Cycle of Violence
Note: A predictable pattern of violence is not present in all cases of domestic abuse. You may still be a victim of intimate partner violence even if there is no apparent cycle of behavior as described below.
Some victims report that the abuse they experience follows a regular pattern which has been named "the cycle of violence." The abuser's behavior can abruptly swing from loving to violent to contrite. This cycle is often repeated over and over, keeping the victim confused and off-balance.
Between violent explosions, there are periods of calm. However, the victim never truly relaxes because she knows that something—anything—may set off the next explosion.
A violent episode, which may be verbal, sexual or physical, marks the "explosion" phase.
After the explosion, the "honeymoon" phase of apologies and promises of change begins. The abuser’s remorse may be genuine. He truly does not want to lose the person he is attempting to control. However, when his world is once more secure, the courting stops and life returns to normal.
But, his partner can recognize signs of approaching trouble as the "tension-building" phase begins. From past experience, she knows an explosion is imminent.
When the cycles become shorter and explosions more frequent, the severity of violence can intensify—often to lethal levels.