Cycle of Violence

The Cycle of Violence

The Cycle of Violence is a repetitive pattern, which occurs in nearly all abusive relationships. One may not be aware of the cycle during their time in the abusive relationship, but the symptoms and restrictions eventually surface. The Cycle of Violence has three stages: Tension building, crisis, and honeymoon. 

1. Tension Building Phase

In this phase, the abuser reveals an edgy temperament. The abuse victim begins to feel as though they need to walk on eggshells for fear of the abuse escalating.

2. Crisis Phase

The crisis phase involves verbal, emotional and/or physical abuse. Anger, blaming, arguing, intimidation, and/or threats. Serious violence can occur during this time. The abuse can last from several minutes to several hours or even days. Without intervention, the frequency and abuse tend to increase over time.

3. Honeymoon Phase

After the crisis phase, the abuser may blame the victim, give excuses, deny the abuse, or say it wasn’t as bad. The abuser may appear apologetic or act like nothing happened. They may even make promises not to harm again. During the “honeymoon” phase things seem calm and no abuse is taking place.

In this cycle of abuse, the abuser will cause harm, then apologize (blame or minimize) and promise to change – only to repeat the devastating pattern again and again.

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