Crook County Family Violence
& Sexual Assault Services  

                           The Cycle of Violence

The Honeymoon Phase

This is where the relationship begins. Violent relationships may begin very romantically. They are quick, intense, and seductive. The victim frequently looks back at this happy, loving time, hoping the abuse will end and the relationship will be like it was at the beginning. This phase is what perpetuates the relationship.


After violence occurs, this is a period of apologies, gifts, and promises the abuse will never occur again and the abuser will change. Both minimize and rationalize the behavior and the seriousness of injuries. this can also be a time of renewed courtship, romance, and sexual intimacy.

Tension-Building Phase

The tension building phase may last a week, months, or even years. However, once the cycle of violence begins, it will usually occur more frequently. The tension-building phase is characterized by increased emotional abuse and a feeling of threat or intimidation. it may include minor physical abuse like slapping or pushing. Victims feel tesne and afraid and often describe it as "walking on eggshells." Victims learn to recognize these signs and may try to avoid or deflect the abuser's anger by becoming more compliant. Sometimes, they may even provoke the abuser in order to break the tension and get the abuse over with.

Serious Battering Phase

This phase is characterized by a violent episode that may involve physical and/or sexual abuse,property destruction, and heightened emotional abuse. Children and pets may also become victims. Initially, minimal levels of violence may be sufficient to frighten the victim. As time goes on, the abuser will usually use more severe forms of abuse to maintain control. In some instances, other methods of exercising power and control are more effective than physical abuse.

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