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Are you trapped in a cycle of violence?

Those involved in relationships where emotional, physical or sexual abuse occurs may be familiar with the cycle of violence with which they live. Described below is the pattern some abuse takes in relationships.

Tension begins building up, and the victim often tries to placate his or her abuser to keep him or her calm. Family members describe feeling as if they are "walking on egg shells," and communication begins to break down.

Eventually, some minor issue, remark or imagined slight will tip the apple cart and there is an explosion of violence from the abuser toward one or more family member (usually a spouse). After the violence abates, the abuser often expresses remorse, apologizes and promises it will never occur again.

Sometimes, abusers deflect the blame for the violence to their victims, downplay the seriousness of the matter or deny it outright.

In the hours and days that follow a violent outburst, abusive partners can act as if nothing ever happened. They can appear calm and reasonable, even loving, toward their victims. Abusers may even romance their victims or give them gifts. This gives victims a false sense of hope that their abusers have changed.

Unfortunately, unless an abuser undergoes counseling and/or faces the consequences of his or her violence toward the victims, this cycle of violence is likely to repeat over and over again. If you find yourself trapped in an abusive relationship, a family law attorney is one source of advice and guidance. He or she can assist you with obtaining a restraining order and filing a petition for divorce if you are married to your abuser.

Source: domesticviolence.org, "Cycle of Violence," accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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