Cycle of Violence

The Cycle of violence depicts a pattern often experienced in abusive relationships. The three phases repeat over and over and escalates over time.


Phase I - Honeymoon/Romance

  • Relationship begins with love, affection and attraction
  • Both partners are out to please each other
  • Abusive partner shows signs of abuse such as verbal, Excessive Jealousy, etc


Phase II - Tension Building

  • Minor incidents of physical/emotional abuse occur
  • Growing tension from arguing, silence insults and accusations
  • Victim blames self and tries to smooth things out
  • Longest phase of violence- can last for years


Phase III - Violence Episode

  • Physical violence and assault occurs
  • Other types of violence occurs- threats, emotional, verbal, sexual
  • Victim usually too frightened to seek help
  • Victim and family are in extreme danger of being severely injured or killed


Return to Stage I - Initial Honeymoon

  • Abuser is apologetic
  • Promises the violence will never happen again
  • Denial: Victim forgives and wants to believe it will not happen again
  • Blame: The responsibility shifts to victim to avoid violence
  • Tension becomes greater - 'Walking on eggshells'
  • Abuse becomes more frequent


The cycle of violence is not only repeats itself in an abusive relationship, it may also repeat itself by emerging later in the relationships of people who experienced and witnessed violence in the home as they grew up.


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