Isabell Agumbah Spousal Conflict Over Finances 3-min

How to Confront Your Spouse About Their Poor Spending Habits

This blog was originally published on Isabell Agumbah’s Personal Finance Website.


It’s an argument that’s far too common for married couples. One person penny pinches and the other person spends money lavishly. If you find yourself in this predicament, there’s no need to fret. There are plenty of solutions to this problem.

Approach Your Spouse in a Calm Manner

Whatever you do, don’t yell or even raise your voice to your spouse, especially over this matter. Anger words escalate into tense, hurtful arguments. Instead, speak in a compassionate manner, working together to solve a problem, no against one another to prove who’s right. Use a calm tone that stems from a truly loving disposition. You want to approach your spouse in this manner because you’ll come off as trying to prove a point rather than seeking to understand your partner’s side of things.

Start Over

Make a fresh start by having a new outlook. Any money spent foolishly is already out the door. So, instead of focusing on the mistakes past the point of learning from them, take the ideas learned together and create a solution that works for your spouse and you. Doing so will create unity within the marriage and make it more likely that your spouse will talk to you instead of run the other direction whenever money is the topic of discussion.

Take Turns Paying the Bills

Although people joke about being horrible with money who then outsource all the financial handlings to their spouses, it is likely that those relationships result in strained feelings. That’s because the other spouse often has no idea how much is being spent on rent, food, utilities, and other large expenses. By allowing your spouse to see where your money goes, he/she might be less likely to splurge the way they may have done in the past. This is because it creates a sense of shared responsibility, in which neither of you acts as a parental figure, reprimanding the other for poor choices.

Keep an Open Mind

Keep in mind that you are a human being who does not know everything.  You may think to yourself that you know that, of course.  But, think about it within this specific circumstance.  Do you know everything there is to know about managing finances? Is there any way at all that you are contributing to the poor handling of your joint finances? Is there anything you can learn?

To help both of you humble yourselves, you can create an impromptu, mini-curriculum, for example, for the two of you to study together.  This puts you both on the same side and forces you both to learn about better management tools and grow in your relationship.

Finally, while your spouse shares his/her thoughts and feelings about the educational material, make sure to pay attention to how they act and what they say. Paying closer attention to these cues can help you better understand your partner and understand the current situation. Doing this can put you in tune with your partner’s needs and wants during the conversation. When you realize that logically, you are in the wrong or have wronged your spouse in any way, make sure to automatically admit it.  Then, apologize.  This will help your spouse to realize that you are not out to get him/her, but rather, work together.

Just because you have a disagreement over money doesn’t mean that you and your spouse are doomed. A lot of these money issues can be resolved by approaching your spouse in a calm manner, starting over, taking turns paying the bills, and by keeping an open mind.

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Isabell Agumbah

Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect? Take These 3 Steps to Protect the Child

Child abuse and neglect are not something to be taken lightly.  What can seem to stem from a “good intention” can quickly turn into an abusive and traumatic experience for a child.  If you suspect that a child is being abused, whether you are that child or not, it is important to follow these steps to ensure that the child is okay, especially if you are legally required to do so.

Step 1: Consider, “Am I legally required to report child abuse or neglect?”

It is important to realize that not all states have the same laws about reporting child abuse.  Some states require certain parties to report abuse, should they suspect it, while others do not.  Review Child Welfare Information Gateway’s “Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect” webpage to see if you qualify as being legally required to report abuse or neglect.

Step 2: Research, “How do I report child abuse or neglect?”

Now that you know whether or not you are required by law to report a suspected case of child abuse or neglect, here are a couple resources you can use to help you take this process to the next level.

Childhelp Hotline

According to their website, “The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the U.S. and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to… [approximately 55,000] emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential.”

Childhelp is a wealth of information for those who want to learn more about child abuse/neglect and provide detailed information on how to assess your situation and take the steps necessary to ensure all parties involved are safe from abuse and neglect.

State Child Abuse and Neglect Agencies

Every state in America has governmental services, available to help you or someone you know who may be subject to child abuse or neglect.  Child Welfare Information Gateway provides a detailed listing here of all of their contact information.  Make sure to find the help you need through this webpage or call 9-1-1 if you or someone you know is in imminent danger.

