The Domestic Abuse Cycle
PHASE I: TENSION MOUNTS
Domestic Abuse Cycle, during this phase, the abuser becomes madder and madder about daily frustrations. The tension builds and minor assaults may occur.
During this phase, violent episodes are downplayed by both the abuser and the victim. The victim will try to come up with ways to prevent any further assaults. They may try to stay out of the abuser’s way and follow orders to prevent the violence from getting any worse.
With every activity that increases the abuser’s frustration, he or she will hold on to the tension and not be able to let it go. The abuser now sees that the victim has accepted the violent outburst and will do anything that he/she says. The abuser will then begin to make less of an effort to control themselves.
PHASE II: VIOLENT MOMENT
This is when the s–t hits the fan. This is when the violence explodes and is out of control. This event is very destructive and both the abuser and the victim accept that the abuser’s rage has escalated.
After this happens, people tend to ask what the victim did to make the abuser lose control. The truth is that the trigger for a phase two attack is rarely the victim’s behavior, rather it is usually an external event or the internal mindset of the abuser that causes the attack.
This battering incident is followed by the following:
THE ABUSER: The abuser is usually in shock, disbelief, and denial. This is when the abuser begins to make themselves believe that what happened really was not that bad or that the victim deserved it.
THE VICTIM: The victim becomes emotionally exhausted for about 24-48 hours. They may experience feelings of depression and helplessness. They may just sit and stare off into space.
PHASE III: THE HONEYMOON
This is when the abuser calms down and feels sorry for what he/she did. They may become calm, extremely loving, and beg for forgiveness. The abuser will make a promise that they will never do it again. During this phase, the abuser is quite sincere and can easily convince ANYONE that their behavior will change.
This cycle always repeats itself. In order to break the cycle, a safety plan must be put together. If you or someone you know are victims, get help immediately. The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call: 1-800-799-SAFE