A woman sits with her back facing us, the words "love shouldn't hurt" written across her skin.

The cycle of abuse

The cycle of abuse can leave you feeling crazy.  The abuser’s behavior can swing quickly from sweet and seemingly kind to angry and hurtful.  It is typical to feel as though you are “walking on eggshells.” Some women have said that he seemed to be like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.  In time you may realize that the sweet behavior is actually manipulation.  His purpose is to control you.  His gifts and kindness always have strings attached.  He is quickly angry if you refuse his “gifts.”  The cycle may not necessarily follow the pattern of “honeymoon”, “tension” and “explosion.”  He may jump between the three phases.  He may stay in “honeymoon” for a few minutes or a few weeks before the “tension” or “explosion” hit.  The pattern generally deteriorates over time; he spends more and more time in the “tension” and “explosion” phases, and only gives enough “honeymoon” to keep you hopeful in the relationship.

Cycle of abuse:

a diagram of the cycle of his abuse

Copywrited in 2008 by Jill Cory & Karen McAndless-Davis

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