Violence in relationships usually follows a cycle or a pattern.

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.