• Any type of abuse occurs (physical/sexual/emotional)
• Abuser starts to get angry
• Abuse may begin
• There is a breakdown of communication
• Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm
• Tension becomes too much
• Victim feels like they are 'walking on egg shells'
• Abuser may apologize for abuse
• Abuser may promise it will never happen again
• Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse
• Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims
• Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
• Physical abuse may not be taking place
• Promises made during 'making-up' may be met
• Victim may hope that the abuse is over
• Abuser may give gifts to victim
The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of
time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.
It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on,
the 'making-up' and 'calm' stages disappear.
Adapted from the original concept of: Walker, Lenore. The Battered Woman. New York: Harper and Row,
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