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.



6 thoughts on “The cycle of abuse

  1. Wow—looking at this image I can see that I was my own abuser and victim. I thought about one of my sisters, who was in an abusive marriage(not anymore thankfully), and how my family members and I would worry about her, and try to help her, and remind her she did not deserve or ask for the abuse she was receiving from her husband. I could have said the same things to myself about alcohol. Great post; looking forward to tomorrow’s 🙂 xx

    1. It’s spooky isn’t it Lori? Glad your sister is now free as are you and I 🙂 xx

  2. Wow again. I am wondering now again how my alcohol abuse strengthened my choice of man. I think I am going for intelligent, funny and in touch with his emotions. And I used to come home with ‘very attractive because in control’. 🙁 People that hang on to control and control their environment turn out to be not very nice. Learning why now. Insightful.

    1. Glad it was an insightful post for you feeling and now that the booze isn’t distorting your view you will make different choices, including men 🙂

  3. It’s very useful to put our relationship with self in this model. It’s true that The Addict part of me is like a separate voice, a separate being, who wants to see me destroyed. Thank you so much for posting this.

    1. Hi Rivieradinah Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog 🙂 That’s a great way to put it – our ‘relationship with self’ so thank you!

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