Cycle of Violence

The inevitable cycle that continues unless something is done.

Honeymoon Phase

As the title suggests this is a time of harmony for a couple. They’re loving and happy. It’s the way it is at the beginning and, if there has been conflict that did not end the relationship, it’s the phase couples return to when they’re making up. In this phase, the victim forgives the abuser and the abuser apologizes or makes excuses for the violence and promises it will never happen again. The abuser also might promise to change, get counseling, stop drinking or taking drugs, etc.

Tension Building Phase

Little things seem to annoy the abuser. The abuser is grumpy, critical and demanding. The abuser puts the victim on edge. The victim tries to defuse the abuser’s anger, but everything the victim does only seems to make the abuser angrier. In this phase, the abuser may use words to demean the victim, question the victim’s every move, and threaten to harm the victim. The constant tension becomes unbearable for the victim.

Battering Phase

The violence can be triggered by almost anything – a word, gesture, or facial expression, a mistake, a disagreement, or something that happened outside the relationship. Sometimes, in long-term abusive relationships, the victim will purposely trigger the violence to get it over with. This is NOT causing the violence. Physical assaults almost always occur in private. The violence can range from pushing and punching to rape and murder.

The Cycle of Abuse will continue until there is an effective intervention or the victim finds a way to leave that does not expose her or him to stalking, harassment, and/or retaliatory violence.