Understanding The Cycle of Violence

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Because abuse is gradual love continues to grow, however the periods of calm are always followed by unpredictable emotional reactivity.  You may never know what will set him off and the violent episodes are usually unrelated to the situation at hand.  His level of reactivity is out of context to the current situation, reaching an extremely higher level than would be expected by most people.  This is because his violent outbursts have little to do with the situation.

He is reacting to a buildup of his own internal pressures from unexpressed emotions which have been developing over days and weeks.  Any trigger can serve as an explosion that was already in the works.  You have no way of knowing what will set him off and soon you no longer feel safe living your life and being in your own skin.  I was in a no win situation.  If he became enraged and I tried to stand up for myself he would make me pay for it.  In his mind I was defying him and I was going to be punished so I would learn not to defy him again.  Ultimately, the more he screamed, the more enraged he got… and the more I retreated.  Ironically, the more I retreated the more he screamed and followed me around the house to try to get a response from me.

If I did respond, he would reply “how dare I challenge him!”  When his rage ends he becomes remorseful and apologetic.  He may even cry.  He will likely tell you that he has never behaved this way with anybody else and he will justify his actions by telling you that if you did things differently this wouldn’t happen.  He may then use guilt and say he is the one suffering and if you “only loved him more…”  This leaves you confused and feeling like “if only I could please him more.”… You never will.  His violence isn’t about you at all.  The abuse is not your fault.

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