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  • Writer's pictureDanny Byrne

How Do World Events Impact Survivors of Domestic Abuse?

In a world that seems increasingly tumultuous, the incessant drumbeats of conflict and the whispers of a potential World War 3 resonate through every household, gripping the global community with fear and uncertainty. For survivors of domestic violence and abuse, the external chaos can often mirror internal tumult, triggering an echo of traumas past and present. It is essential however to note that the concept of a third world war is a speculative scenario, not a current reality. Therefore, concrete statistics or probabilities about World War 3 for example are not available as it remains a hypothetical situation.

Nonetheless, the apprehension and fear surrounding the potential of a global conflict can be significant, especially among populations that are already experiencing stress and trauma, such as survivors of domestic abuse. These fears can be heightened by media reports, geopolitical tensions, and the overall uncertainty about the future.

At The WAVES Counselling Project, we recognise that the echoes of global unrest can reverberate profoundly within those who have already endured the storms of domestic violence and abuse. The news of escalating tensions, the imagery of conflicts, and the general atmosphere of fear can act as triggers, awakening memories and feelings that are deeply ingrained in the psyche of those who have survived abuse.

The Shared Landscape of Fear and Uncertainty

The anxiety fuelled by the possibility of a global conflict parallels, in many ways, the unpredictable nature of living in an abusive environment. Survivors of domestic abuse are all too familiar with the sense of walking on eggshells, the constant vigilance, and the sudden shifts from calm to storm. The global atmosphere of tension can serve as a stark reminder of these personal experiences, reigniting feelings of fear, helplessness, and uncertainty.

Amplification of Isolation

In times of global crisis, the sense of isolation can become amplified for survivors of abuse. The focus on large-scale events may lead to feelings of being overlooked or forgotten, intensifying the sense of solitude that often accompanies the journey of healing from abuse. The WAVES Counselling Project understands the importance of acknowledging and addressing this compounded isolation, reinforcing the message that our clients are not alone, and their experiences and feelings are valid and important.

Triggers in the Media

The pervasive nature of media coverage during global crises means that triggers are omnipresent. Images of violence, reports of conflicts, and the general tone of fear can infiltrate daily life, making it challenging for survivors to find safe and peaceful spaces. The WAVES Counselling Project advocates for a mindful consumption of media, encouraging our clients to set boundaries and seek support when the weight of the world feels overwhelming.

Support Systems

In these turbulent times, The WAVES Counselling Project remains a beacon of support and understanding. We offer a range of services tailored to the needs of those who have experienced domestic violence and abuse, understanding that the path to healing is not linear and is often fraught with unexpected challenges, such as the triggering effects of global unrest.

  1. Individual Counselling: Our team of specialist-trained counsellors provides a safe, confidential space to explore feelings and develop coping strategies, recognizing the complex impact of global events on personal traumas.

  2. Holistic and Integrated Approach: We understand that healing encompasses more than just addressing the mind. Our holistic approach considers all aspects of well-being, ensuring that every individual feels supported in their entirety.

  3. Access to Resources: In partnership with the Cornwall Refuge Trust and through our 24-hour helpline, we ensure that support is just a call away, offering a listening ear, information, and advice whenever needed.

Ways of Coping

If you are struggling with global events currently as a domestic abuse survivor, then we have provided some techniques that can be useful in managing triggers:

1. Establish a Routine

Purpose: Creating a sense of normalcy and predictability.

  • Strategy: Try to maintain regular daily activities such as waking up, eating, and sleeping at the same times every day. Structured routines can provide a sense of control and normalcy.

2. Mindfulness and Meditation

Purpose: Reducing stress and staying grounded in the present.

  • Strategy: Engage in mindfulness exercises or meditation for a few minutes each day. Apps or online videos can guide you through these practices. Focusing on your breath and body can help anchor you in the present moment and away from overwhelming thoughts or fears.

3. Limit Exposure to Triggering Content

Purpose: Minimizing stress and anxiety triggers.

  • Strategy: Be mindful of your media consumption. Limit time spent on news or social media if you find the content distressing. It's important to stay informed but balance this with your mental health needs.

4. Physical Activity

Purpose: Releasing tension and improving mood.

  • Strategy: Engage in physical activities or exercises that you enjoy. Activities like walking, yoga, or dancing can help release endorphins, improve mood, and reduce stress.

5. Creative Expression

Purpose: Processing emotions and stress.

  • Strategy: Use creative outlets such as writing, drawing, painting, or playing music to express your feelings. Creative activities can be therapeutic and help you process and communicate complex emotions.

6. Connect with Others

Purpose: Reducing isolation and building support.

  • Strategy: Stay connected with friends, family, or support groups, even if it's virtually. Sharing your feelings with someone you trust can provide relief and a sense of being understood and supported.

7. Focus on What You Can Control

Purpose: Minimising feelings of helplessness.

  • Strategy: In times of uncertainty, focus on the things you can control, such as your reactions, whom you speak to, and your daily activities. Letting go of what you can't control can help reduce feelings of helplessness.

8. Practice Self-Compassion

Purpose: Nurturing self-worth and resilience.

  • Strategy: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, just as you would treat a friend in your situation. Remind yourself that it's okay to feel upset or scared and that these feelings don't define your strength or worth.

9. Seek Professional Support

Purpose: Accessing tailored guidance and coping strategies.

  • Strategy: If feelings become overwhelming, consider seeking help from a professional counsellor or therapist. The WAVES Counselling Project and other services offer confidential support and can provide strategies tailored to your personal experiences and needs.

As we navigate these uncertain times, The WAVES Counselling Project remains steadfast in its commitment to providing a sanctuary of understanding, support, and healing for survivors of domestic violence and abuse. We stand together, recognising the shared struggles, the resilience in each story, and the unwavering strength of the human spirit to overcome even the most daunting of tides.

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