Cycle of Violence

Why a woman stays in a violent or abusive relationship can be explained and understood by recognizing the cycle of violence that is repeated over and over again.

Generally the abuse starts with a relatively minor incident. A pattern then follows whereby tension mounts and then a violent outburst follows at which time the tension is relieved which is followed by a make-up period often referred to as the “honeymoon phase”. The closeness that follows the outburst minimizes the abuse, although sometimes there is no make-up period but the manipulation continues. In the honeymoon phases, the perpetrator is kind and loving as well as remorseful. The woman often tries to understand and rationalize the incident in terms of her own behaviour. She may feel guilty and blame herself for the incident.

The next incident may not occur for days, weeks or even months - although over time, the incidents increase both in frequency and intensity. The next incident continues the cycle. The whole process gives the perpetrator a growing sense of possessiveness, domination and control. 

 

Please see:

The POWER and CONTROL WHEEL.

 

The following is an illustration of the Cycle of Violence:

 

Build up of tension, stress, threats

Leads to

One slap, push, change in mood, 
hurtful remarks

Leads to

Violent/Abusive Situation

Leads to

Remorse from the
abuser/perpetrator

Leads to

Forgiveness or Rationalization
of Violent/Abusive Action

Leads to

Honeymoon Phase
 Makeup Period

Leads to

Build up of tension, stress, threats
(Cycle begins again)