Phase One – Build Up
– Things start to feel “off.”
– The target feels the need to “walk on eggshells.”
– Verbal abuse may begin at this stage.
– Sometimes the tension becomes unbearable and the target may attempt to provoke an episode to “get it over with.”
– This phase can last days or months and usually gets shorter as the relationship goes on.
Phase Two – Violent Episode
– The tension explodes into violence or a significant abusive episode.
-Both the target of the abuse and the abuser will minimize the seriousness of the resulting physical and emotional injury.
– The abuser will blame their target and/or circumstances.
– The target will often accept the blame and feel in control of preventing another episode.
– This phase escalates and gets more dangerous with each episode.
Phase Two – Reconciliation
– The abuser will often become charming and shower their target with praise and gifts.
– The target of the abuse may begin to believe the violence is over and under control.
– This phase can last anywhere from minutes to months or more and typically get shorter and less pronounced and the relationship goes on.