The Cycle of Violence
In most abusive relationships violence is not a one time incident. The abuse usually happens again and again. While not all victims experience the same thing, many find that the abuse occurs in a repeating cycle with three phases: tension building, explosion, and honeymoon stages. Each phase can be as short as a few seconds or as long as several years.
Things start to get tense between you and the person you're with. The warning signs of abuse start to appear. Often:
- You argue a lot.
- The person you are with yells at you for no reason.
- He or she makes false accusations against you.
- You feel like you can't do anything right.
- You feel tension, like things could blow up at any moment.
The abuser will try to get you to stay by apologizing, trying to make up with you, and trying to shift the blame for the explosion to someone or something else.
All of the tension that has been built up is released in an outburst of violence that can include intense emotional, verbal, sexual and/or physical abuse.
The abuser often:
The abuser may:
If your relationship looks like this, you may see the tension start to build again after the honeymoon stage, eventually leading to another explosion. Over time, the honeymoon stage can get shorter and gradually disappear, and the explosions can become more violent and dangerous.