Build a support network:
It is hard to manage all your duties as a mother, even more so when there is a perpetrator holding you back. A common tactic of coercive control is to isolate you. A great way to counteract this is by building a support network around you.
It might be that you already have a good support network, but for those children who are starting a new school, now is the time to make new connections and build your support network.
Chat to other parents you encounter on the school run, join the PTA, get to know your neighbours. This will also help you to regain your confidence and self-esteem.
If you use MIN services, join the MIN online peer group. Swap numbers with fellow survivors of coercive control. This way you know that you have someone to call if you need.
Going back to school can cause a lot of stress for both you and your family, and experiencing post separation abuse makes matters more complicated.
Coercive control impacts on the whole family. Not only you, but your child/ren also. When routine changes, there is a chance that the abuse will change or get worse. It is important to be able to look after your own mental health and wellbeing, and provide support for your children's emotional wellbeing.
If you need support from other agencies, don’t be afraid to ask.
School can also be a great form of support, and can allow you to create boundaries and limit contact. Speak to your school to allow them the opportunity to help.
For mothers separated from their children, key moments like birthdays, celebrations and milestones like the first day of school can be more difficult to deal with. Furthermore, abusive behaviours from the perpetrator can intensify on these types of days, which makes them more difficult to manage.
Being organised can help to ease the back-to-school anxiety. Teaching your kids life skills such as learning about personal hygiene, nutrition, sleep routines and the importance of self-care will help them become more resilient against coercive control.
Hopefully, these reflections will help to make the return or transition to school go as smoothly a possible.