Step 3: Take action.

Once you have found the information you need to ensure the known child is safe from abuse and/or neglect, it is important to take action.  Are you required by law to report a suspected case of child abuse or neglect? Make sure to contact the appropriate, local authorities.  Do you need to do more research to find the correct information? Dig deeper, and act fast; a child’s life may hang in the balance!

Once you have taken the steps necessary to ensure a child is safe, you can rest assured that you have done the right thing and that you are doing what is best and safest for the child.

Isabell Agumbah Protect Children from Abuse

How to Protect Your Child from an Abusive Relationship

There is only one surefire way you can make sure your child is protected from entering into an abusive relationship of any kind.

Require that you are present as a chaperone during all times of interaction between your child and his/her partner.

But, that doesn’t work right?

Right.

As your child grows up, he/she will start to want to have more freedom in his/her dating lives. At that point, he/she may not want to discuss the details of his/her romantic relationships with you, and he/she may rebel against having a chaperone. So, now what are you supposed to do to protect them?

Take a step back and think ahead. What can you do now to protect your child in the future?

Here are four powerful ways you can make sure your child is safe from an abusive relationship.

1) Inform your child about the warning signs of an abuser. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a list of warning signs to share with your child. Click here for that article.

2) Show your child there are numerous reasons why they should leave a partner or never enter into a relationship with a potential partner. Utilize my previous blog post, “Dangerous and Normal Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Partner,” to help you describe what are the reasons why your child should leave a partner or not date a partner to begin with.

3) Let them benefit from knowing that abuse is not only limited to physical abuse. According to the London Family Court Clinic, “You can be in an abusive relationship without ever being hit. Abusive partners are self-centered, immature, manipulative, can’t appreciate the views or needs of others, shift blame onto others, don’t take responsibility for the bad things they do or say, are possessive and treat people like their property, and put others down to feel good about themselves. They are disrespectful and may have problems keeping their emotions under control.”

4) Have them read through the first three sections in this article, called, “Dating Abuse Resources for Teens.” The first three sections in this article are titled, “Who to Call,” “What to Read,” and, “Online Interactive.” This article gives teens insight into who to reach out to if they see or are involved in an abusive relationship or if they think something is just not right. It shares great resources to read to learn more. And, it also gives them “online interactive” resources to teach them about the dangers of abuse and the signs of wholesome relationships.

Isabell Agumbah Protect from Cyber Stalking

A Very Real Threat: How to Protect Yourself from Cyber Stalkers

Isabell Agumbah Protect from Cyber Stalking

Safety Alert: Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224” (National Domestic Violence Hotline).

With everything that has a bright side, there is surely a dark side. With the birth of the digital age has come great triumph, profitability, and success. However, a deep, mysterious, and abusive act has come about as a result; people no longer just stalk others in person, they also do it online. This is known as cyberstalking.

How to Identify a Cyberstalker

According to Emily Thomas of BBC’s Newsbeat, “Psychologist Dr Emma Short,” says,” people don’t always know when they’re crossing the line… ‘You are now more likely to be a victim of crime online than in the real world,’” she states. According to Dr Stone, there are three key signifiers of a cyberstalker:

  • They may have some form of mental issue or illness.
  • They may be exceedingly antisocial.
  • They may have addictive behaviors, particularly addictive behaviors resulting in spending exuberant amounts of time online.

Why Do They Do It?

Cyber stalkers might have a mental issue or illness. They might have been abused when they were younger. Cyber stalkers sometimes even start off as bullies when they are younger. Maybe they used the internet to tease their peers through abusive language and finding where they are to make fun of or follow them. There is usually a long story behind how these people got to where they are today; they usually do not become this way overnight.

Regardless of the motivation behind their actions, cyberstalkers cannot just view this as a simple or non-harmful act. The internet is a “toy” for many, but this type of behavior is unacceptable and severely dangerous. Not only is it harmful to the victims, it is also harmful to the bully. He/she might grow up to think this type of behavior is okay and implement the same tactics in a more severe way, such as mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, or spiritually harming or killing them.

There are an assortment of things that might drive their behavior, but what we know is that this type of behavior should never be encouraged, supported, or, especially, ignored.

