in the air at one time resulting in a couple of them crashing to the ground.
  • Over-committed – Taking on responsibility for things which others should do but aren’t doing to your satisfaction.
  • Over-competitive – Driven to achieve in every area of life at one-time with no allowances for failure.
  • Over-conscientious – Striving for perfectionism while denying that you are.
  • Over-dependable – So reliable that nearly everyone around you takes it for granted that you will get the job done.
  • Over-gratifying – Trying so hard to please others that sometimes the entire point of the activity is lost (especially true for vacations and other fun family events).
  • Over-protective – Feeling the need to defend your decisions, actions, beliefs, and emotions to the extent that you withdraw or withhold intimacy.
  • Over-thinking – Obsessing over a conversation, decision, or event over and over without coming to any new insights.
  • Over-whelmed – Stressed to the point of exhaustion and feeling crushed by the weight of everyday.

If this sounds like you, you are not alone.  Many women suffer from EWS which is brought on by the competing demands of work, marriage, kids, extended family, friends, church, and community.  Unlike codependency which requires a dependency on a relationship, EWS strives to be independent of dominating relationships.  However this effort is met with great resistance from every relationship and as a result each relationship pushes for dominance.  This then results in exhaustion from trying to balance the conflicting requests.

There is hope for your exhaustion and it lies in repairing, restoring, and rebuilding your relationships to healthy perimeters.  Begin your journey by recognizing the need for help and then get it.


There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at


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Christine is available for speaking engagements for business events, women’s conferences, church events, and school events.  She has taught in a variety of environments from children through senior adults in office settings, retreats, and classrooms.  Her experience as a counselor, teacher, small business owner, and stock broker enables her to relate to a variety of audiences.  To schedule a speaking engagement, please call 407-647-7005.  The cost is determined by the type of event and must include allowances for travel and any necessary accommodations.