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Cycle of Abuse....Educational.

Abuse is all about "Power and Control"

Imagine a circle. At the top we will add the label "The Honeymoon Phase." 1/4 down clockwise we will label "Tension Building." Continuing clock wise we will add the label "Explosion". We come full circle back to the "Honeymoon Phase." The process repeats itself. With time it accelerates. This is known as the “Cycle of Abuse,” or the "Circle of Abuse.”

At the “Honeymoon Phase” the abuser sweet talks their prospective victim. The abuser will apologize, act lovingly, or bring presents. It can last as long as the abuser does not feel threatened. It usually gets shorter or disappears over time.

At the “Tension Building Phase” the abuser sees his “gig” in jeopardy; feels threatened. Maybe the victim is starting to say “NO.” The abuser starts getting “moody.” Victims feel like they are walking on egg shells. The length of tension can worsen over time.

The “Explosion Phase” happens when the abuser feels they are losing their victim, and must get them back into the circle no matter how. This is when an incident of abuse occurs. It usually begins as verbal abuse, becoming more intense and more frequent over time. No one should find themselves alone nor in close quarters with the abuser during this time. 

Then comes the apology; back to the Honeymoon Phase. The abuser will apologize, bring candy and flowers, and try to get their victim back. Then everything is repeated again.

When I taught the cycle of abuse to high school students, through a presentation approved by the Board of Education, I would tell the kids…..when you get the flowers and the candy, you have gone full circle. This is the safest time to exit. Do what you will with the flowers, do not eat the candy, and move on.

For a variety of reasons, those victims that keep "the secret" get stuck on the cycle.

Once the victim says I will no longer “keep the secret” they can start reaching out for help, but it must be done in a way that the abuser does not know it is happening.

We all make mistakes in the absence of knowledge. It is up to each individual to do the homework, to get educated. Sadly, the information is not readily available. Most people do not seek help until they have been caught several times in the "Cycle of Abuse" or a tremendous tragedy has touched their lives because of it.

Abuse can manifest in many ways: Physical, Emotional and Psychological (which includes Mental and Verbal), Sexual / Sexting, Financial / Spiritual and Digital. An abuser needs to retain their "Power and Control." When a change to the “Status Quo” is on the horizon, the abuser will go to any lengths to defend their perceived loss of control. Manipulation is one of their favorite tools. Most abusers are bullies and scare their victim into submission. Any objections from the victim meet with a loud response or a threat. That in itself can be sufficient to paralyze the victim.

People may start to see a pattern and say......“Oh, that is just (the abuser's) way”…….That "way" is called Abuse. It is extremely hurtful. 

Ripping a plastic bag out of someone’s hands and yelling at them "that it is the wrong bag" is assault. It leaves the victim paralyzed.

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