Aurora Recovery Centre

Not many people understand the trauma caused by psychological abuse in relationships. Victims often go unnoticed because they do not bear physical scars.

Not addressing the trauma of the abuse, mixed with not being believed, can worsen the mental and emotional health of the victim as well.

relationship violence

Along with the issues of the abuse, there is also still a lack of awareness and education for people to identify when the abuse is happening. In short, a relationship with a narcissistic abuser is often compared to a roller coaster with immense highs and lows.


The build-up consists of some stress that begins this part of the cycle. The abuser’s stress leaves them feeling powerless, which makes them shift the balance of the relationships towards increasing levels of control, gas-lighting, false accusations, toxic arguments, isolation, and violence. The build-up degrades the victim causing them to isolate themselves from their friends and family.

Act Out

After the victim is swept off their feet, receives comments on how happy they are, the love and happiness are replaced. The build-up leads the abuser to replace their caring, attentive, and loving behavior with severe verbal abuse, violent physical or sexual attacks.


In this phase, the abuser uses defense mechanisms such as blaming others or minimizing violence. These defense mechanisms turn blame turn blame away from the abuser, which makes them feel better. During this phase, the abuser tends to interpret how things really are and the abused partner begins to believe the rational.

Pretend Normal

Just as the name of the phase suggests, this cycle is when both partners try to make the relationship continue in a normal way. They pretend that everything is fine and normal. But if they don’t address their issues, the cycle continues.

It’s rare that an abuser will leave the victim alone after the stage of discard. Often, they give false impressions of wanting to repair the relationship to continue to control the victim.

The abuser will also threaten the victim if a new partner is in the picture. This may include harassment, stalking and or violence.  

Over the cycles, the victim’s sense of reality will slip away. If you notice any of these patterns with someone you know, reach out to them as they may isolate themselves from their family and loved ones.

If you feel you need help due to abuse, call our 24/7 helpline.

If you are in need of counseling, learn about our therapy programs.


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