• Darby Strickland

How Abuse Affects You as a Mother

Updated: May 6, 2018

There are few things more precious to you than your children. They’re a gift from the Lord that we’re meant to delight in. That’s not to say that parenting is easy. It is as demanding as it is rewarding. Everyday stress, like demanding schedules and the never-ending nature of housework, affect all our abilities to engage well with the many parenting challenges we face.

However, when you’re in an oppressive marriage, the attacks on your person-hood are pervasive and unrelenting. On any given day you can hear controlling or cutting criticisms from your spouse. Crushing words, some that might cause self-doubt others that create unbearable tension. The stresses you deal with in your marriage are intense. It is likely that you don’t have help from your spouse, even worse, they might be working against you and your parenting goals. All these factors can be compounding and can affect your parenting in ways that you might not even be aware of.

How has living under oppression affected your ability to parent?

I’m here to help you identify ways you, your relationship with your children and your parenting are impacted by marital abuse. I’ve created a basic assessment to give you insight into how living under oppression is affecting you and your parenting abilities.

I pray you are moved to cry out to God, enlist support from wise counsel, and/or locate specific changes that you might be able make for the mental and spiritual health of you and your children. Before doing the assessment consider Psalm 145:18-20:

The LORD is near to all who call on him,

to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;

he also hears their cry and saves them.

The LORD preserves all who love him

As you become more aware of how abuse is affecting you as mother, rest in knowing that the Lord is with you, he hears your prayers, and he is an ever-present help in times of trouble. His desire is comfort you and guide you. His love for your children is even greater than yours.

Which of these feels true of you?

❏ I am stressed out and worried all the time.

❏ I struggle with depression and feel I do not have energy for my children.

❏ I feel isolated and lack support.

❏ I am physically exhausted and drained of energy.

❏ I have no confidence in my abilities as parent.

❏ I am afraid for our safety.

❏ Sometimes I feel like I want to run away from life and my responsibilities.

❏ I use alcohol or drugs to cope.

❏ I do not know how to talk to my children about the abuse they see.

❏ I have trouble concentrating or problem solving.

❏ I do not know how to address the problems my children bring me about their dad.

How does the abuse affect your parenting?

❏ My husband’s treatment of me affects the way my children think of me.

❏ I find my children do not listen to me as a parent or obey my rules.

❏ My husband tells me I am a bad mother.

❏ He spoils the children, so I must be the one to set limits and say “no”.

❏ He threatens to take the children from me or call Child Protective Services.

❏ He does not give me enough money to take care of the family.

❏ My husband is jealous of the attention I give my children.

❏ I am worn out, so I am quick to get frustrated with my children.

❏ He says if I don’t do what he wants, he will hit/harm the children.

❏ I put pressure on my children to behave better so that they do not make their father upset.

❏ I find my children speak to me in the same degrading way my husband does.

❏ I share adult issues with my children, using them as emotional support.

❏ I feel the need to protect my children. I will punish them in order that their dad does not unjustly discipline them.

❏ I schedule activities/playmates for my children to get them out of the house.

❏ My children believe they need to protect me.

Observations of his parenting

❏ He applies rules unfairly or inconsistently.

❏ He uses harsh discipline, sometimes even harsh physical discipline.

❏ He expects the children to act or understand things as if they were adults.

❏ He takes his frustrations on out on them.

❏ He does not seem to know or care for his children.

❏ He only engages with his children when he is in the ‘mood’.

❏ He is either too permissive, or too strict.

❏ He refuses advice from me about how to be a better father.

❏ He prevents me from tending to a child’s needs.

❏ He intimidates the children.

❏ He pumps the children for information about me.

❏ He treats the children as servants.

❏ He calls them names or belittles them.

❏ He undermines my parenting or shames me in front of my children.

❏ He uses Scripture in a domineering and punitive way.

❏ He undermines my parenting or shames me in front of my children.

“Being aware of how oppression has impacted your ability to parent is an important step in gaining wisdom. Ask the Lord to help guide you next steps.”

The LORD is near to all who call on him,

to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;

he also hears their cry and saves them.

The LORD preserves all who love him

but all the wicked he will destroy.

Psalm 145:18-20


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