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What is the cycle of violence?

Most violent relationships follow a pattern called the cycle of violence. The cycle of violence has three stages: tension building, the explosive incident and the honeymoon stage.

Tension building
In this phase, the warning signs of abuse start to appear. Often during the tension building stage:

Explosive incident
In this phase, all the tension that built up in the first phase is released through an outburst of violence that can include intense emotional, verbal, sexual and/or physical abuse.

During the explosion, the person you are dating may:

Honeymoon stage
In this phase, the person you are with will try to get you to stay in the relationship by apologizing for the explosion, trying to make up with you, and trying to shift the blame for the explosion onto something or someone else. During the honeymoon stage, the person you are with often:

The cycle of violence repeats itself: after the honeymoon stage, eventually the tension starts to build up again until there is another explosion. Generally, over time, the honeymoon stage gets shorter and shorter and may even disappear. The explosive incidents can become more and more violent and dangerous.

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