What is the ‘Honeymoon Cycle of Abuse’?

Domestic Violence relationships tend to follow somewhat of a pattern, at least in the earlier stages. The relationship will go through cycles lasting maybe hours, days, months or even years.

Tension phase: The relationship may be strained as tension builds between the couple. The problems may be because of behaviors by one or the other of the couple, or they may build due to outside stressors such as financial problems, work problems, or problems with children or other family members. There may be verbal, emotional or mental abuse during this time. There may even be some minor physical abuse. There may be attempts made by the member who is typically abused to placate the other partner. Many partners who have gone through this have described it as walking on eggshells and hoping they won’t break. They will try to do almost anything to keep the other partner from getting upset. Yet, no matter how much they give in, or give up the explosion is almost inevitable.

Battery: The tension will continue to escalate until a battering incident occurs. Then a triggering incident will occur. Often the abuser will relate this to some behavior of the victim, but often the actual trigger may be a frustration from an outside source or due to some internal conflict of the abuser. In other words, the abuser may look for something to get angry over. Very occasionally, the victim may in feeling the buildup of tension, and knowing the incident is inevitable and knowing that after the battering period is coming and that the ‘honeymoon’ period will follow, the woman may actually instigate the battering period either conciously or unconciously.

The battering period is worse than in the tension phase, and can become quite serious, with a possiblity of severe injuries or death occurring. This is often where there will seemingly uncontrollable rage, and will continue until the abuser him/herself stops it. (In other words, they can control it.)

The ‘honeymoon phase: Often this is where the abuser may feel the victim is contrite enough, or they are fearful enough, that they will make what appears to be very sincere apologies, excuses, and/or promises that it won’t happen again, and sometimes even give special “treats”. Planning special family events, giving gifts, taking them out to a special dinner, and being extra nice may occur.  

Despite the promises, hours, days, weeks, months or even years later- it will happen again.  And incidents of violence tend to escalate with each occurance.


Reportedly on Christmas Eve 2005, Wendell Jerome Herman Rogers II, 33,  went to a Christmas party and came home late.

Then on Christmas morning he and his wife got into an argument that evidently escalated in front of their 2children. Allegedly the wife attempted to call for assistance, and Rogers tried to stop her.

Rogers was charged with family violence battery and obstructing and hindering a person making an emergency assistance call.

Rogers was in court on the charges recently. And the judge had words for him: “Basically you were hung over and didn’t want to be involved in some activities your wife planned,” “You acted up and ruined Christmas, so this year you’re going to make it up to them.” (emphasis mine).

The judge ordered a 12 month sentence, suspended until he completed an anger management program. A $1000 fine.

And he ordered Rogers to take his family to an expensive dinner at a restaurant for Christmas this year. He has until Jan. 5 to submit a reciept from the dinner to the court.

According to the defense attorney, Rogers agreed that he “misbehaved” and readily accepted the sentence. And the dinner for the family of four could cost Rogers up to $300.

msnbc.com                                                       wbstv.com

Let’s see. An excuse (hangover), avowal of wrong (he “misbehaved”, and special treat (expensive dinner). Is it just me or does this bear a strong resemblance to the “Honeymoon Cycle of Abuse”?

Often I am a fan of non-traditional methods of sentencing as long as the sentence is meant to teach or correct a wrong. And as long as the sentence fits the crime. So let’s take a look at the sentence.

A fine is certainly appropriate, as is anger management course. I am not really clear on the suspended sentence- if he completes the anger management course and takes his family out to dinner, does that mean he won’t serve any jail time for his crime? He doesn’t have a criminal history, but if the family has reconciled, then he certainly will be in close proximation to the same circumstances again. (Something like giving a drug user a suspended sentence and sending them to a drug house after they complete rehab).

And an expensive dinner is to “make up for” trauma inflicted on the wife, and the trauma on the children who witnessed it. The dinner is supposed to “make up for” a Christmas spent in tears.

And let’s look at the message he gives to domestic violence abusers. If you commit abuse, then you must pay for it by giving special treats to the family. For a first offense it is an expensive dinner, and wonder for the second offense- can they just add a box of candy, or would jewelry be more appropriate? Maybe for the 3 rd offense a family vacation might “make up for it”.

Now the man has been ordered to take his family out to dinner (hopefully the judge was not so insensitive as to order this on a couple who had not reconciled), but what message does that send to the victims? So you got knocked around a little- but look what you get for it? Wasn’t it worth it?

And by giving that sentence to Rogers, he was in effect sentencing the family also. What if a member of the family should decline to go to the dinner? Would they be in contempt of court? Or will the family force them to attend?

A Thank You goes out to Trisha for the tip on this one.

And MagZ is blogging on this one on Short Sighted  and Southern Sass.



