– Kellyville Counselling

Are you riding the cycle of abuse?

Are you on the roller coaster of confusion, highs, lows, being bullied, being love-bombed?

Is your partner a monster one minute and a charmer the next?

Are you reeling from the blows of false accusations, lack of empathy, name-calling? Are you off-balance  because the abuser’s memory of yesterday’s argument is completely different to yours?

Is your world shrinking because your partner has issues with your friends and family?

Are you on eggshells, living with both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

It’s exhausting.

If you suspect you are in an abusive relationship it’s really important that you understand that your partner is in a cycle. It will start to help you make sense of the nonsense.

This is how the cycle goes:

1.Tension-building: Your partner seems on edge. Irritable. Critical of you. And it intensifies. You feel like you are on egg-shells.

2. Explosion: The build-up escalates to an explosion. It may be verbal. It may be physical. But it is the release of the tension and unfortunately it gets released on you.

3. Remorse: The abuser goes quiet. The calm after the storm. You are hurt and you distance yourself.

4. Buy Back: Your partner senses your distance and tries to win you back. Could be flowers, could be dinner. Could be the ‘sorry, but’… Might even look like an offer to go to Counselling. Could be tears. The ‘buy back’ is just that: the attempt to buy you back after the abuse has pushed you away.

5. ‘Normal’: If you buy the buy-back, things settle down. Things go back to normal. Only problem is, that after multiple times around the cycle, you know that ‘normal’ is simply the space between buy-back and tension-building. It never stays ‘normal’.

This is what we know as ‘The Cycle of Abuse’ or ‘The Cycle of Violence’.

The cycle can take a whole year – or in some cases the cycle can occur weekly, even daily.  In my anecdotal experience, my clients tell me that they could not discern a cycle at the beginning of the relationship because their partner was busy pouring on the charm.

However, it appears that the cycle begins to emerge sooner or later and then the time between explosions becomes increasingly shorter as time goes by.

The Danger

The danger of this cycle is that the victim interprets the ‘buy-back’ stage as love. The promises and the gifts seem to be evidence that their partner really does love them.

Actually, it’s a manipulation to get you back into the cycle.

You see, after an act of abuse you jump out of the cycle. Makes sense. Abuse is frightening. It’s cruel and even dangerous.

But that situation is not good for an abuser because an abuser needs to feel powerful and in control.

So what happens?

Your Kryptonite

The abuser figures out your kryptonite and uses it. Your kryptonite is what happens inside you that makes you decide to buy the buy-back. It’s what happens inside you that causes you to step back into the cycle.

It could be a fear of being alone.

It could be that you start to feel sorry for your partner and think you can rescue him from his damaged past.

It could be that your partner has threatened to ruin you financially if you ever leave.

Maybe in the explosion phase your partner has threatened to harm you if you leave.

It could be your faith that causes you to jump back into the cycle. It’s good to forgive right?

What’s the difference between ‘buy-back’ and a true apology?


No excuses. Line-in-the-sand. No more abuse.

Have you noticed that after you buy the buy-back, the good deeds stop all of a sudden?

If the abuser was truly sorry they would not blame you or anyone else for the abusive behaviour.   A true apology would sound more like:

“There’s no excuse for what I did. My behaviour is unacceptable and I am going to do whatever it takes to break this cycle. You and the kids deserve to live in a home where you can relax and be safe.”

Instead, you get the token offering and the cycle continues.

It’s not your fault.

It’s really important to know that this is your partner’s cycle. Not yours. You’ve just been dragged around it endlessly.

It’s not your cycle and it’s not your fault.

The only way the Cycle of Abuse stops is if the abuser takes responsibility for it and does the very hard work of change.

You deserve to be treated with kindness, love and respect. You truly do.

Let no person manipulate you back into a toxic cycle. Let no partner use your kryptonite against you.

Abusive relationships are complex and not well understood, even by the people who are in them.

If you need help breaking free from your partner’s cycle, feel free to contact me or any other service in your area that works with domestic abuse.

Go with care.


For 24 Hour Phone Support, call 1800 Respect: 1800 737 732





  • Kellyville Counselling