Authors: (of the above graphic, as well as the original descriptions of the phases of the cycles below, not in ALL CAPS) Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: December 2012.
Well, I’m just throwing this out there. Honestly, I haven’t spent the time and thought on this that I have with most of this project. It’s a bit of a reach perhaps, but one may have to admit there are some parallels between the domestic violence pattern and the pattern nearly all of us have been part of as normally punished children. It makes sense that any mental gymnastics one would use to justify dishing out unpleasantness on people, and making one’s self believe that from this bad can come good might follow a predictable form, so I’ve added, in CAPS (or in red CAPS), the ‘other’ cycle of domestic abuse to the above graphic, the Cycle of Parental Punishment:
THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE IN PARENTAL PUNISHMENT
The cycle of violence in domestic abuse
PARENTAL PUNISHMENT FALLS INTO A COMMON PATTERN, OR CYCLE OF VIOLENCE:
Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence:
Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you “who is boss.”
PUNISHMENT – YOUR PUNISHING PARENT “IMPOSES SOME UNPLEASANTNESS” – THREATS, INTIMIDATION, CONFISCATION OF YOUR PROPERTY, OR RESTRICTION OF YOUR FREEDOMS. IT IS A POWER PLAY, INTENDED TO TEACH YOU RESPECT FOR THEM AND ALL AUTHORITY.
Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he’s done. He’s more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior.
GUILT – AFTER PUNISHING YOU, YOUR PARENT FEELS GUILT, BUT NEVER QUESTIONS THEIR USE OF PUNISHMENT. THEY’RE MORE WORRIED THAT YOU’LL RESENT THEM, THAT YOU WON’T LOVE THEM ANYMORE, OR ALSO THAT OTHERS WILL FIND OUT ABOUT THE FIGHTING IN THE FAMILY.
Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
EXPLANATIONS – YOUR PARENT RATIONALIZES WHAT THEY HAVE DONE, RESTATING YOUR MISDEED AND EXPLAINING WHY YOU NEEDED THE PUNISHMENT, AND WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU. THEY MAY SAY THEY DIDN’T ENJOY IT, BUT THAT YOU MADE IT NECESSARY.
“Normal” behavior — The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
NORMAL BEHAVIOUR – YOUR PARENT DOES EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO REGAIN CONTROL AND KEEP UP THE APPEARANCE OF A HAPPY, HEALTHY PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP. THEY MAY ACT AS THOUGH IT NEVER HAPPENED, OR THEY MAY BECOME ESPECIALLY SWEET FOR A TIME. THIS PHASE LETS THE CHILD KNOW THAT WHEN HE BEHAVES, THE PARENT IS HAPPY AND NON-VIOLENT.
Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he’ll make you pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
CONSISTENCY AND DENIAL – HAVING EXPLAINED TO YOU AND THEMSELVES THE REASON FOR THE PUNISHMENT, AND SATISFIED THAT YOU’RE BOTH HAPPY AND LOVING ONE ANOTHER AGAIN, YOUR PARENT HAS REASSURED HIMSELF THAT HE’S DONE THE RIGHT THING, AND IS OVER HIS MOMENTARY REMORSE AND READY TO DO IT AGAIN, THE NEXT TIME YOU MAKE IT NECESSARY.
Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing you.
VIGILANCE AND CONTROL – YOUR PARENT PLACES A LOT OF RULES AND RESTRICTIONS ON YOUR BEHAVIOUR AND WAITS FOR THE NEXT TIME YOU BREAK ONE, SO THEY CAN HAVE A CHANCE TO PUNISH YOU AGAIN, AND SO “TEACH YOU HOW TO BEHAVE” AND “INSTILL SOME RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY IN YOU.”
Food for thought . . .