Light and Dark – The Circle of Control

There’s a saying that people will come and go in your life but you know what will always be there for you?……


This thought came to mind when I was deciding on whether to start a darks load of washing this morning or a lights load.

We have a basket that is split into dark and light and although it’s looking a bit worn now, it has served us well.

Specialising in post-separation abuse, means I see so many analogies in every day life that can be linked to it.

The dark and the light are prime examples of what an individual experiencing post-separation abuse has to contend with on a daily basis.

The moments when the stresses, worries and fears that come with post-separation abuse seem to be all encompassing.

To the moments when genuine happiness and peace fill their soul.

It can feel like a never ending cycle of emotions all the while trying to live their life with the perpetrator holding on and not letting go.

I discovered something invaluable when I worked for my local domestic abuse charity TDAS

The Circle of Control model

It can be a huge support, helping people manage their feelings of overwhelm and anxiety by focusing on the things they can change as opposed to the things they can’t.

What is within our control and what isn’t.

Long before I had even heard of the Circle of Control, I had a similar concept I tried to live by although being human, I would fail miserably at times.

And it was this.

Growing up Roman Catholic I remember my Mum giving me a prayer card before one particular set of exams (I think it was my entrance exam to secondary school) and the card had the serenity prayer on it.

Part of the prayer is,

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s something I still come back to time and time again. Although I’ll be honest, some days are harder than others to follow this message.

When an individual experiences post-separation abuse, the things that aren’t within their control can build and build – especially if the perpetrator is constantly finding new ways to cause fear and panic.

Through financial abuse, family court proceedings, stalking and harassment and so much more.

And this can continue for many years, until the individual feels so desperate and alone.

The blame and the shame they feel also builds over time. This is where societal judgement and lack of knowledge can be so damaging for victims and survivors.

They feel that they are not worthy of support or help and therefore, don’t seek it.

Add to that, the fear they will not be believed so how do you ask for help?

But if we as a society put the blame and shame where it truly belongs with the perpetrator and the systems that have failed victims and survivors, then those impacted may stand a chance of finding the support and help they deserve.

Many victims and survivors experiencing post-separation abuse will have contact with the perpetrator, for example if there are children involved.

But with help and support, they can navigate these situations, what is within their control and how they respond to the perpetrator.

Taking back control of their life.

Separating out the moments of joy and happiness from the dark times.

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