Harm done within the four walls of a home environment is more common than society might realize. Physical assault is common for both women and men, with 52% of women and 66% of men facing assault in their lifetime. Yet, another problem presents itself. Intimate partner abuse, also called domestic abuse, for women rises at 76%, while 18% of men reported abuse.

Abuse done to any human is horrific, and should be navigated with the utmost care. Yet our reality is that women experience domestic abuse more commonly and are at higher risk of injury during assault as it is the leading cause of injury for women in America. Domestic violence is also not only identified as physical but also psychological, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse. Such scenarios between partners/spouses can be very isolating and controlling.

Such factors are able to reinforce an environment where cycles of abuse are more susceptible. Typically, there are also phases to a battering cycle. Those stages among partners are the honeymoon phase, tension-building phase, the explosive phase, and the honeymoon stage again.


  • Honeymoon: The abuser at this phase has not acted out and might be jealous, over possessive, and dependent. The other partner typically feels dependent on the other partner as well, feels special, and affectionate. There is usually a lack of depth in intimacy and mutuality at this phase.
  • Tension-Building: At this stage, the abuser had minor incidents, yelling, criticism, and may sense an ability to control their anger. The partner that has been abused at this stage may attempt to appease and prevent violence. They may feel on edge like they are “walking on egg shells.”
  • Explosive: At this phase the abuser has very clearly inflicting violence by means of kicking, hitting, pushing, sexually assault or rape. This terrorizing can happen for hours. The partner that has been abused, if they have survived, may be hospitalized after an encounter, clearly has marks on their body from abuse, and is in survival mode rather than thinking of escaping.
  • Honeymoon Again: The survivor is in a state of shock, receives apologies and gifts for repair of the relationship, and hopes that it will not happen again. The abuser is in a state of swearing off abusing the partner. They allow the partner to do as they please, such as extravagant spending, and treat the other partner well during this phase.


Navigating why a person might stay in a relationship with their partner in the midst of domestic violence can be confusing to face alone. There might be a myriad of reasons as to why they are staying. There can also be contributing factors that make it difficult to leave or get help. The cyclical nature of abuse and repair makes it that much more difficult to leave or get help. It makes sense that it is beyond challenging to seek a plan to get out.

domestic abuse survivor

Crisis counselors, like ones at Heartland Therapy Connection, are able to explore reasons for staying with clients. Trained counselors can bring sufficient aid and resources in a person’s journey to safety and recovery. Call us or make an appointment at Heartland Therapy Connection if you need help. We believe your life is worth an abundance and you deserve to receive all of the support you need.


The National Women’s Health Information Center
Women’s Health in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services

Source: Kanel, K. (2019). A Guide To Crisis Intervention. (6th Edition). Cengage Learning Inc.

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