Cycle of violence

In some relationships there is a pattern of abuse. The abuse is rarely a one-time-only event – usually the abusive incidents will increase in number and seriousness.

No matter what you do – the abuser will always find new reasons to explode. The violence isn’t about your behavior – it is about the abuser wanting power and control and manipulating you to achieve it.cycle

Honeymoon Phase I:

Abusive relationships don’t start with abuse.

Abusers often appear:

●     Charming

●     As a white knight

●     Helpful and considerate

●     To enforce traditional gender role in a chivalrous way

Abusive relationships move very quickly at the beginning.  Abusers may profess love or propose marriage much sooner than expected.  Sometimes the cycle of abuse doesn’t really start until a major event like marriage or pregnancy.

 Tension Building Phase:

Abuser may:●     Pick fights

●     Act jealous & possessive

●     Criticize, threaten

●     Drink, use drugs

●     Be moody, unpredictable

●     Be crazy-making

Partner may:●     Feel like they are walking on eggshells

●   Try to reason with the abuser

●     Try to calm or appease the abuser

●     Feel afraid or anxious

●     Provoke the abuser

Explosion/Crisis Phase:

Abuser may:●     Verbally abus

e●     Sexually assault

●     Physically abuse

●     Increase control over money

●     Restrain partner

●     Destroy property, phone

Partner may:●     Experience fear, shock

●     Protect self & children

●     Use self-defense

●     Call for help

●     Try to flee, leave

●     Pray for it to stop

Honeymoon Phase II:

Abuser may:●     Ask for forgiveness

●     Promise it won’t happen again

●     Stop drinking, using drugs

●     Go to counseling

●     Be affectionate

●     Minimize or deny abuse

Partner may:●     Forgive

●     Return home

●     Arrange for counseling

●     Feel hopeful

●     Blame self

●     Minimize or deny abuse

Violence begins with less serious forms and progresses to more severe and more frequent violence.  While some abuse can be restricted to “just verbal” or “just emotional” that does not mean that verbal/emotional abuse is not traumatic. Emotional wounds from abusive relationships take time to repair. The abuse can escalate over time. If the survivor begins to show signs of not tolerating the abuse, the abuser can become more intense in their emotional/verbal abuse, begin to use threats and intimidation, even to physical violence in order to exert and maintain power and control. Domestic violence works for abusers because it is effective in controlling their intimate partner by fear.