What is violence?
The cycle of violence
Violence may occur in situations when a person is having difficulty managing their emotions and fears losing control. The person then uses violence to try and regain control. This is often because the person doesn't know how else to cope with their frustrations. 

Violence is an inappropriate and ineffective means of dealing with emotions and difficult situations. Did you know that violence never resolves the source of conflict or frustration? It also brings no relief and only tends to worsen conflicts. This is why the cycle of violence may begin without the aggressor even realizing it. The violence will continue until the aggressor learns new ways to manage their emotions and frustrations. 

The stages of the cycle of violence:

1. Tension
For various reasons, tensions and frustrations can mount in people who have difficulty managing their emotions. This can cause an aggressor to make threats or become angry. The person subjected to the violence becomes concerned, scared and tries to calm down the aggressor. 

2. Crisis
Sometimes it only takes one straw to break the camel's back. When poorly managed emotions and frustrations build up it can lead to a blow-up, resulting in various forms of violence (e.g. verbal, physical, psychological, economical or sexual abuse). The victim is often shaken, and feels sad and belittled.

3. Justification
Something serious has just happened. It's a time of excuses, explanations and arguments. The aggressor tries to justify their actions by accusing others, minimizing their behaviour or trying to explain it. The person who was subjected to the violence tries to understand the justifications and often feels guilty and responsible for the aggressor's violent behaviour. In reality, there is no excuse for violence. The aggressor is solely responsible for their violent behaviour. 

4. Honeymoon period
A time of promises, reconciliations, apologies and hope. The aggressor promises it will never happen again.

Once, twice, three times. Often the cycle of violence repeats itself and, with time, the phases occur in closer succession and more intensely. If the aggressor believes violence helps them achieve their goals (e.g. to dominate or control someone else), they may decide to resort to it again. It is then that the cycle of violence may begin.

However, a person with violent behaviour may not necessarily enter a repetitive cycle of violence. Many accept help and learn strategies to better manage their frustrations and anger, thus putting an end to the cycle of violence. 

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