Abusive relationships generally follow a cycle of violence and recognising this and knowing what it looks like is the first step in learning how to break and escape the cycle of violence and abuse.
When the relationship starts it is in a ‘honeymoon’ period of a quiet and violence free time. Then tension develops, arguments start and the abuser’s reactions seem extreme and an over-reaction to the issue at hand. This is followed by violence.
The cycle of violence:
- The abuse begins and may take many forms - physical, emotional, sexual, financial or more than one type of abuse.
- The remorse: the abuser shows remorse (shame, sorrow or regret) and apologises or begs for forgiveness and may promise not to do it again.
- The forgiveness: the woman starts to feel guilty that maybe she is the cause of the abuse and accepts the abuser’s apology.
- This leads the couple back to the honeymoon period and the repeat cycle of violence and abuse.