What are the Predictable Patterns of Abuse?

Recognizing patterns of abuse – physical, emotional, or otherwise – is paramount in leaving an abusive situation. Awareness of such patterns allows the abused person to identify abusive behavior and, in some cases, take appropriate legal action.

It’s vital to understand that abusive behaviors follow specific, predictable patterns. Recognizing these patterns is the first step in empowering abused people to get help. You might have legal recourse if you or someone you love is being abused. Remember, you are not alone. This article explains some of the patterns of abuse and how a person in an abusive situation could get help from an attorney. Keep reading to learn more, or contact Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian today for a confidential consultation with a compassionate attorney who can review your situation and explain your rights.

Cycle of Abuse

Abuse often occurs in cycles, including tension building, the abusive incident, reconciliation, and calm. During the tension-building phase, the victim may feel the need to appease the abuser, while the abuser may exhibit passive-aggressive behavior. The abusive incident then occurs, followed by a reconciliation phase where the abuser might apologize and promise change. A calm period often follows, but the cycle repeats itself without intervention.


Abusers frequently use gaslighting, a manipulative tactic, to make their victims question their own reality or sanity. For instance, an abuser might insist that an event didn’t happen or claim that the victim is overreacting or imagining things. Over time, this can cause a victim to doubt their perceptions and feelings and make them think they are the problem rather than the abuser.


Isolation is another typical pattern of abuse. Abusers may attempt to control their victims by distancing them from friends, family, or outside support. The victim’s growing dependence on the abuser and feeling alone makes it challenging to seek help. Furthermore, they may feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit to friends or family that they are being abused.

Unpredictable Behavior

While the overall cycle of abuse is predictable, the abuser’s specific behaviors often aren’t. They may be kind one moment and violent the next, keeping the victim in constant confusion and fear. Even small things can cause an abuser to become suddenly and violently angry, leading the victim to feel like they must “walk on eggshells” to avoid upsetting the abuser. A person being abused might avoid discussing their own feelings out of fear that the discussion will enrage the abuser.

Verbal and Emotional Abuse

Verbal and emotional abuse, though less visible than physical abuse, are just as harmful. Some examples of verbal and emotional abuse may include name-calling, belittling, humiliation, and constant criticism. Over time, this can significantly impact the victim’s self-esteem and mental health. Manipulation, giving victims “silent treatment,” or harassment are also forms of emotional abuse.

Identifying These Patterns of Abuse: Your First Step Toward Freedom

Recognizing these patterns is the first step to breaking free from an abusive situation. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these, know it’s not your fault; professionals are ready to assist you. You can get help leaving an abusive situation and preventing your abuser from contacting you. If you have children, getting away from an abusive situation and seeking safety for yourself and your family is imperative.

How Can a Law Firm Help?

A competent law firm can provide guidance and support to victims of abuse. Legal professionals can help you understand your rights and the legal avenues available. They can assist in acquiring protective orders, navigating divorce proceedings, securing child custody, and taking other legal actions that might be necessary to safeguard your welfare and your future.

Also, a law firm can be an essential liaison between you and various support services, like counselors and domestic violence support groups. These collaborations can aid you in reclaiming your life and building a future free of abuse.

Contact Our Attorneys in Texas Today

Remember, everyone deserves respect, safety, and freedom from fear. Understanding that you’re not alone and help is available is essential. At Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian, we provide personal, compassionate service to every client. We will work directly with you to understand your unique situation and determine your case’s best course of action. Our dedicated team of lawyers can help protect your safety, freedom, and livelihood. Call us at (972) 369-0577 or contact us online for a confidential consultation. Let our experienced team guide you toward a safer tomorrow.

Written by: Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian Last Updated : August 22, 2023