Skip to main content

Toll-Free Crisis Line: 1-877-977-0007

The Cycle of Abuse

Domestic/Family Violence occurs in a cycle. To break the cycle, we must understand the four phases and recognize the different types of abuse.

Build-Up: Stress causes the abuser to feel powerless and they act out by calling the victim names, insulting them or making accusations. Tension starts to build up. During this phase, the victim may feel as though they are "walking on eggshells".

Act Out: Tension continues to build up and the abuser acts out. During this phase, one or several types of abuse may occur. Abusers attempt to hurt or humiliate their victims to have power and control in the relationship.

Rationalize/Justify: During this phase, abusers often try to rationalize or justify their actions. Abusers will blame others or try to minimize the incident.

Pretend Normal: Once the abuser has justified or rationalized his/her actions, the victim begins to believe the abusers version of what happened and they pretend that everything is normal.

Domestic/Family Violence can occur as a single incident or over a long period of time. As the cycle continues, victims often feel isolated from family or friends and become even more dependent on the abuser. The cycle of abuse continues. Without help, abusive relationships only get worse.

Need Help Now?

Call the Toll-Free Crisis Line