  1. Trisha said,

    October 17, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    Excellent entry. While reading your entry it occurred to me that not only did this man get a slap on the wrist, it took almost 10 months for this case to be adjudicated. I wonder why it took this long. The way I understand the sentencing guidelines from the article he will still have to serve the time upon completion of his anger management classes. I will have to assume that he was just sentenced to anger management or has just begun classes. I think anger management lasts 90 days so that would make sense regarding making him take the family out for the Christmas dinner, submit the receipt to the court by late January and completion of anger management. He should have all conditions met by late January for the judge to then pat him on the head, tell him “good boy, now don’t misbehave again” and suspend his sentence. Most likely his wife is still with him and although the article states he has no past offenses most likely this is the first time his wife turned him into the police and not the first time for the domestic violence in this home. That charge of preventing someone from making an emergency phone call smacks of him yanking the phone cord out of the wall…ah the memories.

  2. Trisha said,

    October 17, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    oh…thanks for the h/t

  3. keb said,

    October 18, 2006 at 2:40 am

    I saw this incident on a different site (was it newsoftheweird.com ?)and had an odd taste in my mouth, a lurking unease … why would going out to dinner make up for anything? Now there will be a $300 debt to worry about… do we really think he won’t throw that up in her face, next time he’s hungover or short on beer money? In the other article it mentioned that he is quite contrite, and readily agreed to this plan. What about the wife, what did she think of it? How about, let’s use the $300 for emergency money and prepaid cab fare for mom and the kids to get out next time. Or for a cell phone for her to call for help next time he rips the phone out of the wall. A “Communi-Call” unit, like elderly people can wear, that calls 911 for you when you press a button … gee, I’m just bubbling with ideas for this one.

  4. October 18, 2006 at 2:49 am

    Excellent ideas (and points) Keb. How about making him transport and pay for the wife and kids to receive counseling to help them recover from the trauma they went through. I can think of a few more imaginative ones, but the ACLU would probably come out against them.I think maybe the judge was thinking of replacing a bad memory with a good memory, but the mind just doesn’t work that way. Personally I think the judge needs to attend a few domestic violence seminars….. or leave the bench.

  5. October 18, 2006 at 1:25 pm

    […] For Domestic Violence Month, Home Sweet Home has this article on the Honeymoon Cycle of Abuse. […]

  6. silverside said,

    October 18, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    From what I have heard, “anger management” classes are NOT appropriate in DV cases. Most of these guys do not have a anger management problem per se. Case in point: Most of them come across to neighbors and employers and perfectly fine. So they can control themselves when they perceive that they need to. What they do experience is an excessive need to control intimates through intimidation of various kinds and violence if need be. Anger management not only does not work, but often makes things worse, by giving essentially narcistic personalities the psychobabble language and theories that allow them to excuse and minimize their actions.

  7. Harding said,

    October 19, 2006 at 1:24 am

    Really excellent post Sweet. Truly.

    I’m wondering if you know of any specific cases where a woman, in response to abuse from her spouse, has murdered her children as either retalliation or to “protect” them? I’m asking because I’m trying hard to understand what happened in a case in Barrie, Ontario.

  8. keb said,

    October 19, 2006 at 2:41 am

    Medea is the classic Greek tragedy on this theme, but it was more a retaliation for rejection and abandonment. There was a movie (mid 1980s or earlier, black and white) about the real-life Medea case, which I am thinking may have been in Australia (?).
    Most of the cases I have seen where mothers have killed their children have been due to psychosis, sometimes classified as post-partum depression. Fortunately for me, I am only familiar through news items, no first-hand knowledge.
    I think I have heard several times of parents killing their children in wartime, to “protect” them from worse fates. In a long-protracted case of DV maybe the same could happen… But actually, I have some doubts. The DV victim loses self-confidence and the ability to take initiative. Murder, whether for retribution or protection, is certainly an act requiring initiative.

    As far as Anger Mgmt classes go – eh. It’s really about control. HSH traces through the stages in a recent post… if it was uncontrollable anger, how could there be the long courtship (with warmups of verbal and emotional abuse), the honeymoons, etc.

  9. October 19, 2006 at 3:46 am

    I had not heard of anything similiar, but I did find a site which kinda explains it. It is a study done in Cleveland, Ohio. It is called altrusic familicide, where the parent kills the child or children believing they are ‘protecting’ them from some other worse fate- and that could be real or imagined. The parent may or may not be psychotic. So yeah it is possible I guess.  http://www.jaapl.org/cgi/content/full/33/4/496
    The primary advantage of anger management classes is they do teach other outlets for relieving anger and frustration and ways to control those. No they don’t deal with control issues.
    And a narrcisist will use anything to turn it into a way to justify what they do. Even things they read in a newspaper, heard on a bus, in anger management classes, or things a judge or law enforcement personnel may have said to him.
    Does anyone know of good source for counseling or classes for dv abusers? I have been looking for one to link to.

  10. silverside said,

    October 19, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    The most reputable person who has dealt with male dv offenders is Lundy Bancroft (he has a website). I heard him speak last spring, and he is truly excellent. He really understands the issues.

  11. jennifer widener said,

    April 15, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    u know everyone is against abuse of all sort. i pressed charges almost 4 yrs ago on my ex husband in wagoner county and they havent done a darn thing .everyone is so against it then why is there not being anything done !!!!!!

  12. Cialis said,

    March 6, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    t8Jgtm Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!

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