Effects of power and control tactics on a mother

Women believes she is an inadequate mother

  • Portrayed by abuser as unfit parent
  • Fears having her children taken social service
  • Belief she is a bad parent

Woman loses the respect of some or all children

  • Some children see her as legitimate target of abuse
  • Children disregard her parental authority, don’t follow her rules
  • Children may grow to devalue or be ashamed of mother

Woman believes excuses abuser uses to justify his behaviour

  • Believes abuse is her fault so tries to modify her behaviour
  • Believes abuse is her fault so feels guilty about its effect on children
  • Believes abuse is linked to alcohol or stress

Woman changes her parenting style in response to abuser’s parenting style

  • Is too permissive in response to authoritarian parenting of abuser
  •  Is too authoritarian to try and keep children from annoying abuser
  • Is afraid to use discipline because the children have been through so much

Woman’s capacity to manage is thwarted or overwhelmed

  • May experience depression, anxiety, poor sleeping, etc. compromise woman’s capacity to care for children and provide for their daily needs
  • May be denied sufficient money to meet children’s basic needs for food etc

Woman may use survival strategies with negative effects

  • May use alcohol or drugs to excess
  • May maltreat children, physically or verbally

Woman’s bond to children is compromised

  • Children may be angry at mother for failing to protect them or evict abuser
  • Mother prevented by abuser from comforting distressed child
  • One child assumes care-taking role for mother

Woman gets trapped in competition for children’s loyalties

  • Abuser attempts to shape child’s view of himself as good and mother as bad
  • Abuser is fun parent who has no rules
  • After separation, abuser entices children to support his  did for custody with promises of great life at his house

Positive messages for mothers

Being a mother:

  • There are no perfect mothers: we all have strengths and weaknesses as parents
  • Mothers can change the lives of their children for the better
  • Single parents can be good parents too
  • Mothers can be good role models for boys
  • Learning to be a parent is a life-long process
  • Stopping exposure to violence was the best thing you could do for your children
  • There are people to help if you need it
  • You can make up for lost time: start today
  • You can model and teach non-violent problem solving, attitudes, and behaviour

About children who have lived with violence:

  • Most psychological “problems” in children diminish once the violence stops
  • Living with violence as a child is not a “life sentence” for a bad future
  • Children are resilient and can thrive
  • Not all children need professional treatment to overcome the effects of violence: there is a lot a mother can do to help her children

Source: Helping Children Thrive

As with all trauma it is important to reach out to those who can help and to remember there is no shame in doing so. With the right type of support relationships CAN be re built and families can recover and become stronger than they have ever been .

When you are ready, we are here to listen. You can contact us on 01623 683 250 or through our secure online form.