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Deep Dive into the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Published: February 28, 2024

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Comprehensive Overview of Domestic Violence Patterns in New Jersey

What is the cycle of domestic violence in NJ? AnsweredSadly, domestic violence is all too common in the United States. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 20 victims per minute suffer abuse by their intimate partners. The cycle of domestic violence may account for why so many couples stay in abusive relationships. Patterned behaviors to force, manipulate, and control a partner, spouse, lover, or other intimate relation are at the heart of physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, and financial abuse.

Psychologists and criminologists recognize the cycle of violence and abuse typically underlying domestic violence. The cycle explains the increasing incidences or intensity of abuse. Historically, the cycle has had three or four components, but today, the five cycle parts break down into the tension-building, incident, remorse, reconciliation, and calm phases.

Stage 1: The Build Up

In the tension-building phase, the abuser may be irritated, angry, or frustrated from outside stressors, like work or finances, which carry over into the relationship. The lack of control triggers the abuser, and tension and edginess cause the victim to speak and act carefully to avoid confrontation and escalation. The target of the violence may feel anxious as they are subject to sudden bursts of anger or aggression.

Stage 2: The Explosion

The initial phase leads to a violent incident, whether it is physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of the victim. When the abuser’s emotional state boils over, they seek power and control over the victim by insulting them, destroying their belongings, threatening to hurt them or their loved ones, depriving them of money, battering or sexually assaulting them, or deliberately targeting their weaknesses and insecurities. The degree of harm can be minor to fatal.

Stage 3: Smoothing the Waters

The next phase, remorse, is often lumped together with reconciliation and calm as the honeymoon phase. The abuser eventually feels sorry or scared for the damage they caused. They may fear losing control over the receiver of the abuse or the legal consequences of their actions. They may act lovingly to make amends, offering gifts and apologies, claiming that the incident will never happen again. Alternatively, they may downplay the incident, claiming it was not so bad.

Stage 4: The Crave for Normalcy and Love

In the reconciliation phase, the victim may be soothed by the abuser’s loving gestures or convinced that the incident was a fluke or not as bad as it seemed. They may even give excuses for the behavior, such as work and home life stresses. They may even blame themselves for not being perfect or acting in ways that trigger the violence. Craving normalcy and the early romance of the relationship, they may buy into the incident as nothing monumental and feel loved and comforted.

Stage 5: The Aftermath

The aftermath of remorse and reconciliation is the calm phase, including the abuser’s justifications and excuses for the incident to manipulate the victim’s response. Whether the abuser blames the victim or outside forces for the violence, they typically promise not to do it again and vow to do better. The victim, wanting to believe them, dismisses the incident as a one-off and returns to living as if nothing is wrong.

Recognizing the Victim Trap

The cycle of abuse is a victim trap. It causes the victim to form a trauma bond based on the highs and lows of the relationship, creating an unhealthy dependence of the abused on the abuser. And though not all domestic violence situations are cyclical, many follow the pattern of increasing abuse with shorter periods between incidences. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 1 in 5 fatalities are the result of intimate partner violence.

Those caught in the domestic violence cycle can break the cycle by recognizing the destructive patterns and acknowledging that they will continue. Walking away from the relationship and regaining control of their life is a vital cycle-breaker. Help is available from support groups, family, friends, therapists, and lawyers. You can learn more about some of the domestic violence resources available in New Jersey and always contact law enforcement if you feel threatened or in danger.

Walking Away and Protecting Your Safety

Emotional support and shelter are critical, but sometimes, the most challenging part of leaving is the first crucial step. If you are caught in the domestic abuse cycle, you should know that you can get legal protection from your abuser. Domestic violence acts, such as assault, stalking, criminal restraint, and other predicate acts listed in New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, are crimes under the law. You can call the police to protect your life in an emergency, but you can also get a restraining order against your abuser from the local courthouse.

A restraining order aims to protect a domestic violence victim from further abuse. The court order forbids any contact, physical or electronic, between the abuser and the abused upon penalty of incarceration. Knowing you have protection may make it easier to regain your life.

Concerns about How to Handle Domestic Violence through the Courts in NJ?

Getting help from an experienced domestic violence attorney at The Tormey Law Firm can relieve you of the burden of figuring out how to get through the legal system when you are in an emotionally distraught state. Our lawyers can help you file a restraining order for you to get an emergency restraining order for temporary protection. After that, you will need representation at the hearing for a final restraining order ten days following the interim order. At the hearing, you must prove to the judge that you suffered abuse and continue to be in danger of abuse. The proof must convince a judge to grant you permanent relief, and that is where a knowledgeable lawyer such as those on our team is essential.

Since the defendant named in a restraining order can contest your proof at the hearing, you want to have an experienced domestic violence attorney by your side, presenting the evidence that will persuade a judge to grant you the final order and discrediting the defendant’s proof. Our team of skilled restraining order lawyers compassionately understands your situation and we can advocate for your best interests in securing your safety and that of your family.

In addition to a protective order, we can also help request child support and other financial restitution for the abuse if applicable, such as medical bills or destroyed property, and an order granting you control over the residence you share with the abuser, if applicable. At a time when you need help the most, rely on the knowledge and experience of a domestic violence lawyer at our New Jersey law firm to get you the protection and comfort you deserve. Contact us today at (908)-336-5008. for a free consultation.

Filed under: Domestic Violence Case Issues, Domestic Violence Process

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With offices in Hackensack, Morristown, Newark, Middletown, and New Brunswick, our lawyers can represent you anywhere in New Jersey and are available immediately to assist you at (908)-336-5008

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Travis J. Tormey is a distinguished member of the legal community and a respected legal resource on domestic violence. He has been featured in a variety of prominent publications and media outlets, including CBS radio, Aol News, the Asbury Park Press,, and the Daily Record. Mr. Tormey has also been recognized as one of the the top criminal attorneys under 40 years of age by the National Trial Lawyers Association and the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Whether representing victims or the wrongly accused, Travis remains passionately committed to protecting the rights of the innocent.

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The Tormey Law Firm LLC handles restraining order cases in Bergen County (Hackensack), Morris County (Morristown), Passaic County (Paterson), Union County (Elizabeth), Hudson County (Jersey City), Middlesex County (New Brunswick), Somerset County (Somerville), Sussex County (Newton), Essex County (Newark), Hunterdon County (Flemington), Mercer County (Trenton), Monmouth County (Freehold), Warren County (Belvidere), Ocean County (Toms River), Burlington County (Mount Holly), and throughout NJ.

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