Cycle of Violence
- Abuser starts to get angry
- Victim feels like they are "walking on egg shells"
- Victim tries to keep the abuser calm
- Tension becomes too much
- There is a breakdown of communication
- Abuse may begin
Any type of abuse
- Abuser may apologize for abuse
- Abuser may give gifts to victim
- Abuser may promise it will never happen again
- Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse
- Abuser may deny abuse took place
- Abuser minimizes the incident or say it was not as bad as the victim claims
- Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
- Physical abuse may not be taking place
- Promises made during 'making-up' may be met
- Victim may hope and believe that the abuse is over
The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.
It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the 'making-up' and 'calm' stages disappear.
Adapted from the original concept of: Walker, Lenore. The Battered Woman. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.