The Cycle of Abuse
The Distinct Patterns of Abusive Relationships
Most abusive relationships display a distinct pattern, known as the Cycle of Abuse or Violence. Abuse is rarely constant but alternates between: tension building, acting out, the honeymoon period and calm.
Not all relationships follow the same cycle, and individual experiences vary, some stages – especially the honeymoon or calm periods, may shorten or be left out completely, especially as the abuse intensifies over a period of time.
Each stage of the cycle can last from a few minutes to a number of months, but within an abusive relationship, the following stages can often be pin-pointed:
- Tension starts and steadily builds
- Abuser starts to get angry
- Communication breaks down
- Victim feels the need to concede to the abuser
- Tension becomes too much
- Victim feels uneasy and a need to watch every move
- Any type of abuse occurs
- Or other forms of abuse as found in the power and control wheel.
- Abuser apologizes for abuse, some beg forgiveness or show sorrows
- Abuser may promise it will never happen again
- Blames victim for provoking the abuse or denies abuse occurred
- Minimizing, denying or claiming the abuse wasn’t as bad as victim claims
- Abuses slow or stop
- Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
- Promises made during honeymoon stage may be met
- Abuser may give gifts to victim
- Victim believes or wants to believe the abuse is over or the abuser will change
Abuse is not about you, or something you did wrong. It’s about controlling you! If you recognize these signs, you or someone you know, may be a victim of abuse. You are not alone.
Call the Crisis line for Counselling and Support for help now!
24-hour Crisis Line
204-615-0311 or 1-877-977-0007