Understanding the Cycle of Abuse

Keep in mind, again, that all abuse is psychological. Most domestic abuse is never reported, even though it is the single major cause of injury to women in the United States.

Traditionally, the cycle of abuse has been recognized as this: a tension-building phase, the actual abusive event, and the honeymoon phase. Now, experts assert that the cycle of abuse takes more phases than three, and use an eight-pronged model, that looks like this:

The key to healing from domestic abuse, for both the abused and the abuser, is to recognize that the abuse exists, and that it occurs within this cycle. If an abuser is not willing to identify his actions as abuse, then he can never change the cycle he is in.6

If an abuser can overcome his cycle of abuse, the relationship will rise to both partners being equal to one another. Here are some of the features of equality and non-violence in a relationship.If an abuser can overcome his cycle of abuse, the relationship will rise to both partners being equal to one another. Here are some of the features of equality and non-violence in a relationship.


Reflection Questions

Why is it important for a victim to recognize and understand the steps in a cycle of abuse?

Why is it important for an abuser to learn of and acknowledge a cycle of abuse?


NOTES

6. Hislop, 218.


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“Fragile Soul: Ministering to Victims of Domestic Violence” is published by the National Women’s Department at women.ag.org, 2020. Permission granted to reprint  for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.