Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you "who is boss."
Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he's done. He’s more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior.
Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
"Normal" behavior — The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he'll make you pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing you.
Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are very real.
Tension building phase -- Tension builds over common domestic issues like money, children or jobs. Verbal abuse begins. The victim tries to control the situation by pleasing the abuser, giving in or avoiding the abuse. None of these will stop the violence. Eventually, the tension reaches a boiling point and physical abuse begins.
Acute battering episode -- When the tension peaks, the physical violence begins. It is usually triggered by the presence of an external event or by the abuser's emotional state -- but not by the victim's behavior. This means the start of the battering episode is unpredictable and beyond the victim's control. However, some experts believe that in some cases victims may unconsciously provoke the abuse so they can release the tension, and move on to the honeymoon phase.
The honeymoon phase -- First, the abuser is ashamed of his behavior. He expresses remorse, tries to minimize the abuse and might even blame it on the partner. He may then exhibit loving, kind behavior followed by apologies, generosity and helpfulness. He will genuinely attempt to convince the partner that the abuse will not happen again. This loving and contrite behavior strengthens the bond between the partners and will probably convince the victim, once again, that leaving the relationship is not necessary.
This cycle continues over and over, and may help explain why victims stay in abusive relationships. The abuse may be terrible, but the promises and generosity of the honeymoon phase give the victim the false belief that everything will be all right.
In our case, the tension was about his inability to launch his business or find any way to stay afloat financially (thus owing us thousands of dollars in back utilities), and he lashed out by stomping on my boundaries.
"September," people reminded me. Yes, there was September.
The backstory there is that Judah cheated on me in September while I was in Florida visiting my dying grandmother.
He made out with someone he knew I didn't want in my world, repeatedly, and did not tell me. Didn't tell me at the time, despite the fact that we were talking daily. Didn't tell me when I got back. How did I find out? She grabbed him and started making out with him at my Autumn Solstice party. This is why I had to disappear upstairs. This is why my boundaries were stomped. This is why I was exiled at my own party, because I found out that Judah had been cheating on me.
That, and everything after, followed a pattern.
1. Cheat on me
2. Get angry and try to bully or intimidate me
3. "Have an epiphany" about how wrong he was and how he understands now why I was hurt and he'll never do it again, he swears.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
"The fake epiphany is part of the abuse cycle", I was reminded. >.< Yes. Yes, it is. Each time I allowed myself to be convinced that he really meant it. He was good at that.
So it's not just medical. It was an existing pattern that escalated. His flipping over into violence was sudden and awful, and could have had some medical trigger, BUT. Numerous people who have diabetes and depression have assured me that even on the worst days, they still knew where the lines where. Even on their worst days, they would not have been capable of anything like this.
He was already on a textbook DV path.
I've been struggling because I didn't understand how this happened. I didn't see the pattern. I didn't realize that the pattern of boundary violation and bullying was what led to this, and now I do. I was looking for more data - because I actually was able to step back and take action after the second episode of violence.
But I've been hearing some stories and putting things together. And so far, it's looking like the lying, the cheating, and the vicious cold nastiness when called on it is a pattern that stretches back at least eight years. I just got to be the first person he raped and the first person he hit.
This is what this is. It is very clear now.