One well known and important aspect of physical and emotional abuse
is 'the cycle of abuse'.
This vicious cycle of abuse is present in virtually all domestic violence
- The first stage in the cycle is usually referred to as the Tension Building Stage
- The second stage is often referred to as the Abuse stage
- The third stage is known as the Remorse Stage or Honeymoon period.
This is the cycle, which repeats itself, with the abuse getting progressively worse over time and often the honeymoon period grows shorter and shorter.
Living in this cycle is like living life on a hurricane
prone beach during an endless hurricane season.
Some signs to look for in each stage:
Tension Building Stage:
threats of violence
the need to walk on eggshells
There are storm warnings everywhere, the victim tries to batten down the hatches by appeasing the abuser, and avoid any of the triggers
he/she's learned to recognize. The abused spends a great deal of time walking on eggshells
- trying to avoid the next outburst by the abuser.
, threats, intimidation
hitting, slapping, pushing
The storm hits landfall, the destruction physically and emotionally can be devasting. Each time this stage occurs the natural defenses and self-esteem of the victim are weakened.
denial of abuse
blaming the victim
This is the calm of the storm, later on in the relationship it's often just the eye of the storm as the cycle shortens and the first and third phases all but disappear.
Few who've never been involved in a domestic violence
relationship can understands why the victim stays. The cycle of abuse is one of the key reasons. The abuser
works to destroy the self-esteem
of the victim and the victim
believes the abuser can change. They often believe the promises made by the abuser during the honeymoon period. Often times the victim fears for his/her life should they leave, and at times rightfully so. As hard as it may be to understand, blaming the abused for staying is just another way of victimizing him or her.
The chances of the cycle of abuse ever ending between these two parters is extremely rare. There are many resouces avaible for anyone seeking to get out of this cycle of violence.
Having spent 9 years in this cycle of (emotional) abuse, and 2 years in a domestic violence help program - I speak from experience. If you recognize you're in this cycle, you can get help, and GET OUT, start making plans today. Start a journal documenting in detail this cycle, and READ it before concidering going back once you've left. Perhaps you would like to read my writeup How to escape domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Sourcebook: Everything you need to know
by Dawn Bradley Berry
Family Abuse and the Bible: The scriptural perspective
by Cassiday-Shaw. This book tackles, among other things, the common use of the bible by the abuser to justify their actions.
Taking the Step: Escaping Domestic Violence
by By Jennifer Wieczorek Robb
Breaking Free from Domestic Violence
by Jerry Brinegar
The Abuse of Men: Trauma begets trauma
by Barbara Jo Brothers. This book tackles the often neglected topic of male as victims of abuse.