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Understanding the Cycle of Violence: How to Stop Relationship Abuse

Domestic violence is a severe and despicable problem that, unfortunately, impacts a large number of people worldwide. It is an insidious form of abuse that can take many forms, from psychological to physical. One of the essential elements of understanding domestic violence is to first understand the cycle of violence.

The cycle of violence is an ongoing pattern of behaviors that keeps survivors locked in abusive relationships. Understanding the process of violence is crucial in stopping relationship violence and answering the most common questions regarding battering.

The Three Stages of the Cycle of Violence

The cycle of violence comprises three distinct stages: the tension-building stage; the acute battering incident; and the honeymoon stage. During the tension-building phase, tension and conflict in the relationship increase. This can include the abuser becoming increasingly angry, controlling, or critical.

An acute battering incident is when the abuser physically assaults the survivor. This can include physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse.

Finally, the honeymoon stage is the period of calm and reconciliation that follows the battering incident. The abuser may express remorse, apologize, and promise to change in the future.

Domestic Abuse Is Not Just Physical Violence

It is important to remember that a victim of domestic abuse does not necessarily have to have experienced physical abuse to still be a victim. Many survivors of domestic abuse actually report having never been physically abused in their relationship.

Power and Control Wheel

The power and control wheel is a helpful tool for understanding domestic violence; it comprises six forms of abuse: coercion and threats; emotional abuse; isolation; minimizing, denying, and blaming; involving children; and financial abuse.

  • Coercion and threats are tactics used to control the survivor and to manipulate them into doing something against their will. This can include making threats of violence against the survivor, their family or friends, or even their pets. The abuser can also threaten to harm themselves or commit suicide if the survivor does not comply
  • Name-calling, insults, verbal shaming, humiliation, and other types of emotional manipulation can all be considered emotional abuse. It can also manipulate the survivor’s emotions by playing with their insecurities, making them feel guilty, or isolating them from their family and friends
  • Isolation is a form of abuse used to control survivors by limiting their access to people and resources. Isolation can take various forms, such as denying the victim access to work, restricting them from contacting relatives or friends, or even forbidding them from leaving the house
  • Minimizing, denying, and blaming are tactics used to make survivors feel that they themselves are, in fact, the ones to blame for the abuse. These tactics can include the abuser minimizing their actions, denying they did anything wrong, or blaming the survivor for the abuse
  • Using children is a tactic used to control the survivor by manipulating their children. This can include involving children as a way to manipulate the survivor and their emotions
  • Lastly, financial abuse is a form of abuse used to control the survivor’s finances. This can include prohibiting the victim’s access to their money, preventing them from working, or controlling their access to resources

Recognizing and putting an end to domestic abuse requires understanding the cycle of violence. It is also important to understand that domestic violence does not always manifest itself in tangible, physical ways.

“If you feel unsafe and recognize that you are a victim of domestic violence, I urge you to contact a legal professional for guidance, ” says domestic relations attorney Christine Landis of The Law Offices of Mark Sherman. You can get the knowledge and tools you need from legal assistance to safeguard your family and yourself.

Key Takeaways

Understanding the cycle of violence is essential in recognizing and stopping domestic violence in its tracks. Recognizing the signs of domestic abuse is the first step in seeking help and finding a safe path away from an abusive situation.

It is important to remember that if you are in an abusive relationship, you can still be suffering even if there is no physical abuse involved.

You can get the knowledge and tools you need from legal assistance to safeguard your family and yourself. Reach out for help and locate a safe exit if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.