The Cycle of Violence

Intimate partner violence follows a specific pattern of behavior, which is described as a cycle of violence. It may help to learn more about this in order to be better able to respond to abusive behavior.


Intimate partner violence is often characterized by the "cycle of violence." First, there is a period of incredible tension. The abused partner may feel like she is "walking on eggshells." This tension heightens and finally explodes in violence, either emotional or physical, and may include rape. The violence often ends with a "honeymoon" period, when the batterer is remorseful, repentant and loving. This behavior entraps the victim even more, as she truly believes his promises to change. Then the cycle starts again. Over time, the honeymoon periods grow shorter and sometimes disappear entirely.