Have you heard of the cycle of violence?
People who live in a violent relations tend to develop strategies on how to overcome their day safety without being beaten, shouted on, humiliated etc. They may or may not have recognized that they are living in a relationship which is dominated by a cycle or violence.
This cycle of violence is the repetitive nature of perpetrator’s actions which always stops the victim from leave an abusive relationship. According to Dr Lennore Walker who developed the cycle of violence theory in 1979, which describes the phases an abusive relationship moves through in the lead up to a violent event and its follow-up.
Dr Walker’s theory classified the cycle of violence into three phases:
Phase 1: Tension-building Phase
In most cases this will come out of the blue. You are not aware there in the batterer, tension is building up. Before you know it, you are experiencing verbal, emotional or even financial abuse for reasons that you do not understand.
This phase is extremely frightening for people experiencing abuse. In most cases they feel like the situation will not explode as long as they do not do anything wrong. Like we said in the last post, you feel that you are living in a war zone all the time. In most cases this does not help because the the behaviour of the abuser will intensify and reach a point where a release of tension is inevitable.
Phase 2 is the Acute Explosion
This is when the abuser’s temper explodes and you find that the violence has reached it’s peak. Shouting, terrorizing, abuses, humilation and physical abuse is the only way that the abuser feels he can release the pressure he is experiencing.
Phase 3 – Closing the circle or the honeymoon stage
I’m sorry! I did not mean to hurt you. Somebody annoyed me and unfortunately I have left my anger out on you. Remorse simply because they feel ashamed of their actions.
They may become withdrawn and try to justify their actions to themselves and others. For example, they may say: “You know it makes me angry when you say that.”
The next thing is that they become „over loving“ making promises never to be violent again. In the next few days it could seem as they the abuser has changed.
At this point, you will feel confused and hurt but also relieved that the violence is over.
If you decide to accept the abuser’s apology, then in most case according to Dr Walker both of you are living in denial. After making up, and when you return to the normal day to day living, you will find that your pattern or cycle of violence will re-start again.