Cycles of Abuse


Three –Phase Cycle of Violence

Phase 1: “The Honeymoon

In this phase, the abuser may repeatedly express what appears to be genuine of remorse and shower his partner with attention and gifts. The abuser may promise to “never do it again” or to get counseling. The individual who experienced the violence may feel relieved that the abuse is over and may be tempted to forgive the abuser. At that time the individual experiencing violence needs support and information to help identify manipulative behavior. It is important to remain focused on safety.

Phase 2: Tension Building

In this the abuser may be extremely critical, bullying, moody and demanding. The individual experiencing violence still feels some kind of control over the situation and may attempt to pacify the abuser in order to postpone or stop the next battering phase. With the increase in tension, these attempts become less effective. The abuser’s negative behavior escalates and may begin to include direct or implied threats of violence. This may be a time when the abused individual seeks outside help and professional assistance.  

Phase 3: Explosive

In this phase, the abuser’s behavior escalates to physical or extreme emotional violence and the individual may feel completely helpless in controlling the escalation. Some individuals experiencing violence may even precipitate the battering incident in order to “get it over with” and regain some sense of control. At this stage, appropriate intervention for the abused individual may include medical attention, arranging for safety and/or shelter and crisis intervention.

The Honeymoon

  • Apologies
  • Promises
  • Blaming
  • Gifts

Tension Builds

  • Criticism
  • Yelling
  • Swearing
  • Coercion
  • Anger


  • Attacks
  • Threats
  • (Physical, Emotional, Sexual)
awakenCycles of Abuse