Cycle of abuse

Cycle_of_Abuse_0It’s important to know the pattern when it comes to an abuser. The cycle of abuse is a social cycle theory developed in 1979 by Lenore E. Walker to explain patterns of behavior in an abusive relationship. The phases usually go in the following order and will continue until the batterer is stopped.

Not all relationships follow the same cycle, and individual experiences vary, some stages – especially the honeymoon or calm periods, may shorten or be left out completely, especially as the abuse intensifies over a period of time.

Each stage of the cycle can last from a few minutes to a number of months,

Tension building

  • The abused may seem to walk on eggshells to avoid confrontation.
  • Abuser seems irritated or moody.
  • Communication begins to deteriorate leaving the abused feeling alone.
  • Abuser may withhold affection.


  • Any type of abuse occurs
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual


  • Abuser apologizes for what happened.
  • May promise it will never happen again.
  • Blames victim for provoking the abuse or denies it ever occurred.
  • Minimizes or denies the seriousness of the abuse that took place.

CALM before the tension starts again.

  • Abuse might stop or slow.
  • Abuser acts like the abuse never happened.
  • Promises made during honeymoon stage may be met.
  • Abuser may give gifts to victim to reconcile.
  • Victim believes or wants to believe the abuse is over or the abuser will change.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s