The Cycle of Abuse is a pattern of behaviour used to gain and maintain power and control over another.

The Cycle of Abuse

Abuse – Lashing Out

The abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behaviour. The abuse is a power plan to show the victim who is boss.

Guilt – Apologies

The abuser feels guilty but not about the abuse but rather about the possibility of being caught and having to face consequences for their behaviour.

Excuses – The Denial Phase

The abuser rationalizes the abuse with excuses or places the blame their victim. They minimize the abuse or deny it occurred and avoid taking any responsibility.

‘Normal’ Behaviour – Honeymoon Phase

The abuser does everything to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. This sees them turn on the charm, apologize and become loving and attentive therefore making it difficult to leave as the victim hopes they really have changed.

Fantasy and Planning – Tension Phase

The abuser spends a lot of time thinking about what the victim has done wrong and how to make them pay for it.

Set Up – putting the plan in motion

The abuser creates a situation where he can justify abusing again.

What Forms Can Abuse Take?

Abusive behaviour and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to gain power and control. It is a myth that the abuser is out of control. They can stop their abusive behaviours when it benefits them.  Abusers carefully choose whom to abuse and where and when to abuse. Abuse does not discriminate and happens to all ages, ethnic backgrounds and financial status.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

Non-physical behaviours that diminish one's sense of identity, dignity and self worth

Includes behaviours such as public put downs, threats, insults, name calling, constant monitoring or checking in, excessive texting, minimizing your concerns, making you feel like you’re crazy or overreacting, humiliation, intimidation and isolation. Emotional abuse slowly chips away at the victim’s self esteem and trust in their feelings and thoughts. Never underestimate the harm of emotional abuse, it remains long after the bruises have faded. “I wish I had been physically abused so I would be believed” — Anonymous.

Physical Abuse

Deliberate use of physical force with the potential of causing harm

Includes behaviours such as pushing, hitting, shoving, throwing objects and choking. This abuse may leave bruises, broken bones and/or serious life threatening injuries. Abusers are not in a mindless rage — they usually direct blows where they won’t be seen. They are usually able to stop their behaviours when it suits them such as when the RCMP show up.

Financial Abuse

Deliberate tactic to gain power and control over finances and economic resources

Includes tactics such as withholding basic needs like food or clothing, preventing you from working, limiting access to assets and bank accounts, concealing information about family finances and restricting you to an allowance which diminishes your capacity to support yourself.

Elder Abuse

Exploitation of the elderly through deception, coercion or undue influence

Includes tactics such as using pressure to have legal documents signed (power of attorney), demanding money or property, forging signatures and using personal influence to have wills and deeds changed. To learn more about elder and adult abuse, neglect and self-neglect, please visit our page on the Revelstoke Community Network.

Sexual Abuse

Non-consensual sexual contact or undesired sexual behaviour by one person upon another

Unwanted touching, derogatory name calling, refusing to use contraception, deliberating causing unwanted physical pain, deliberately passing on sexual diseases, unwanted penetrative sex and the use of objects with the intent of physical harm or humiliation. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner, is an act of aggression and violence.

Many paths to healing

The first step to healing is recognizing that abuse is happening and wanting to overcome it so you can reconnect with yourself.