Thursday Thought — The Dynamic Cycle of Abuse
Most abusers do not practice their abusive behaviors all the time. There may be periods in which their behavior is fairly normal and they show love and affection for their spouse and family. Most victims will testify that their abuse was continual (recurring) but not continuous (uninterrupted).
Many, but not all, victims have been able to identify a pattern, a cycle in these changes. Everything goes well for a time, then gradually the selfishness and put-downs increase until there is a big episode of abuse, after which the abuser may be very sorry and “repentant”, treating the victim with exaggerated kindness. But nothing is resolved in this aftermath. The abuser is simply trying to gain forgiveness without having to take responsibility for his bad behavior. This is the buy back period — the abuser tries to regain the victim’s affection and loyalty, while never really addressing his own terrible behavior. Then gradually the tension builds … until the same sort of thing happens again. A cycle can occur every few minutes, days, weeks or months.
The victim’s outlook and emotions go up and down with this cycle. When she is being treated well, she is happy and hopeful: it seems like this is the man she married. During the tension-building phase she may blame herself that things are not right. “If I only change this or that he will settle down again.” In the explosion she is traumatized and bewildered. She may blame herself even more, or realize it is his fault and withdraw her affections from him, hence the need to buy back.
(this is an excerpt from Barbara Roberts’ book, Not Under Bondage [*Affiliate link], pp24-25.)