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 in comparison to the abuse in the relationship.

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 comes into play.

Following the stress period, a Violent Episode occurs. This episode can take form as physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. A violent episode could even consist of the abuser harming loved ones and/or children in order to gain control over their partner.

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 taking new direction is. The victim has either the choice to forgive the abuser once more, thus perpetuating the cycle of violence, OR they can choose to break the cycle of violence by seeking support from their family and friends or an agency like DVIS.

If the cycle is not broken, the couple enters the Honeymoon Phase. During this phase, 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 their partner. The extreme displays of affection and attention in the honeymoon period is also called love bombing. Love bombing is often a tool that abusers use to later defend their actions.

Following this honeymoon period, everything returns to “normal” by entering the calmness stage of the cycle before repeating again.