The Cycle of Abuse.
Emotional abuse like many other forms of abuse operates in a cycle. It is a repeated pattern that happens time after time while slowly diminishing your sense of self-worth and confidence. Ending an emotionally abusive relationship requires someone to intercept the pattern. So, what is the pattern or the cycle of abuse?
There are four stages to the cycle: Tensions building, Incident, Calm & Honeymoon. In this article we’ve switched up the names and explanations a little to speak in language that gals like you will vibe with.
WALKING ON EGGSHELLS
The first stage in the cycle of abuse feels like you’re walking on eggshells. Your intuition tells you that something is off. Your partner seems annoyed or upset and you’re trying to do and say everything right to avoid escalation. The trouble is when someone is abusive anything can upset them no matter how perfectly you behave.
THERE’S AN EXPLOSION
The behaviour escalates and now becomes abusive. Your partners ability to control his or her words, actions or behaviours has exploded. This incident could be anything from yelling, swearing, calling you names, driving a vehicle fast to scare you or physically hurting you. The abuse leaves you feeling upset, hurt or unsafe. This behaviour is never OK.
THINGS START TO CALM DOWN
After an explosion the abuser will begin to calm down. They might even start to realise at this point how unacceptable their behaviour was. Or, feel sorry for you because you’re now visibly upset, shaken or angry. As a way to calm the situation down they will try to excuse their behaviours. They may apologise but in the same breathe blame their behaviour on someone or something else rather than taking responsibility for it.
ENTER THE HONEYMOON PHASE
When you’re on the receiving end of abuse, chances are you just want things to go back to normal. You want to feel the same safety, love and comfort you had right in the beginning of your relationship. During the honeymoon phase that’s exactly what an abuser will show you. All the good things, the person you originally fell in love with. You may be promised that his or her behaviours will change and something like this will never ever happen again.
Remember that the cycle of abuse is repeated behaviour that happens again and again. By the time you reach the Honeymoon Phase, it’s easy to be convinced that things will really change this time. But, the chances of that happening when you’re dealing with an abuser are very slim.
It’s important that if you know someone or you are dealing with abusive behaviour that you get help. Emotional abuse diminishes your confidence and sense of self-worth. It’s important to break the cycle by seeking help and first talking about your experiences. You can find helpful services here.