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Cycle of Abuse

If a relationship is becoming very unhealthy it is possible that the two individuals are in the Cycle of Abuse. 

The Cycle of Abuse has 3 stages and moves in a circle so it happens again and again.

1. Tension Building Stage

At this stage the victim will have already noticed that their partner becomes angry or shuts them out over little things.  The victim might start to feel nervous and worried that their partner will become angry at them and so they try to please their partner by doing whatever he/she wants.  The victim might feel afraid to do activities, hang out with friends, or even dress in certain ways because it might make their partner upset.  Over time this can become very stressful and can cause arguments.

2. Explosion Stage

At this stage the abusive person gets angry in a scary way because their partner is not doing what they want.  They may scream and yell and might even hit or grab their partner. In this stage the abusive person blames the partner for making him/her angry.

3. Honeymoon Stage

At this stage the abusive person apologizes and might even make excuses for their anger, blame their anger on other things, or promise to change.  Sometimes they bring a gift and might be extremely loving and kind to the abused partner to try to get them to stay.

In this cycle, the abused person is getting the message that if they don’t do what their partner wants, then there will be a big fight.  The abused person learns to behave in a way that they hope will keep their partner from attacking them. This may happen again and again. Fights that used to happen once in a while are now happening every day.  The abused person will feel very nervous that they can’t make their partner happy and not angry.  Over time this can really effect the abused person’s self-esteem and well-being.  They may stop activities they used to love and stop seeing friends and family because they are so afraid of making their partner angry or maybe losing their partner.