Cycle of Abuse

The Domestic Violence Cycle of Abuse

For many, domestic violence follows a predictable pattern:

  • Phase 1: Tension-building is a time of minor conflicts when threats of violence may increase. This phase may last from a few hours to many months.
  • Phase 2: Violence erupts as the abuser throws objects at his or her partner. May hit, slap, kick, choke, abuse sexually or use weapons. Once the violence starts there is little the victim can do to stop it.
  • Phase 3: A period of remorse may follow. This is often called the "honeymoon" phase. The abuser may apologize, often excessively, and may express guilt or shame. Many will buy gifts (flowers, etc.) so that the victim will forgive the abuse. They may promise to go into treatment voluntarily or promise that the abuse will never occur again. Promises he/she will "change."

This cycle repeats itself over and over again. However, it usually becomes progressively worse with each incident.