Cycle of Violence

cyclePlease note: This is common but is not always present in a violent relationship.

During the Calmness phase of the cycle, everything is going along fine. To outsiders, it is a normal, healthy relationship. However, this phase is often limited in duration.

During the Stress Period, the abusive partner is looking for anything to start a fight. This is often referred to as the tension building phase. Possessiveness, jealousy, and attempts to control the behavior of the other person in the relationship all come into play.

Following the stress period, a Violent Episode occurs…physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

After the violent episode, the couple enters the Crisis State. The abuser expresses remorse, takes the blame, asks forgiveness, etc. This is the point in the cycle where the best opportunity for new direction is. The victim has either the choice to forgive the abuser once more, thus perpetuating the cycle of violence, OR she can choose to break the cycle of violence by seeking services from an agency such as DVIS.

If the cycle is not broken, the couple enters the Honeymoon Phase. During this period, it seems like everything will work out. The couple may be particularly affectionate and loving towards one another. In abusive relationships, the severity of the blowup and the abuse may be greater each time, making the period of remorse and making up even more dramatic. Sometimes the period following a violent episode is the only time a victim receives any affection from her partner.

Following this honeymoon period, everything returns the “normal” by entering the calmness stage of the cycle and the cycle repeats itself.