By Jennifer Kaysen
Often times, things happen to us that we feel we have little or no control over. Depending on your locus of control, you are able to change the outcomes of these happenings with just a slight shift in your outlook.
“Locus of Control as a principle was originated by Julian Rotter in 1954. It considers the tendency of people to believe that control resides internally within them, or externally, with others or the situation.”(Changingminds.org).
Possessing an internal locus of control enables people to “believe in their own ability to control themselves and influence the world around them. They see their future as being in their own hands and that their own choices lead to success or failure. Their belief in their ability to change things may well make them more confident and they will hence seek information that will help them influence people and situations. They will also likely be more motivated and success-oriented.
They are more likely to have expectancy shifts, where a sequence of similar events are expected to have different outcomes. They tend to be more specific, generalizing less and considering each situation as unique. People in middle age tend to have the highest internal locus of control.” (Changingminds.org)
On the other hand, people with a higher external locus of control “believe that control over events and what other people do is outside them, and that they personally have little or no control over such things. They may even believe that others have control over them and that they can do nothing but obey. With such beliefs, people with an external locus of control tend to be fatalistic, seeing things as happening to them and that there is little they can do about it. This tends to make them more passive and accepting. When they succeed, they are more likely to attribute this to luck than their own efforts.
They are less likely to have expectancy shifts, seeing similar events as likely to have similar outcomes. they hence step back from events, assuming they cannot make a difference.”(Changingminds.org).
The problem is, children from abused homes, don’t usually posses an internal locus of control. “Many children who have experienced sexual abuse develop an external locus of control. The nature of the abuse takes control away from the child, which can manifest itself as lowered perceptions of control in adulthood. These perceptions may render survivors vulnerable to future victimization because they believe they have less control than others over any given situation.” (Paludi and Denmark, 2010).
What can we as a community do to change this in abused children?
We can start by giving these children a voice – a BIG voice – that will protect them and show that there are other options in life. Children need to know that the abuse they cope with is not their only option. Children are our future, they need to be nurtured and guided to lead the next generation. If they’re not receiving the support at home, they need to know that there’s always a place to turn. We need to come together as a community and show our children that they can succeed, they can make their own choices and speak out if something or someone is harming them. If a child’s home is not safe, we need to give them a place where they can be. It is our duty as community members and human beings to secure the safety of our children and protect their well-being for the future.
Where do you fall? Are you in control of how the things that happen around you affect your life?
Make a difference. Be a GIANT voice for someone who feels too small to change the way the things happening around them affect their well-being.