How to Know if You Are Being Digitally Abused

If the behavior of the person interacting with you becomes stressful or harmful in any way on any level or even if the person is not interacting with you online but is rather trying to control your digital engagement, then you may be a victim of digital abuse and/or cyberstalking.

How to Protect Your Loved Ones

  • Inform Them of How to Identify Cyber Stalkers
    • Click here for the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s Digital Abuse Awareness Toolkit to share with your loved ones in print, on websites, and on social media.)
  • Give Them Tools and Procedures on How to Respond Should They Face a Cyber Stalker
    • See here on how to safely reach out to the police.
  • Notice the Symptoms of Abuse Should They Not Reach Out to You for Help
  • Intervene
  • Support Them

Remember: The three most powerful things you can do as preventative measures to save your loved ones from cyber stalkers are to do the following:

  • Raise their awareness of the issues,
  • Help them create a plan of action should they find themselves being stalked, and
  • Share preventative resources to aid them should they face an abuser.

Has you or someone you love been a victim of digital or domestic abuse? Reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline here.

Get Immediate Help Here

Safety Alert: Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224” (National Domestic Violence Hotline).

Isabell Agumbah

Dangerous and Normal Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Partner

Relationships are the spice of life.  They cause people’s minds to go on fire with feel-good chemicals.  The senses awaken when people fall in love. Colors seem brighter. Smells seem more aromatic. Tastes become richer. Sounds captivate you. You can start to tingle all over.  When a relationship is healthy, growing, and moving in a mutually-desired direction, people can thrive by having relationships.

When relationships cause pain of any kind, that is when one wants to consider why they are in the relationship.  Sure, do people let us down? Absolutely.  No one is perfect. However, when pain takes on a certain form, it can be unhealthy for both you and your partner to keep the relationship alive. Here are the reasons you should consider leaving a relationship.

DANGER: LEAVE IMMEDIATELY

  • Your partner is physically abusing your children, your loved ones, or you.
  • Your partner has an addiction.
  • Your actions and decisions are fear-based.
  • Your partner is abnormally jealous or distrusting.
  • Your partner makes you feel belittled.
  • Your partner has cheated or continually cheats on you.
  • Your partner is controlling and/or makes you account for where you are and what you’re doing at all times of the day.
  • Your partner wants you to change something about yourself that is unreasonable or cruel, such as losing weight in order for your partner to love you or be intimate with you.
  • Your partner has a mental illness he/she refuses to get consistent, professional help with.  The word “consistent” is the key.
  • Your partner cannot control his personal finances and/or abuses access to your finances.

NO DANGER, BUT DEFINITELY CONSIDER LEAVING

  • You’re ignoring your instincts that make you feel you should leave your partner.
  • Your partner can’t accept constructive criticism.
  • Your partner does not make reasonable changes after discussing hard topics or confronting him/her.
  • You think to yourself, “This will change about him/her,” or “If I only do ‘x,’ then he/she will do ‘y.’”
  • You don’t feel comfortable being your true self around your partner.
  • Your partner doesn’t show consistent support and compassion for who you were in the past, who you are currently, AND who you want to be in the future.
  • Your partner is selfish.
  • Your values differ.
  • You have to make excuses for his/her actions to others.
  • Your partner is constantly criticizing you or those you care about.
  • Your partner and you don’t have a definitive understanding of what your future holds for your relationship.
  • Your partner doesn’t have the same capacity for affection and intimacy as you do.
  • You want distance from your partner.
  • You can’t seem to get on the same page and communicate effectively.
  • Your partner does not put in the same time and energy into the relationship as you do.
  • Your partner is fearful of committing fully.
  • Your partner blames others for internal problems.

Keep in mind that it is okay to feel how you feel.  Trust your gut instincts.  They have been developed over the course of your entire life, as you have learned right from wrong according to your values.  Don’t diminish them.  Listen to them, and you will be surprised as to how you truly feel.  These can lead you to realizing how you honestly feel about a relationship and notice things you have not noticed before that are going wrong.

If you need help leaving a relationship and/or feel afraid to leave a relationship for any reason, reach out to the following resources for help:

Isabell Agumbah

Why Domestic Violence Victims Stay in Abusive Relationships: Part Two

We are back with why people stay in abusive relationships. Keep reading to hear why people stay in abusive relationships and what they can do to get help if/when they need it!

