POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 115 POST-SEPARATION ABUSE: IMPACT ON WOMEN continued... • Shemaymake age-inappropriate or unreasonable demands on children to calm the abuser. • She may be afraid to use discipline because the children have been through so much. • She may be left to do all the demanding parts of parenting while he does the fun parts. The woman may not be able to manage daily life because: • She may experience depression, anxiety or poor sleep habits that stop her from caring for the children or providing for their daily needs. • If the abuser stops her from using birth control, she may have too many children born closely together. • She may be denied enough money to meet children’s basic needs for food, etc. • Her parenting may be reactive rather than proactive so that she responds to crises rather than preventing problems. • She may avoid being seen in public if there are visible signs of abuse. The woman may use survival strategies with negative effects such as: • She may use alcohol or drugs to excess. • She may leave the children with inadequate caretakers to get a break. • She may avoid being at home (for example, working double shifts). Children may be angry and blame the mother for failing to protect them or leave the abuser. • The mother may be prevented by the abuser from comforting a distressed child. • One child may assume the caretaking role for the mother. • Children may expect the mother to leave (or be deported) and may become anxious or emotionally closed to protect themselves from possible loss. The woman may be trapped in competition for children’s loyalties because: • The abuser may attempt to shape child’s view of himself as good and the mother as bad. • The abuser may present himself as the fun parent who has no rules. • After separation, the abuser may use promises of a great life at his house to get children to support his bid for custody. • The abuser may have more money and offer more material goods and a nicer home.