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The Battering Cycle

Abusers become more and more prone to react negatively to frustration. Small episodes of violence escalate to minor assaults, but are minimized by both the abuser and the victim, perhaps as just a "bad argument".The victim may try to become nurturing, supportive or just stay out of the abuser's way to prevent the violence. In order to maintain this role the victim must show no anger. Victims who have been battered over a period of time usually know that these lesser incidents will get worse. However the victim may cope by reasoning that they deserved the abuse. When the abuser explodes, the victims often assume the guilt by blaming themselves. The small episodes of violence become more frequent, the tension between abuser and victim becomes unbearable. As the point of inevitability closes in, the relationship rapidly moves into phase two, the acute battering incident.

Phase two is the uncontrolled discharge of tension built up in phase one. The lack of control and major destructiveness of the incident is what distinguishes it from the small episodes of phase one. Phase two is the shortest phase, usually lasting from minutes to a few hours. During this phase both abuser and victim accept that the abuser's rage is out of control. While the abuser may start out intending to "teach the victim a lesson", the abuser will not stop until they feel the victim has been appropriately "disciplined". The abuser often finds that the victim is severely injured, yet is very calm. The trigger for the abuser's attack is rarely the victim's behavior, rather some outside event or the internal state of the abuser. Once the attack is over the victim will experience shock, denial and disbelief that it really happened. Victims of trauma usually suffer an emotional collapse, 24-48 hours after an incident.Their symptoms include listlessness, depression and feelings of helplessness.

Also known as the "HONEYMOON PHASE", phase three is characterized by the extremely kind, loving and contrite behavior of the abuser.The abuser knows they have gone too far and tries to make it up to the victim. This phase is welcomed by both parties, but ironically it is also the phase during which the victimization becomes complete. The abuser behaves in a charming and loving manner. They are usually very sorry for their actions. The abuser conveys remorse to the victim and promises that it will not happen again, and begs for forgiveness. Sometimes abusers truly believe it will never happen again,or that they have taught the victim such a lesson that never again will the victim "behave" in a way that tempts the abuser to physically assault them. The abuser is often quite sincere and can usually easily convince anyone involved that his or her behavior will change; especially the victim themselves.

In time the cycle will start
all over again.