Cycle of Violence

Spartans for Safety - Healthy Relationships

Cycle of Violence

The Cycle of Violence

Honeymoon Phase

  • This stage is where everything appears to be OK and the relationship seems like a healthy one.
  • Abuser may show jealousy, which makes the victim feel special and important at first.
  • They feel love & dependency on each other. No abuse is taking place and acts as though the abuse never happened.
  • Victim hopes the abuse is over, and the abuser may give gifts to victim.

Tension Building

  • Minor incidents occur, such as criticizing, yelling and blaming.
  • The victim often is "walking on eggshells" because they believe it may be their fault the abuser is upset.
  • The victim spends time trying to figure out how they can prevent any violence from happening and keeping the abuser calm.

Explosive Phase

  • Tension will be released in a variety of ways, depending on the history of violence in the relationship.  
  • Typically, it gets worse over time.  
  • The abuser is out of control, terrorizes victim for hours, verbally abusive, breaking things, hitting, spitting, pushing, choking, burning, tying up, raping and/or kicking the victim.
  • The victim may survive this stage with bruises & broken bones, and may end up in the hospital.
  • Sometimes the police will be called during this stage.


  • The abuser apologizes and begs the victim to believe the violence won't happen again.
  • Blames the victim for abuse.
  • Victim is still in shock the violence happened and leaves them vulnerable to accept abusers apologies and gifts.
  • False resolution based on denial and minimizing of abuse, and life goes on.
  • Abuser may encourage victim to go shopping, or call family and friends.
**Eventually, the Honeymoon and Reconciliation go away and the relationship is just tension building followed by an incident.  If you or someone you know is in an intimate relationship that is violent, it is NOT your fault, you are NOT alone, and you CAN get help to leave the relationship.