Cycle of Abuse

Phase 1:Tension Building Stage
Increase in tension, anger, blaming, arguing constantly, “silent treatment.” Victim is scared to do or say anything. Victim tries to control the abuse by various coping techniques. This stage is described as “walking on eggshells.”

Phase II: Acute Battering Stage
This event may last a few minutes or go on for several days. Physical/emotional violence takes place, hitting, slapping, sexual abuse, use of weapons and/or verbal threats and abuse.

Phase III: The Honeymoon Stage
Apologies by the abuser, gives gifts, begs for forgiveness, promises it won’t happen again, vows to change, and the victim forgives. This stage may not last very long. The tension building stage will always return.

Points to Remember

* The more times the cycle is completed the less time it takes to complete. In other words, there is an increase in the frequency of violent attacks once these attacks start.

* There is also increased severity in the level of violence, depending on the length of time it takes the cycle to be interrupted.

* The abuser refuses to accept responsibility for his/her actions and more likely than not will shift the blame onto the victim.

* As time goes on, the explosive event can become more dangerous and the “honeymoon stage” will become shorter and shorter and possibly disappear completely .