City and Borough of Juneau
Juneau Police Department
Thinking about the Cycle of Abuse
It terrorizes, controls, and breaks you...
Domestic Violence - ABUSE is NOT your fault.
Maybe, you don’t think this means you. It hasn’t been that bad. Maybe, this time, no one got hurt or maybe, no one was arrested. But, maybe in your heart you know you want something else. You want someone to love you NOT hurt you. Maybe, it is time to think about choices and making changes.
The goal of abuse is control. Abuse is used to force you to behave only in the ways in which they want you to behave. Control is achieved with unpredictable, unprovoked abuse – Physical, emotional, verbal, sexual and more. Abuse is used because it helps achieve control of you. Face it. Abuse works.
The cycle of abuse is a huge part of your answer to "How did this happen to me?" For years, you may have been feeling that you have been going around in circles... not getting anywhere.
Your feelings are correct.
You have likely kept on trying and trying your best to make things work, resolve issues and doing everything in your power to try to stop your partner's abusive behavior, making agreements and plans to make things better. Maybe you have gotten out of one abusive relationship and then back into another... Nothing has worked – so far.
Nothing has worked
Does this sound like you? Because the abuse has not stopped you blame yourself. You feel like a failure. The "failure" to resolve issues, has very likely set up feelings of helplessness within you because you can't seem to make anything better no matter how hard you try. As you keep trying, and failing, these feelings of helplessness grow. Your once healthy ego and sense of pride begin to slip away and your sense of self-worth is shattered. You lose confidence in yourself and your abilities. You might even think that the abuse is your fault or that you deserve this or that you should be able to stop the abuse and make things better. If only you could.
The combination of abuse and your efforts to stop it: erode your self-confidence, devastate your self-esteem and destroy your sense of self-worth. You become fearful, insecure and dependent. Everything in your life eventually revolves around your abuser, his moods and his needs. You become a non-person. You feel that you are reduced to existing as your abuser's "possession" or "provider." You may even think that you have lost your voice and your right to have choices. Your dreams have disappeared a long time ago.
It is important to realize that you can't change your partner no matter how hard you try. You can't love him enough to make him stop abusing you. You can’t change an abusive person. Only he can change himself and make the decision to stop being abusive. Right now, the Cycle of Abuse keeps you fearful and off balance both emotionally and psychologically. Look at the diagram of the cycle shown below... you will most certainly recognize this vicious and devastating wheel spinning within your abusive relationship. The cycle doesn’t end by itself. It gets worse.
The saddest thing of all: This insidious, repetitious cycle will break you so smoothly, there's an excellent chance you won't realize you've lost yourself. For some people it may take years... but it will break you.
Each time you take a spin on the Cycle of Abuse you lose a little piece of yourself. You never quite make it back up to your best again. You may think and believe you have everything back in your control... but you haven't. Every cycle of abuse takes you lower and lower and lower until one day, there is nothing left of you. You just don't recover. Look closely at yourself and your life. Feel your feelings... listen to your own heart... reach into your spirit. What do you see?
I now ask you...
Are you really the same person you were before you began riding this Cycle of Abuse?
The heavy weight of abuse crushes you a little bit more each time you travel around the cycle. Down, down, down you go... until you are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually annihilated.
The shame you feel grows.
You begin life whole and complete.
You could finish depressed and broken.
Questions to Ask Yourself