Cycle of Violence


The Cycle of Violence describes the pattern of abusive relationships. There are three distinct phases: tension building, explosion and false honeymoon.

Tension Building This phase is often described by survivors as “walking on eggshells”. Tension and stress are building and the survivor is trying to control the situation to avoid possible violence.  Emotional abuse can also occur in this stage of the cycle. 

Explosion  This phase is where the abuse occurs. The abuse is triggered by anything, everything, and nothing. The trigger is the excuse that the violent person uses to justify being abusive. Each and all of the 5 types of domestic violence can happen during this phase.

False Honeymoon Here the relationship seems peaceful and romantic; forgiveness is requested and given. The abuser is typically trying to use the romance to manipulate and control the victim in different ways than used before. The false honeymoon stage will begin to fade after some time, and the cycle will begin again.  Over time, the false honeymoon period will get shorter and shorter, and can disappear completely.