Cycle of abuse

Cycle of abuse

Very rarely does abuse become constant over night. Research has shown that it happens in a cycle where after it happens the perpetuater becomes very remorseful, often promising never to do it again. Only to find sometime down the track it happens again… The cycle may start on a yearly basis or longer but it starts to come to full circle on a more regular basis.

This chart could help to recognise where on the cycle you are. Foreknowledge could help you to avoid the explosion.

2 responses

1 06 2010
David E. Brown, MS, LMHC

An important note to this cycle.

First, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Our violence towards others is rarely a response to the ones we direct it at. It is a response to our experiential history, other events in our lives, and most of all a belief system and set of values which supports it.

But, bottom line it is a choice that we make in an effort to deal with our own internal feelings, no matter their source, against someone who is available and vulnerable, and, ironically, usually those who we have reason to believe most value and support us.

Since it’s a choice, we are the only ones who can stop it, no one else can, and we will only change the choices we make if we recognize how they harm everything that we hold important, and want our behavior to be more positive and respectful.

Second, as any victim of domestic violence will tell you, the cycle of violence escalates over time. That is a built in dynamic which is the result of increased tolerance for the violence on the part of the victim, which means the aggressor has to escalate the level of violence in order to have the same impact.

Often, this reality can be used to help victims understand what their future is going to be like if they wait for the aggressor to change rather than doing whatever it takes to escape the relationship as safely as they can, as soon as they can.

1 06 2010
Craig Benno

You are right about the escalation. I was threatened that one day I would be stabbed with a knife.

Since my seperation I have done a counselling course and when we did mental health, we looked at this cycle. I shared my story and the lecturer told me that I did the right thing getting out… and that the time would have come when my wife would have found the courage to actually stab me.

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