Abused or the Abuser? Maybe?

What’s the Cycle of Violence?

With bruising (physical abuse) or without bruising (emotional abuse), it’s still abuse. The theory of the Cycle of Violence was developed by Dr. Lenore Walker in 2002. It describes a pattern of domestic abuse. There are three distinct phases to the Cycle: The tension building phase, the violent episode phase and the remorseful/honeymoon phase.

In Phase 1, the abuser experiences increased tension, sometimes over common domestic issues like jobs, children or money. The victim tries to control the situation by trying to please the abuser by giving in to or avoiding the abuser. The abuser increases threats while the victim withdraws. The tension increases, and the victim feels like they are walking on eggshells. Communication is nil.

In Phase 2, the abuse incident occurs. This is triggered by the abuser’s emotional state, not the victim’s behavior. The battering episode is unpredictable. The abuser believes they are losing control, and the abusive incident or threat occurs. The abuse can be emotional or physical. Emotional abuse can include verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation or any act that diminishes the sense of self-worth. The abuser might ignore or exclude the victim.

In Phase 3, the abuser feels shame about their behavior and tries to minimize the abuse, possibly blame the victim and/or express remorse. The abuser might actually be loving, apologetic and attentive. The abuser continues to manipulate the victim by this behavior. This behavior on the part of the abuser gives the victim mixed feels.

If you see yourself either as the victim or abuser in this pattern, acknowledge it, seek counseling with a qualified counselor, and if you’re married, you might want to consult with a divorce attorney to determine your options.

It’s better to seek consultation for a divorce under these circumstances and perhaps choose not to divorce than to need the information regarding how to protect yourself or your children and not have it.

When someone isn’t treating you right, no matter how much you love them, you’ve got to love yourself more and walk away.