Cycle of Emotional Abuse

By Nancy Duarte Life Coach | Sep 03, 2023

The cycle of emotional abuse typically follows a repeating pattern.

Tension-Building Phase: This phase is characterized by increasing tension, stress, and conflict within the relationship. The abuser may become irritable and critical, and display controlling behavior. The victim often tries to avoid conflict and may become increasingly anxious as they sense the tension building.

Explosion Phase: In this phase, the tension reaches a boiling point, and there is an emotional outburst or an explosion of anger from the abuser. This could manifest as verbal abuse, yelling, belittling, or even threats. The victim may feel shocked, hurt, and fearful during this phase.

Honeymoon Phase: After the explosion, the abuser may feel remorseful and guilty for their actions. During this phase, they might apologize, make promises to change, or even give gifts to the victim. The abuser may try to downplay the severity of their behavior and often blame external factors or the victim for triggering them.

Calm Phase: In this phase, there is a temporary period of calm and relative peace in the relationship. The abuser may act loving, and kind, and appear to have changed. The victim may want to believe that the abusive behavior will not resurface, and they may hope for a better future.

Unfortunately, this calm phase does not last, and the cycle usually repeats itself. The emotional abuse tends to intensify with each cycle, and the victim can feel trapped, confused, and emotionally drained. Over time, emotional abuse can have severe and lasting impacts on the victim's mental and emotional well-being.

Please keep in mind that emotional abuse is a serious issue, and if you or someone you know is experiencing it, it's essential to seek help and support from friends, family, or professional organizations specializing in abuse and mental health.