Daily Archives: 24/10/2014

The cycle of abuse

So much of the knowledge and what I have learned in my day job is relevant to this blog. So if the view I’m including helps even just one person see the destructive relationship we develop with alcohol then it has been worth sharing.

Today I’m drawing on the world of domestic abuse as it is experienced by teens.

TEAR cycle

This Cycle of Abuse diagram is taken from the TEARS website which you can visit here. (Click on image to enlarge)

What struck me about this model is how it mirrors my experience with alcohol.  Initially in the green stage it felt like how things were in the early days of my drinking.  There would be the odd bad night which would make me swear off the drink for a bit but I’d soon forget and be hopeful that it was a one off.  The TEAR website describes it as ‘being a state when both partners are happy to be in a relationship.’

The yellow stage is how it felt in the later stages where I was moderating hard and trying to stay in control of my drinking and how difficult this was becoming.  The TEAR website describes it as ‘tension is building within the relationship.’

The red stage is where I saw myself ending up if I did not stop and TEAR describes it as ‘this stage is usually the shortest and the most harmful.’

This image struck a chord on so many levels:

  1. The addict voice in my head I could identify as like an abuser
  2. The escalating events that are associated with the cycle if you do not extract yourself that could have ended up happening to me if I hadn’t stopped
  3. Recognising alcohol as abusive to me as in a form of self-abuse
  4.  And particularly pertinent to the original source how alcohol is used against us to allow abuse to happen

The most striking statement that rang true though was this one:

Once the cycle is in place it becomes difficult to break.  The cycle of abuse is based around denial, because when both parties deny the abuse, there is no way of stopping the pattern.

I appreciate that this is a difficult and emotive topic but like the problems caused by alcohol we cannot shy away from it as this would maintain the denial.  Tomorrow I’ll share the wheel of control and power that is also extremely prescient.