Most abusive relationships display adistinct pattern, known as the Cycle of Abuse or Violence. Abuse is rarely constant but alternates between:tension building,acting out, thehoneymoon period and calm.
Not all relationships follow the same cycle, and individual experiences vary, some stages – especially the honeymoon or calm periods, may shorten or be left out completely, especially as the abuse intensifies over a period of time.
Each stage of the cycle can last from a few minutes to a number of months, but within an abusive relationship, the following stages can often be pin-pointed:
TENSION BUILDING –
- Tension starts and steadily builds
- Abuser starts to get angry
- Communication breaks down
- Victim feels the need to concede to the abuser
- Tension becomes too much
- Victim feels uneasy and a need to watch every move
INCIDENT or “Acting Out” phase
- Any type of abuse occurs
- Or other forms of abuse as found in the power and control wheel.
- Abuser apologizes for abuse, some beg forgiveness or show sorrows
- Abuser may promise it will never happen again
- Blames victim for provoking the abuse or denies abuse occurred
- Minimizing, denying or claiming the abuse wasn’t as bad as victim claims
CALM before the tension starts again.
- Abuses slow or stop
- Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
- Promises made during honeymoon stage may be met
- Abuser may give gifts to victim
- Victim believes or wants to believe the abuse is over or the abuser will change
(Often the cycle of violence is portrayed as 3 steps: tension, acting out andhoneymoon phases, where the Honeymoon and Calm phase are seen as one.)
This information is provided courtesy of Kim Eyer of rhiannon3.org