Cycle of Violence

cycle-of-violence

The “Cycle of Violence” can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.

cycle_of_violence

It is IMPORTANT to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit this cycle.

Often, as time goes on and the cycle is repeated, the violent episodes become more severe. The “honeymoon” and “calm” stages greatly decrease or may even disappear.

There are 4 stages to the Cycle of Violence. Each relationship will have it’s own pattern and some of the stages will last longer than others. Regardless of the specifics, if your relationship exhibits this cycle get help as soon as possible. REACH can provide you the support and guidance you need to move towards a violence-free life.

“Tension-Building” Stage

  • communication breaks down
  • stress begins to build
  • abuser may be critical and make demands
  • small, violent incidents may occur
  • family denies/minimizes violence
  • survivor feels need to keep abuser calm
  • survivor feels like they are “walking on egg shells”
  • verbal abuse increases
  • survivor senses increasing danger

“Violent/Explosive” Stage – When abuse happens

  • many forms of abuse may occur (emotional/physical/sexual)
  • anxiety is extremely high
  • major violence occurs
  • abuser is explosive/unpredictable or seems to be “out of control”
  • abuser blames survivor
  • survivor accommodates in order to survive
  • survivor may believe escape is futile
  • survivor may escape and then return after crisis is over
  • survivor may collapse emotionally

“Making Up” Stage

  • Abuser says “I’m sorry”, promises it won’t happen again, cries, begs
  • Blames partner “you made me…”
  • Denies the abuse took place or says it wasn’t as bad as partner claims
  • Gives gifts to partner
  • Makes promises,
  • “I’ll stop drinking/using drugs.”
  • “I’ll go to AA/NA.”
  • “You can see your friends again.”
  • “I’ll go to church with you.”

“Calm/Honeymoon” Stage

  • entire family is initially in shock
  • abuser may be remorseful/seek forgiveness
  • abuser may promise the violence will never happen again
  • abuser is afraid that the partner will leave
  • children help keep the peace and become the “caretakers”
  • abuser may be loving and kind
  • abuser may give survivor gifts
  • family denies violence will happen again
  • abuser acts like abuse never happened/survivor hopes abuse is over

Download Cycle of Violence

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REACH of Haywood County, Inc. serves survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through advocacy, community outreach and prevention education to empower individuals to live a self-sufficient life free of violence.

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