Domestic Violence Prevention, Intervention, and Healing

Need Help:  National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233  1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or 9-1-1

There are three distinct phases in this powerful and escalating cycle. Relationships often start in the honeymoon phase. This can make it especially confusing and scary when the explosion phase happens for the first time.

Each phase might be as short as a few seconds, or as long as several years. Over time, the honeymoon phase may get smaller and shorter as the explosions become more violent and dangerous.


The phase where the relationship begins and where the partner is sweet, caring and supportive. This is also the stage that follows an explosion.
During this stage, the abuser will try and make you forgive and forget whatever just happened in the Explosion phase.

They might do this by:

• Saying “I love you.”
• Apologizing and promising that it will never happen again.
• Buying you flowers or other gifts.
• Saying that you did something to cause the abuse or blames the explosion on other things, such as being drunk or stressed out.


There is an outburst of abuse that can include physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse. The abuser may:

• Physically abuse you by hitting, kicking, pushing, choking, etc.
• Scream and yell in a way that scares or humiliates you.
• Rape or force you to go further sexually than you want to.
• Threaten to hurt you., something you care about or him/her self.
•Break something you care about .

Tension Building Stage

This is when things start to get tense in the relationship. You begin to feel like:
•You have to tip-toe around your boyfriend or girlfriend so you don’t make them mad. •You can’t do anything right and that you’re getting blamed for things.
•The person you’re with is always trying to start arguments or fights with you.

Cycle of Violence