Caught in a Cycle
Guest Blog -Condensed from Misty Dawn’s Blog on Shakam Boqer
There’s a cycle of abuse. It’s a cycle that often takes a long time to recognize for the victim, but eventually those who are survivors, who recognize their worth and value, step out of the cycle.
Leaving abuse isn’t easy. Many victims of domestic abuse will leave and go back seven to twelve times before they’re finally “done.” Usually, the abuser lashes out and will use anything in their power to regain the “relationship.”
That’s why many support groups recommend a “no contact” policy with the abuser. Of course, in certain situations, usually when children are involved, that’s impossible. Then, it takes far longer to truly get out of the cycle.
Here’s the cycle
1. Building Tension
Lots of controlling behavior from the abuser. Walking on eggshells by the victim. Trying to keep the abuser happy. The victims may even be “happy” with some connection, intimacy, and joyful moments, but under the surface, the victim is on edge, waiting for the next proverbial shoe to drop. Which it will.
2. The Drop
The abuser acts out. Is violent in some way—verbally, physically, etc. The victim sustains deep wounds—body, soul, or both. They begin to bleed out—emotionally and/or literally.
The victim enters full self-protection and defense mode and will do anything to make the abuse stop. They will tell the abuser what they want to hear, or clam up, or placate. Whatever it takes. Just stop. ASAP.
They may also be in “self-protect” mode for the marriage or relationship and will do things that seem off to the onlooker as they try to hold the idea of the relationship together while also defending themselves against the abuser.
Sometimes victims stay because of the “idea of marriage”, the “hope of being loved”, the “person he could be”. Sometimes, it’s because they were raised with the idea that “God hates divorce.” which is another blog in itself. Whatever the case, they may self-protect the “marriage” and therefore the abuser; even while self-protecting themselves against the abuser.
4. The Honeymoon
At some point, the abuser’s anger dissipates. They apologize, shed tears, and/or blame the victim. The victim usually accepts the apology, has hope, and thinks, “The abuser is really going to change now.” The victim may take the blame. They may apologize for whatever small infraction caused the blow-up. This brings the relationship to some sort of “peace.”
This part of the cycle is called a honeymoon, but it isn’t a honeymoon. The victim is still reeling in pain, trying to find sure footing. The abuser is manipulating the victim to keep the victim from leaving.
It IS manipulation, because if the abuser was truly sorry, they would stop abusing. As my counselor has clearly stated, “If you apologize, you may only do so once. Apologize and change. If you apologize and do the same thing over and over you will lose all credibility.”
If the abuser is apologizing, just to repeat the pattern next week or in a month just to lash out again, it’s not an apology. It’s manipulation.
If the abuser is blaming the victim, it’s manipulation. If the abuser was healthy, they would take responsibility for their actions. Period. Full stop. Always. They wouldn’t put their woes over on everyone but themselves.
If any of this feels familiar, I encourage you to look at other commentary on abuse cycles and the power wheel. Learn the words that describe what you’re experiencing.
This cycle is NOT loving. It does NOT reflect the heart of God. His word makes it clear that those who are His will love Him and others. He makes it clear that He didn’t send Messiah into the world to condemn us, but to save and heal us. He will give you wisdom and courage to break the cycle.
You are loved, right here, right now, just the way you are.
“And I will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.”Hosea 2:19 & 10