Abuse can be hard to understand and recognize, especially when you’re not familiar with the cycle of abuse and how it works. However, knowing this information could potentially save you or someone else’s life! 

If you’re struggling with abuse and mental health problems, then keep reading to learn more about this serious topic. 

Cycle of Abuse

This four-part cycle helps distinguish certain behaviors and patterns that abusive partners tend to have. By knowing these patterns of abuse, you can better protect yourself in future and current relationships. 

The four-part cycle starts with tension building, then an incident where abuse or violence takes place. After that, reconciliation is made, followed by a calm state. This tragic cycle repeats itself over and over again until the victim becomes worn down.

1. Tension Building

Tension building can be brought on by anything. Some of the triggers for an abusive partner are fatigue, overworking, being hungry, and other family issues.

The abusive partner will then begin to show signs of anger, fear, and feeling unempowered in the relationship. The tension that builds up as a result of these feelings can weigh heavily on you.

You might try to find a peaceful resolution. However, there may not be a solution until the abusive partner feels in control again.

Because of this, you might start feeling anxious and even scared. It is considered emotional abuse. Often, abusive partners use this tactic to inflict pain on others. 

2. Incidents of Abuse or Violence

Once the abuser has reached the breaking point, they will externalize these feelings. Abusers will use physical and verbal tactics to gain back control.

For example, they won’t allow you to wear certain clothes, or they’ll make you cut off communication with family and friends. Sometimes these tactics turn into sexual and physical aggressions. 

It is the most dangerous stage of the cycle. In fact, a recent report stated that six women die every hour as a result of domestic violence.

3. Reconciliation 

This stage in an abusive relationship can be very confusing. Often, the victim thinks that the abuse has stopped because the abuser has calmed down.

The abuser will start to show the victim their preferred love language like gift-giving or physical touch. Unfortunately, this “honeymoon” stage only lasts for a little bit.  

Often, those in a normal relationship don’t understand why the victim “doesn’t just leave.” For starters, the victim might not be physically or financially able to leave the relationship. 

The abuser might also hurt them for trying.

Most importantly, mental abuse causes a shift in a person’s brain chemistry. During the “honeymoon” stage, the victim’s brain releases oxytocin and dopamine.

Often, the victim is longing for this gratification, but the abusive partner will withhold affection to gain control. This causes the victim to stay and chase this feeling of “happiness.”

4. Calm State

During the calm state, the abuser will try and justify their abuse by apologizing. However, the apology is never sincere. It is really just a tactic to make the victim think the abuse won’t happen again.

The abuser will also blame their actions on others or sometimes the victim.

Here are some examples:

  • “I’m sorry I yelled at you, but you made me mad.”
  • “Sorry for snapping you earlier; it’s just my job has been stressing me out.”
  • “The only reason I hit you was because you were provoking me.”
  • “I didn’t even hit you that hard; you should get over it.”

After their apology, the abuser will convince the victim that it won’t happen again. They might try to manipulate you by making the situation seem smaller.

You might start doubting yourself and think that you were dramatic. And slowly, you start believing that your partner will change. 

How Does Abuse Affect Mental Health?

This cycle of abuse can leave someone with permanent damage. Many times battered women and men show symptoms of PTSD.

This mental disorder can bring on intense feelings of anxiety and paranoia, even if the victim has left the relationship. Over time, being in an abusive relationship can diminish someone’s self-worth and confidence.

It happens because the abuser is constantly attacking them and making them feel less than them. The abuser will use this tactic to wear down an individual not to seek happiness outside of the relationship.

Battered women and men are also likely to develop depression and suicidal ideations. Overall, being in an abusive relationship can deteriorate someone’s mental health. That’s why it’s essential to get help immediately!

Gaslighting and Manipulation 

Gaslighting and manipulation go hand in hand with the four stages of abuse. For starters, gaslighting is a form of lying by creating a false reality. 

For example, if a person finds their spouse cheating on them and the abuser outright denies the accusations, this is considered gaslighting. 

This tactic makes the victim’s reality and perception unclear. Often, the victim will feel “crazy,” but just because they don’t know what’s real and fake anymore. 

Manipulation is similar to gaslighting. For example, an abuser will try and control a situation by providing false information or showing empathy. Nevertheless, the abuser is doing this to establish control over a person.

Red Flags to Look Out For

All of the abuse mentioned doesn’t necessarily begin at the start of a relationship. Sometimes abusers will withhold these strong emotions and actions until they feel secure. 

However, there are minor signs that you should look out for during the start of a relationship. For example, love bombing is when a partner shows a lot of attention and affection during the first few weeks of being together.

It may seem normal at first, but this will progress at an unusual pace. The abuser might tell you they love you and that they want you to meet their family.

The problem with love bombing is that when the abuser has “locked” you down, they begin to withhold love. Love bombing eventually turns into a cycle of abuse.

Living Your Truth 

Abusive relationships can leave you feeling hopeless. But knowing the cycle of abuse can give you back some power! If you or a loved one is struggling with an abusive relationship, get help immediately!

