About TEAR:
Our Mission
Why Teens Need Us
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Dating Abuse:
Understanding Dating Abuse
Who Is At Risk

Warning Signs:
Am I at Risk?
Is My Friend a Victim?
Is My Teen in Danger?

Abuse, Power, and Control:
The Power & Control Wheel
The Cycle of Abuse

Breaking Free:
Escaping Bad Relationships
Getting Yourself Out
Assisting a Friend
Helping Your Teen

Get Help:
Additional Resources


The Cycle of Abuse is a visual of a continual pattern that most abusive relationships follow

1) The cycle starts with the green stage, which is exemplified as being a state when both partners are happy to be in a relationship, at this point the relationship is loving and enjoyable.

2) The next stage is the yellow stage in which tension is building within the relationship. The couple may be getting into small arguments, and the abuser may become frustrated with their partner. The victim does their best to reason with the abuser, calm the abuser, and stays away from their friends and family to try and work on the relationship.  This is the same stage where the abuser is nitpicking at the victim.  They are yelling, screaming, threatening and blames everything on the victim.  This is also the period where the abuser may act sullen and withdrawal affection from the victim. This phase lasts the longest it could last from days, to weeks, months, or even years.

3) The last stage is the red stage. This stage is usually the shortest stage and the most harmful. This stage is based on one specific incident that leads to an explosion of anger. The abuser may sexually, physically, psychologically or verbally harm their partner.  Some abusers may use a weapon against the victim, pull their hair, and publicly humiliate the victim.  This is the time when the victim may call the police, fight back and leave the relationship.

4) The abuser quickly defaults into the green stage again to make up for their behavior. This is when the abuser will bring flowers, declare their love for the victim, say they are sorry, and may even enter counseling.  During this time the abuser will blame outside forces for the abuse, say they are stressed and makes empty promises that things will change.  The victim at this time will end all legal procedures against the abuser, go back to the relationship, agrees to work things out and feels hopeful that things will change. 


 Once the cycle is in place it becomes difficult to break. Visually, the cycle shows the different stages and the roles that the abuser and victim take in each stage; it also visualizes the length of time of each stage. The cycle of abuse is based around denial, because when the both parties deny the abuse, there is no way to stop the pattern.



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