cycle of violence

Intimate Partner Violence often occurs in cycles of three phases that illustrates how one partner gains control over another.

When someone first enters a violent relationship, they begin in the honeymoon phase. This is the phase where the abuser is going to show you his or her very best side. They are the charming, wonderful, loving person that you fall in love with. They are nothing but sweet words and gifts and go out of their way to express their love and affection for you.

When you have been in the relationship a bit longer and begin to be more comfortable with your partner, he or she will start to transition into a tension building phase. Here the victim often feels like she is walking on eggshells trying to keep the peace because it seems like the batter gets upset at the slightest provocation. The abuser will seem moody and try to blame their problems on the victim. They may become more demanding and jealous, checking up on your all the time and becoming angry when you do not follow his itinerary exactly.

This eventually leads to an explosion of physical or verbal violence. The abuser will come up for all kinds of excuses for his actions, and often the victim will be inclined to forgive the abuser. It was just that one time, after all.

The abuser will quickly transition back to the honeymoon phase, apologizing and promising it will never happen again. He brings flowers and reminds you of the man you first met. When the victim forgives the abuser, this cycle continues and the couple becomes more dependent on each other. Eventually the honeymoon phase will disappear entirely as the abuser has so much power and control over the victim that he is certain she will not leave.