Cycle of abuse

I have been regularly checking in to ENCA news and reading News 24 updates on the Oscar Pistorius case.

I am interested and divided but not for the wrong reasons.

In one way I my heart is hoping that he didn’t do it. Why? Well, my son looked at him as a role model, being a keen runner himself.

On the other hand, I don’t want him as my sons role model. Especially if the allegations of past domestic abuse and the current case is true.

That is unfortunately just the short of it.

I have seen jokes and some really uneducated responses on social media that shows what state our nation’s mind is actually in.

I therefore believe a little education is necessary.

Abuse in any terms is a serious offence, from bullying, cyber bullying, verbal, mental, physical abuse and of course animal abuse.
It is really not fair nor accurate to say, “Well, if she knew he had a history of abuse, why was she still with him?”

Your self esteem and mental state due to the abuse is what hinders you.

If her family knew there would be little they could do too as she was able to make her own decisions. Self esteem is a weird thing. Abusive relationships too.

** Victims can be seen in public without as much as a hint of being a victim of abuse. So whether her family and friends knew about any occurrences of domestic abuse remains to be seen.

** Victims are not likely to speak out about their abuser or their situation because of fear or embarrassment. They fear violent reactions from their abuser. Their abuser has highly likely been telling her that her abuse is a form of discipline. He makes sure that she believes that she is wrong.

Here is a little info on domestic violence. I’ve marked the ones possibly applicable to Reeva Steenkamp’s case with an asterisk. This is purely to allow people commenting on the case to see that a victims situation is never cut and dry.

You may think, “gee, she was a model, there is absolutely no way she could have had a low self esteem.” It is in fact to the contrary, her body image may have been good but her self esteem could still have been in tethers.

Victims don’t leave offenders because of fear and self esteem plays a big role too.

Offenders are very aware of this and use it to their advantage. If an abuser feels that his partner is becoming more empowered to leave, he’ll turn on the charm to convince the victim that he actually does love her, then take something away from her to control and dominate her.

That something could be the victim’s right to money or privacy, or any number of other rights.

He may tell the victim that she’s nothing compared to him, causing the victim to feel vulnerable and afraid. Even if a victim seems like she has nothing else to lose, an offender can still find something to control and that usually has a significant impact on the victim’s self-esteem, causing her to stay with her abuser for just that little bit longer.

Some ways that abusers keep their victims around:

    **Possible threats. “I will kill you if you ever leave me”.
    He may threaten retaliatory suicide
    **Abusers often escalate violence when they expect their victims to be leaving.
    A promise of seeking counselling
    Pointing out the incredible stresses under which he is operating,
    Acknowledging the wrongfulness of his violence

Most victims are in committed relationships and some of the above points can and will restore hope for their abuser to change.

Many battered women lose their support systems. Their abuser isolates them; for example, an abuser may not allow their victim to use the phone; he may humiliate her at family gatherings; he may insist on transporting her to and from work; he may censor her mail, etc.. 

Men who are abusive are often highly possessive and excessively jealous. They believe that they own the woman and are entitled to her exclusive attention and absolute obedience. 

He knows that if the truth is told about his conduct, supportive people will urge the victim to leave or seek assistance.  Therefore, abusers quickly isolate their victims in order to sustain their power and control.

** Victims fear that no one will believe their partners abuse or beat them. Abusers often are sociopaths; they are very ingratiating and popular men who keep their terrorising, controlling behaviours behind closed doors.  The victim knows this, and it reinforces her fear that no one will believe her.  No one understands that she feels like a prisoner who might be severely injured or die at the hands of her jailer. 

Most victims leave and return several times before permanently separating from their abusers.  The first time a victim leaves may be a test to see whether he will actually get some help to stop his behaviour. 

When he is violent again, she may leave to gain more information about resources available to her.  She may then reconcile and begin to get some economic and educational resources together in case she decides that she must later leave. 

She may next leave to try to break out of the isolation in which her abuser has virtually imprisoned her. 

The good news is that most victims do eventually leave.

I realise that we are still witnessing early days of court proceedings. If the allegations prove to be true, I hope that the outcome is beneficial to victims of abuse in our country.

Here is a little extra info on the cycle of abuse

The Cycle of Abuse

The Cycle of Abuse

The cycle of abuse is a social cycle theory developed in the 1970s by Lenore Walker to explain patterns of behavior in an abusive relationship.

1: Tension building phase

This phase occurs prior to an overtly abusive act, and is characterized by poor communication, passive aggression, rising interpersonal tension, and fear of causing outbursts in one’s partner. During this stage the survivors may attempt to modify his or her behavior to avoid triggering their partner’s outburst.

2: Acting-out phase

Characterized by outbursts of violent, abusive incidents. During this stage the abuser attempts to dominate his/her partner (survivor), with the use of domestic violence.

3: Reconciliation/Honeymoon phase

Characterized by affection, apology, or, alternatively, ignoring the incident. This phase marks an apparent end of violence, with assurances that it will never happen again, or that the abuser will do his or her best to change. During this stage the abuser feels overwhelming feelings of remorse and sadness, or at least pretends to. Some abusers walk away from the situation with little comment, but most will eventually shower the survivor with love and affection. The abuser may use self-harm or threats of suicide to gain sympathy and/or prevent the survivor from leaving the relationship. Abusers are frequently so convincing, and survivors so eager for the relationship to improve, that survivors who are often worn down and confused by longstanding abuse, stay in the relationship.

Although it is easy to see the outbursts of the Acting-out Phase as abuse, even the more pleasant behaviours of the Honeymoon Phase perpetuates the abuse because the survivor then sees that the relationship isn’t all bad.

4: Calm phase

During this phase (which is often considered an element of the honeymoon/reconciliation phase), the relationship is relatively calm and peaceable. However, interpersonal difficulties will inevitably arise, leading again to the tension building phase.

Information on the cycle of abuse taken from: Wikipedia

If you found this article interesting you may also like to click here and take part in my survey… or read:

Profile of an abuser


Raising a little girl – Self Esteem


My Story

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About Di

Di believes that the most important and most fulfilling “job” she has is being a mom of two. She is an author and animal communicator. Her greatest passion is animals and their welfare. She enjoys writing about animals and topics to help others with their spiritual growth.

Posted on February 16, 2013, in Abuse, Di's Articles, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. What a brilliant article and it really clarified things. Although I am aware that an abused woman is often too scared to leave etc, I had not considered all the things mentioned so this was very informative. Thanks Di for sharing and I hope that all those men and women who are abused (it does happen to men too) are empowered to move out of the destructive relationship.

  2. Thank you for this, brings back memories but made me realise that I am one of the lucky ones to get out of an abusive relationship stronger, wiser and alive!

  1. Pingback: The point of things. Why do I Blog? and a survey… | Di Doodles About Stuff

  2. Pingback: Profile of an abuser « Di Doodles About Stuff

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