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Tension building phase:
Arguing, yelling, screaming, questioning, interrogating, and accusing the victim are all characteristics of the tension building phase. The victim is walking on eggshells and being very careful not to say or do something that will trigger the abuser. There is a feeling that the abuser could blow up at any moment.

Explosion phase:
Tension is released in a burst of emotional, verbal, physical or sexual abuse. This is when the abuser attacks you. This stage can last anywhere from a few minutes to days.

Honeymoon phase:
This is the "I am sorry stage," "I will never do it again stage." The abuser tries to make the victim stay in the relationship by apologizing or trying to shift the blame onto the victim or someone else. The abuser promises to never abuse again.

Think about your relationship; are you in any one of these stages? Are you in stage one, two or three? We can help you break the cycle of violence.


"He made me feel like I was nothing ...It was a giant secret. I didn't even tell any of my lesser friends or my best friend or my mother. I couldn't tell a soul... I felt that it was my fault and that everything was the result of me being not worthy."

From NBC News Transcripts, Today Show, "Jessica Aranoff of Break the Cycle Discusses Causes of and Solutions for Abuse in Teen Relationships" (2005). Retrieved from www.ncdsv.org on January 30, 2008.

Changing social beliefs, attitudes and the behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence while creating a safe space in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.

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