Third Place Transition House – Victims of Family Violence Association – Truro, Nova Scotia

Cycle of Violence

Abuse may seem unpredictable but careful observations of battering incidents have proved that, in many cases, there is a predictable pattern to the abusive outbursts. The pattern, or cycle, happens many times over a relationship. Each phase of the pattern may have different lengths of time and over time the level of violence seems to increase in severity. It’s important to note that not everyone’s experiences are the same, nor does all violent relationships fit the cycle.


Tension Building Phase

  • Abuser is angry, argumentative, and incidents of abuse begin.
  • Communication breaks down and tensions becomes too much.
  • Victims feel as if they are walking on eggshells.


Honeymoon Phase

  • The abuser shows regret for the abuse, is apologetic and loving.
  • Abuser promises it will never happen again, he never meant to hurt you, he will change, he will get help.


Crisis Phase

Abuse occurs. Abuse can be physical, sexual, and/or emotional



Abuser blames victims, minimizes what he did, and doesn’t want to take responsibility for his actions.


Each phase may be followed by periods of calm and may last different lengths of time. The cycle usually repeats itself.