Central Florida women break silence to expose 'financial bullying'

By Mike Holfeld, Problem Solver, mholfeld@clickorlando.com
Published On: Feb 13 2014 11:15:00 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 14 2014 06:48:30 AM EST

Financial bullying is being used to control women who want out of bad relationships, according to local women.

ORLANDO, Fla. -

Maxine Browne looks straight ahead and very casually announces "I decided I was going to kill myself."

[WEB EXTRA: How to tell]

Browne has assumed a new name so that she can tell her story of abuse without embarrassing her two daughters or face legal fallout from her ex-husband.

In her book “Years of Tears,” Browne outlines a painful life endured over ten years of marriage.

She says it was abuse based on little or no access to her own money, what experts now call “Financial Bullying.”

"I wasn't allowed to take coins out of the coin jar, I'd sneak a few out at a time but if he noticed the level changed I was in big trouble,” Browne said.

Browne says her husband, who she calls John in her book, controlled “what we bought, what we didn’t buy.”

“When I was working," Browne says. “I had to sign over my paychecks to him.”

Browne's book outlines the warning signals of economic abuse by a spouse: preventing her from getting or keeping a job, making her ask for money, not letting her know about or have access to the family income, taking her money and giving her an allowance.

“You think you are the only one and I hate to say it but abuse is very common,” Browne says.

A recent Credit Karma survey found that one in ten respondents classified their significant other as a financial bully.

Browne says the key to escaping abuse is to take a stand.

“You can recover from abuse you can get out and make a way for yourself, you don't have to stay," Browne said.

Browne’s book, "Years of Tears" can be purchased at Amazon.com

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