Has Low Self-Esteem

The abuser attacks the victim physically, but also emotionally. The abuser will isolate the victim from loved ones and will emotionally traumatize her. Being alone like this with no one around to esteem the victim when she needs it can lead to a very low self-esteem. Listening to the constant horror that comes from abusers can keep the victim feeling worthless and not good enough to receive the abuser’s love.

Has Dependent Children

The victim may fear for her children’s safety. “If I left,” she might think, “my abuser will come after my children.” The children may also be financially dependent on the abuser, and the victim will oftentimes not want them to be lacking by leaving. There are services available to victims of abuse and their families. Read on to see these resources.

Believes Abuser Will Change

“If only I would stop nagging, start cleaning, or be a better mother or lover, then my abuser would stop abusing me.” This is an illogical thought. The abuse inflicted on the victim is not the victim’s fault. I will say this again. The abuse is not the victim’s fault. Abusers are abusive for many reasons. Here a few actually valid reasons why abusers are abusive, and these reasons have nothing to do with the victim.

  • They have anger management issues.
  • They were verbally, physically, and/or sexually abused as a child.
  • They were orphaned growing up.
  • The abusers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and do not discontinue use.

These reasons are simply that–reasons. They are not excuses as to why the abuser can or should continue abuse. They simply explain why an abuser may be coerced to abuse. At the end of the day, an abuser chooses to abuse others. That comes back on their shoulders and their shoulders alone.

Doesn’t Know Help is Available

There are endless resources available to victims of abuse. Here is a massive list of resources from the National Domestic Violence Hotline. This is certainly not exhaustive, but it is a great place to start. Here is another great resource from the Family and Youth Services Bureau. Here are more resources from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. These resources can be found simply by typing in a variety of search terms in the search bar on search engines. “Resources for victims of domestic violence,” and, “domestic violence services,” are both great searches to conduct.

If you ever feel stuck in an abusive relationship, know that it is not your fault that you are being abused. There is help for you. Keep your hopes high that your loved ones and you will be safe again. Make sure to never let the aforementioned reasons keep you from leaving an abusive situation.

Isabell Agumbah

Why Domestic Violence Victims Stay in Abusive Relationships: Part One

Abusive relationships are not few and far between. According to the Huffington Post, 29% of women, ages 18-35, have been in abusive relationships. Of that 29%, 62% have been shoved, slapped, or hit, and 33% have been strangled or choked. A surprising 11% of that group stated they were presently in abusive relationships, in which the person believed she would be brutally harmed or even killed. These statistics are meant to shock and scare you. Abusive relationships are not something to be down-played or toyed with lightly. According to DomesticAbuseShelter.org, “Battering is the single major cause of injury to women, exceeding rapes, muggings and auto accidents combined.” They go on to say that “On average, a woman will leave an abusive relationship seven times before she leaves for good.” Although these statistics are staggering, they point to one major conclusion. It is never too late to leave an abusive relationship. Women often return to abusive relationships, but it is worth it to keep trying to leave until you are gone for good. Here are reasons why women stay in abusive relationships and why they are not valid reasons to stay.

Has Fear of Homelessness

The victim may believe that she will be homeless if the she leaves, as she may be financially dependent on the abuser. “Even if I were to leave,” the victim might think, “I would have nowhere to go.” There are shelters for battered women if nothing else. A simple search on a search engine will reveal shelters near by, by typing in, “Shelters for Battered Women.”

Has Fear of Abuser

The abuser may threaten the victim that if she leaves, the abuser will come after her. Threats can be violent and deadly serious. These threats can keep a partner in an abusive relationship for fear of physical and emotional harm. There are legal resources for battered women to keep them safe. Here is some information on what is available to you. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Has Fear of Asking for Help

The victim may feel as though no one will be there for her in her time of need. “Even if they were here for me, they would probably be judgmental,” the victim might think. This type of thinking leads to self-isolation. It is worth taking the chance that you may be judged. It is either that or you keep getting abused. Reaching out for help is pivotal to saving your life and your quality of life.

Part Two will be up on the blog next month! Stay tuned for more reasons why people stay in abusive relationships and what resources are available to them who need help!