Domestic abuse follows a cycle of violence:
- Abuse – The power play of belittling or violent behavour is designed to show you “who is boss.”
- Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, not over what he’s done but worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior.
- Excuses – Your abuser will think of anything that will work for an excuse; I had too much to drink, a really bad day, etc.
- “Normal” behavior – Your abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep you in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give you hope that your abusive partner has really changed this time.
- Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he’ll make you pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
- Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing you.
The apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes can make it difficult to leave as he will make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you.
The cycle will continue; the dangers of staying are very real.