Posted by: faithful | October 6, 2011

cycle of violence


Cycle of Violence


  • Any type of abuse occurs (physical/sexual/emotional)

Tension Building

  • Abuser starts to get angry
  • Abuse may begin
  • There is a breakdown of communication
  • Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm
  • Tension becomes too much
  • Victim feels like they are ‘walking on egg shells’


  • Abuser may apologize for abuse
  • Abuser may promise it will never happen again
  • Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse
  • Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims


  • Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
  • Physical abuse may not be taking place
  • Promises made during ‘making-up’ may be met
  • Victim may hope that the abuse is over
  • Abuser may give gifts to victim
The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete. It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the ‘making-up’ and ‘calm’ stages disappear.    Adapted from the original concept of:  Walker, Lenore. The Battered Woman. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.

Positive signs include the following:

He has stopped being violent or threatening to you or others.
He acknowledges that his abusive behavior is wrong.
He understands that he does not have the right to control and dominate you.
You don’t feel afraid when you are with him.
He does not coerce or force you into having sex when you don’t want to.
You can express anger toward him without feeling intimidated.
He does not make you feel responsible for his anger or frustration.
He respects your opinion even if he doesn’t agree with it.
He respects your right to say “no.”
You can negotiate without being humiliated and belittled by him.
You don’t have to ask permission to go out, go to school, get a job, or take other independent actions.
He listens to you and respects what you have to say.
He recognizes that he is not “cured” and that changing his behavior, attitudes, and beliefs is a lifelong process.
He no longer does                             (fill in the blank with any behavior that used to precede his violence, manipulation, or emotional abuse).

Signs of manipulation include the following:

He tries to invoke sympathy from you or your family and friends.
He is overly charming, reminds you of all the good time you’ve had together.
He tries to buy you back with romantic gifts, dinners, flowers, etc.
He tries to seduce you when you’re vulnerable.
He uses veiled threats – to take the kids away, to cut off financial support, to quit attending a batterer’s program.
His promises to change do not match his behavior.

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