Just like the circle of life, there is a definite circle in the pattern of abuse that, if left alone, will continue to turn, and keep on turning, until the abuse victim has escaped or is dead. As this pattern is a circle, it is not always easy to identify a beginning, so let’s just start at what we might consider the normal part of this cycle.
The abuser has usually just repented of horrible verbal, emotional, and even physical abuse. Everything becomes perfect and it is so wonderful to the victim to see how much their partner truly loves them. At this phase nothing is too good for the injured party and the abuser does all in his/her power to make life beautiful.
In the next stage, the abuser becomes dissatisfied and every movement the victim makes is cause for the abuser to plan revenge.
The circle continues as the abuser then sets up the victim to commit a “wrong”. This could be anything from taking too long at the store to spending too much time with family. The abuser will justify any action or non-action to accuse the victim of anything ranging from insolence to immorality.
The circle then moves into insulting, belligerent, and ranting behavior that many times turns into aggression and violence. After the victim has been thoroughly chastised, mentally, emotionally, and physically, the next part of the pattern circles around to focus on the abuser’s guilt.
At this point the abusing partner seems filled with horrible guilt and remorse; they cannot do enough to show how sorry they feel. (Of course, he/she may also be worrying about what might happen if the proper authorities were to find out the extent of their abusive actions.)
And then we circle around once more to the point of forgiveness and normalcy- and off we go again.