Patterns in dating abuse

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In intimate partner relationships, the perpetrator may buy presents or the couple may engage in passionate sex. For instance, Scott Allen Johnson developed a 14-stage cycle that broke down the tension-building, acting-out and calm stages further.

For instance, there are six stages in the "escalation" or tension building stage, which includes triggers, the victim feeling victimized, angry and depressed, isolation and revenge planning.

Violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner.

Any young person can experience dating abuse or unhealthy relationship behaviors, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic standing, ethnicity, religion or culture.

The cycle can occur hundreds of times in an abusive relationship, the total cycle taking anywhere from a few hours, to a year or more to complete.

However, the length of the cycle usually diminishes over time so that the "reconciliation" and "calm" stages may disappear, Stress builds from the pressures of daily life, like conflict over children, marital issues, misunderstandings, or other family conflicts.

The release of energy reduces the tension, and the abuser may feel or express that the victim "had it coming" to them.

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Initially, Walker proposed that the cycle of abuse described the controlling patriarchal behavior of men who felt entitled to abuse their wives to maintain control over them.

Her terms "the battering cycle" and "battered woman syndrome" has since been largely eclipsed by "cycle of abuse" and "battered person syndrome", respectively, for many reasons: to maintain objectivity; because the cycle of abuse doesn't always lead to physical abuse; because symptoms of the syndrome have been observed in men and women, and are not confined to marriage and dating.

It does not discriminate and can happen to anyone in any relationship, whether it’s one that is casual or serious. There are some warning signs that can help you identify if your relationship is unhealthy or abusive, including the examples below. metro area in need of legal help, contact Break the Cycle's legal services team.

Remember, the abuse is never your fault, and asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Find healthy relationship and dating abuse handouts, resources, and more here.

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