The cycle of violence is a way of describing and understanding the cycles of abuse that can occur in abusive relationships. The most common pattern is: Tension building -> Incident ->Reconciliation or Making Up ->Calm or the "Honeymoon Phase"
• Tension building: The tension increases and communication breaks down. The abuser becomes angry, possibly already getting angry or violence. The survivor becomes fearful and feels the need to keep the abuser calm. The survivor is “walking on eggshells” and trying to minimize the abuser’s anger, but the tension becomes overwhelming and sparks an incident.
• Incident: Verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse occurs. More than one type of abuse may occur.
• Reconciliation or Making Up: The abuser may apologize for the abuse, promise it will never happen again, blame the survivor for causing the abuse, or claim it is not as bad as the survivor claims. Sometimes the survivor might feel relieved because this signals the end of the incident, but the survivor also fears that it will happen again.
• Calm or the "Honeymoon Phase": The incident is “forgotten” or glossed over. The abuser acts like the abuse never happened. Physical abuse may not be taking place. Promises made during ‘reconciliation’ may be met. The abuser may give the survivor gifts or do things to ‘make up’ for what happened. The survivor may hope or believe the abuse is over.
• After a period of calm, the tension building begins again.
If you are experiencing relationship violence you are strongly encouraged to seek help and support. Whether or not you stay in the relationship, you are encouraged to stay safer. Please read this safety planning resource from The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Relationship violence can occur in all kinds of relationships regardless of age, race, sexuality, religion, economic status, ability or any other factors. If you or someone you know is experiencing relationships violence get help. If you or someone you know is under immediate threat call 911 for emergency assistance. If you or someone you know is experiencing relationship violence, but is not under immediate threat, please contact Becca Bishopric, Coordinator for Health Promotion – Violence Prevention and Response at 336-278-5009 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org for resources and support.