The Herald Bulletin

October 6, 2012

Cycle of domestic violence: How they control, why they stay

By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin

How they control

It isn’t about physical violence; it is about gaining power and control.

Why they stay

The fear of the unknown can be greater than the fear faced by staying at home.

The cycle of violence is a hard one to break. It both begins and ends with the “Honeymoon” stage where the abuser is sweet, helps around the house, may send flowers or cards. This behavior is a way to make up for violent behavior. Often, the abuser is afraid he will lose the victim. He’ll make promises to stay, go to counseling and to change.

The “Tension” stage occurs when the victim feels like she is walking on egg shells. There is no way for her to predict what the abuser wants or what to do to keep from the violence. There is not usually physical abuse during this stage but emotional abuse, coercion, threats and intimidation. The “Violence” stage often includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The cycle then begins again with a “Honeymoon” stage.