This page is to help you to understand the abuse-cycle.
When you are the victim of abuse, the goal of your abuser is to keep you under control.
Abuse is generally all about control rather than sex. You may have tried unsuccessfully to stop the abuse yourself...feeling helpless and like a failure.
You may feel powerless and have little to no self esteem or self worth. The more you try and fail, the stonger your abuser feels. The more in control he/she is and the more devastated you are.
You have become full of fear and insecurity. You become isolated and are reduced to feeling like a possession or a "thing". Your abuser wants to isolate you, so that you have no one to turn to. Why? More control!
If you are a child when this happens, you may harbor feelings of anger towards your non-affending parent because they are not protecting you...even if they are unaware of the abuse taking place. This anger can last until adult-hood. In your mind, he or she should have known about the abuse!
If you have brothers or sisters, you might have resentment towards them or anger because it isn't happening to them even though it might be and you don't know about it. Sometimes older siblings endure the abuse with hopes that the abuser won't turn to a younger sibling.
If you are a parent reading this, you might ask why your child wouldn't tell you about the abuse when it was happening. Well, an adult to a child can be a frightening thing. They can employ scare tactics such as threatening to harm other members of the family, family pets, friends etc. even though they wouldn't to a child, it is quite a real threat!
It is also possible that the child dissociated during the abuse. This can happen during a traumatic event, such as sexual abuse. This is when the child emotionally can not emotionally handle the trauma so the brain allows the child to mentally shut down or forget the event in order for the child to function. (See the page on dissociation for further description.)
The abuse-cycle is generally this: 1) The abuse occurs ___2) The abuser apologizes (the honeymoon phase)_____ 3) Tension builds The Abuser feels out of control_______ The abuse happens again_____on and on etc.
This is a very simplified abuse-cycle but covers the general points.
The abuser needs to depersonalize the victim in order for the abuse to occur in many cases. Many times, the abuser is an alcoholic or uses drugs when he or she abuses the victim.
In response, after being abused, many victims abuse alcohol or drugs to numb their feelings about their abuse in order to cope, or they engage in other self destructive behaviors because of their feelings of worthlessness.
If you are a parent, a friend, or a spouse of a victim / survivor of someone who has been sexually abused, it is important that you understand the reasons behind their behaviors so that you can support them in their recovery.
It may not be easy and they might push you away at times, after all, they learned not to trust other people, their surroundings and even themselves, but that doesn't mean that trust can't be learned and earned.
It is important that you learn facts about sexual abuse to better understand the abuse cycle. You can learn more by going to the
to learn more and understand more about sexual abuse and why people sexually abuse others.
Interested in reading my NEW eBOOK Developing Intimacy? A book I wrote in response to YOUR requests for more information on intimacy in relationships for both the survivor and the partner.
to go to sales page!
If you are involved in the abuse-cycle right now, GET OUT and GET HELP right away!
Talk to a friend, a teacher, a pastor, a sibling, a parent, someone who you have some trust in or you think you might be able to trust. There are many women's shelters, clinics, support groups etc., in most major cities. Email me and I will point you in the right direction. What is important is that you get out of the situation and get help!
There is Hope!
That is what recovery is all about. Breaking the abuse-cycle and creating a cycle of trust and love. One step at a time.
Handmaid For The Lord - Unique, Handcrafted, Religious Jewelry and Gifts -- We Blend Faith & Fashion!
abuse-cycle back to Victim-to-Survivor page