Domestic Violence Cycle

Tense Atmosphere

A tense atmosphere manifests itself in several ways. The abuser might use an aggressive tone, threatening glares, a disapproving attitude, long, unjustified silences. The victim attempts to smooth out the tension and to adjust to her significant other’s mood.

During this phase, the victim experiences anxiety. She tries to appease the rising tension through gestures. Fear also finds a home.



Aggressive strategies used by the partner in order to solidity his/her power over the victim. These strategies may involve several different forms of abuse (psychological, verbal, physical, sexual, economic and/or social). During this phase, the victim might feel ashamed, or guilty. 

There may be a sense of conflicting emotions. Sometimes anger or even sadness.



During this phase the person relying on aggressive strategies tries to justify their abusive acts. Various reasons are put forward to explain away the abuse and take the on us away from the person exhibiting abusive behavior toward his/her/their partner.

During this phase, the victim begins to feel a sense of doubt. She questions her perceptions. This is a phase during which the victim tries to find a reason behind the abuse. Sometimes the victim believes she is in the wrong, responsible for her/their significant other’s abuse.



This phase is sometimes referred to as the « honeymoon » or « remission ». At this point, the abuser makes overtures in order to be forgiven and regain his/her partner’s trust. For the victim, this step carries the hope that a healthy relationship is emerging.

During this phase, hope blooms and the partner gives her partner another chance. She hopes that this will do the trick, that he/she will change. She hopes that her partner’s promises hold true. She frequently tries to change her habits so that luck might be on her side and the reconciliation phase atmosphere lasts. However, the cycle of violence begins again.



The cycle of violence