The Cycle of Violence

From the moment singer Chris Brown allegedly beat his girlfriend Rihanna on the eve of the Grammy Awards, America has been shocked and polarized by the story. How could Chris do that? And how could Rihanna even think about going back to him after what appeared to be such a brutal beating? With the help of best-selling author Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Phil offers up some straight talk about domestic violence.

Dr. Phil says, "The anatomy of an abusive relationship is really very simple. There's a cycle of violence that takes place."

The cycle has three stages:
  • Tension Building Stage
  • Acute Battering Stage
  • Honeymoon Stage
Dr. Phil says of the honeymoon stage, "This is where, 'Oh, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I will never do this again. I hate that this happened. I'll make it up to you. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry,' but then the cycle starts over again."

He notes that nearly half of abusers re-offend, most within the first six months. "And then you've got what's called traumatic bonding, and it's because there's an imbalance of power, and there's an intermittent reinforcement schedule. You never know whether you're going to get hugged or hit. And so psychologically that's a very strong tendency to stay involved in that relationship," says Dr. Phil.

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