The Cycle Of Abuse

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

The cycle of abuse will continue over and over until the abused one stops it. There’s a script domestic violence follows with the abuser rigidly in control. The survivors develop a script of their own and repeat the same lines over and over to themselves, friends and family—It will never happen again, he says he’s sorry, it’s my fault I made him angry, I should do a better job then it wouldn’t happen, he’s under so much stress right now, he’s only controlling me because he loves me so much.

This is the cycle of abuse, and it has four stages:

First, tensions build and the survivor becomes fearful and does whatever she can to placate the abuser.

Second, there is an incident that can be verbal, emotional, psychological or physical mixed with threats, anger and intimidation.

Third is the excuse stage where the abuser apologizes, blames the survivor or denies the abuse occurred at all.

Finally, there is the calm stage where the incident has been forgiven or denied and things are back to normal or even better than before—“the honeymoon stage”—until it starts all over again.

The length of the cycle often diminishes bringing abusive incidents closer together. Many survivors are either too ashamed or too fearful to leave their abuser. Some think they are in love with their abuser and in time will be able to change them. Others just want it to go away and try harder to please the abuser in order to bring back the ‘good times.’

In my novel, SOMETHING TO BE BRAVE FOR, Katie cycles through these four stages over and over again at the hands of her husband Claude a famous plastic surgeon until she realizes that it’s not her fault and in order to survive and have a different life free from abuse she has to get out with her daughter.

Take good care of yourselves,