The cycle of abuse

Most abusive relationships display a distinct pattern, known as the Cycle of Abuse, in which abuse alternates between: tension building, acting out, the honeymoon period and calm. Not all relationships follow this cycle, and some stages shorten or are left out completely as the abuse intensifies.



  • Tension steadily builds
  • Abuser gets angry
  • Communication breaks down
  • Victim concedes to the abuser
  • Victim feels the need to watch their every move


INCIDENT or “Acting Out” phase

  • Abuse occurs


HONEYMOON or Reconciliation phase

  • Abuser apologises, may cry and beg forgiveness and promise it will never happen again
  • Abuser claims “I did it because I love and care about you”
  • Abuser may also blame the victim for provoking the abuse or deny the abuse occurred
  • Abuser may also claim the abuse wasn’t as bad as victim claims


CALM before the tension starts again

  • Abuses slow or stop
  • Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
  • Promises made during honeymoon stage may be met
  • Abuser may give gifts to victim
  • Victim believes or wants to believe the abuse is over or the abuser will change and may make excuses about the behaviour

Call us now:

0203 601 7475