Cycle of Violence

The cycle of violence is something that is devastating to many families and different types of relationships. In the cycle of violence, individuals that are exposed to violence will often become violent to others in the future based on this psychological cycle.

The cycle of violence is a psychological pattern that often perpetuates in families and relationships where the abuser has previously been abused themselves. These repeated acts of violence are a cyclical pattern and often result in many domestic violence altercations between partners, spouses, parents and their children or even siblings. A violent incident is likely to happen at any time or point in the relationship and goes through a series of phases. Each phase may last a differing amount of time depending on the situation and if there are other factors that might cause the abuse to escalate at a faster rate. The cycle of violence essentially refers to violent behavior being learned as a child and then repeated as an adult or as a teen. That is why many teens that were abused as children might continue to have violent tendencies toward their peers or with their partners or other loved ones. 

Cycle of Violence: Phase One

When the cycle first takes off in a relationship is usually begins escalating because of some issue or stress that creates tension in the relationship. The batterer is usually the one that experiences the biggest increase of tension or stress. The victim will minimize the problem because they want to try and make it so the stress is lessened on the part of the batterer. However, that only makes the batterer increase their threats. Feeling scared or hurt, the victim withdraws. Because the victim is seeming weak, the batterer uses the opportunity to be even more controlling and the tension becomes intolerable for both parties. This leads the victim to feel like they have to walk on eggshells or else. Poor communication is a huge driving force behind the tension at this point in time. 

Cycle of Violence: Phase Two

The second phase in the cycle of violence begins with the batterer exhibiting unpredictable behaviors and he/she begins to feel like they are losing control. The victim in this part of the cycle of violence simply feels like they are helpless and trapped. This is also the part of the phase where a violent or threatening incident occurs. The victim become traumatized because of the incident and the batterer blames their actions on the victim. 

Cycle of Violence: Phase Three

In violent cases the batterer sees the harm they did in the previous cycle of violence and now moves on to being apologetic, loving and attentive. The victim, while possibly still injured, has mixed feelings. They may feel angry and hurt, but loves the attention they are now receiving from the batterer. They might also feel guilty and responsible for causing the batterer to lose control and hurt them. Once the batterer begins promising change and swears they will never hurt or injure the other one again, the victim begins considering reconciliation. Especially when others are involved and know about this cycle of violence, the victim will simply minimize the abuse or will even recant that the event ever happened.

Unfortunately in many domestic situations, this is a cycle that can occur between parents, violent children and even outside the domestic setting with other partnerships. There is only one way to break the cycle of violence and that is to often times get professional help if that is what it takes. Parents who may have been abused as children should seek professional help so they don't carry that violence into their own families. They should take active measures to ensure they don't abuse their own spouses and children, but often times this is much easier said than done. That is why it is so important for parents to get professional help to treat the abuse that was done to them previously so they can do their best to break the cycle of violence. Teens or children with abusive parents should tell a teacher or other trusted adult especially if their is violence going on in the home. Many children and teens that behave violently might be doing so because of the way they have been treated by their parents or other members of family or friends that are close to them during their upbringing. That is why it is so important to be able to recognize these signs of the cycle of violence so those who are abused or someone witnessing the domestic violence or child abuse can get help as soon as possible. 


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