Cycle of Abuse

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• Abuser makes excuses and minimizes what he/she did
• Abuser may blame the victim for having caused the incident
• Abuser may say the incident was not as bad as the victim claims
• Promise made during the “Honeymoon” Phase may be met

Honeymoon or commonly known as “Calm Phase”

• Abuser may apologize and promise it will never happen again
• Abuser says that he loves the victim
• Abuser may give gifts
• Victim feels hopeful that the abuse is over

Tension Building

• Abuser shows increasing anger
• There is a breakdown of communication
• Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm
• Victim feels like they’re “walking on egg shells”


Any type of abuse occurs
• Physical
• Sexual
• Social
• Psychological/Emotional
• Verbal
• Financial

  • The length of time for each stage in this cycle can vary from one abusive relationship to another.
  • In an abusive relationship the cycle can happen hundreds of times.
  • The cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.
  • The violence usually gets worse over time.
  • The honeymoon phase, then the denial phase will eventually disappear leaving only a cycle between tension building and incident.
  • It is important to remember not all intimate partner violence fit the cycle.