The Pattern of Violence
Abusive relationships aren’t always bad all of the time. Generally, there is a pattern that abusive relationships follow (also sometimes referred to as a cycle or wave).
The first part of the pattern is the honeymoon stage. During this stage, being with a significant other seems like the best thing in the world; the partner is kind, loving, and thoughtful.
Next is the tension-building stage. During this stage, an abusive partner will begin to engage in small abusive tactics such as name-calling or dictating who the partner should or should not hang out with. Sometimes, an abuser will apologize for the abusive behavior and the relationship can return to the honeymoon stage, where everything can feel “back to normal” until it enters into the tension-building stage again. This is usually the longest stage, because it is building up to the final and most dangerous stage.
Last is the violence stage, or sometimes it is called the explosion stage. During this stage, the abusive partner literally explodes in an act of violence or abuse that physically or emotionally harms a partner. This is typically the shortest stage, and the most dangerous, because the abused partner could end up with serious injuries, physical and emotional.
After the violence/explosion stage, the partner will likely apologize and promise never to abuse the partner again. If the partner stays in the relationship and forgives the abuser, the relationship cycles back into the honeymoon stage, until the tension begins to build again.
Note: While this is a common model of what an abusive relationship looks like, it is just a model, and not all unhealthy or abusive relationships will necessarily follow these patterns.