If you have any more questions, contact us today to receive more information on our different services!

OCD is one of the most common mental disorders seen in the United States. OCD is a chronic and long-lasting disorder that triggers a person’s highly obsessive and recurring thoughts and behaviors. 

OCD is quite common between men and women. As per the reports, it affects nearly 2.2 million adults; that make up for 1 % of the US population. 

As we can see, the commonality of the disorder, not even the celebrities are spared from it. Famous personalities in different fields suffer from OCD.

So, let us look at some of the celebrities who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:

David Beckham

One of the most excellent soccer stars David Beckham has recently in an interview opened up about his fight with OCD.

He said, “I’ve got this obsessive-compulsive disorder where I have to have everything in a straight line, or everything has to be in pairs,” 

Beckham has confessed about the hard time he is facing to urge restraint to these obsessive impulses. 

He has also admitted his addiction to the pain inflicted by tattooing. 

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio gave one of his finest performances in the film Aviator, where he portrays the Hollywood Moghul Howard Hughes. 

Howard Hughes had intense OCD for cleanliness and order. Just like his character, even DiCaprio has OCD, although not as fierce as Howard’s.

He gets obsessive impulses of walking through doors a lot of times. Interestingly, he also gets intensely obsessive urge to step on chewing gum stains.

Celebrities with OCD

Justin Timberlake

Pop icon Justin Timberlake recently admitted on David Letterman’s show about his on-going struggle with OCD.

He spoke about how severely it is disturbing various facets of his life. On top of this, he also has Attention Deficit Disorder, which makes it difficult to focus on. 

He said in an interview recently, “I have OCD mixed with ADD, You try living with that. It’s complicated.”

It is clear to see how difficult it is for him to carry on daily tasks.

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra was one of the most influential music icons in the 60s. Although there is no clear account of him talking about his OCD, his wife has recently opened about some of the intimate parts of his life. 

In her memoir Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank, she confessed about Frank struggling with intense OCD.

He was a cleanliness freak. Earlier, he was obsessed with keeping his hands clean. And this obsession with cleanliness grew steadily and reached its peak during the latter half of his career. 

He would take more than ten showers a day to keep clean. People associated with him say that he would always smell amazing. 

Howard Hughes 

Howard Hughes is one of the most celebrated personalities in Hollywood. He was a successful businessman, a filmmaker, and making advancements in the aviation industry. This tells us what an extraordinary genius he was. 

 As it is said that all genius comes along with some eccentricity, Howard Hughes had numerous idiosyncrasies. Most of them associated with cleanliness and order. 

Howard Hughes was always at the center of news during his active period. One such long period was when he disappeared entirely and hid inside his projection room, re-watching his films. 

He had spent nearly four months in his movie room and surrounded himself with Kleenex boxes that were stacked continuously and re-assorted. 

He also had bottles of milk lined up across a wall and stored his urine in it. A famous personality that he was there is a brilliant film by Martin Scorsese that chronicles his complexities.

OCD Treatment in San Diego

Howard Stern

An icon of radio broadcasting, Howard Stern admitted about his OCD on David Letterman show on Netflix in 2018.

Stern also said that for a significant part of his life, he failed to acknowledge and address his anxiety. Later he confessed that before going to work, he would spend hours in his bathroom just touching things. 

Howard Stern shared about his life on the show, talking about his struggle with himself. However, today he is in a much position thanks to psychotherapy.

He told Letterman, “I’ve come to understand that this behavior is trying to control a world that is out of control.”

Howie Mandel

Howie Mandel has had a long career in Hollywood. He is a comedian, hosted a reality show called “Deal or no deal,” and been a judge on America’s Got Talent. 

He has been very open about his struggle with OCD, Depression, and anxiety. He even has a book published called “Here’s the deal: Don’t Touch Me.” The title is about his intense obsession with cleanliness. 

He was also diagnosed with ADD that made it difficult for him to focus on his professional life. It was only with the help of psychotherapy, meditation, and comedy that he got out of the hold of these illnesses.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry has been very vocal recently about her struggles with her obsessive tendencies towards cleanliness and order.

She admittedly said in an interview that she follows “crazy cleaning rituals in her house.” On a Z100 Radio show, she told the host, “I’m so OCD, I always want to put things in alphabetical order. I’m also a little Howard Hughes about germs.”

She also has germophobe tendencies that make it very difficult for her to carry on with her routine life. 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a significant anxiety disorder that is chronic and relatively common in the United States. 

OCD is characterized by many different symptoms, though it mainly presents itself through uncontrollable and intrusive thoughts, known as “obsessions,” followed by repetitive behaviors, or “compulsions”.

Although OCD is a severe mental illness to have, other mental illnesses also often occur with it, such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and depression. 

Unfortunately, a dual-diagnosis has the potential to make treatment a bit more severe and complicated sometimes. Having a thorough understanding of comorbid disorders that often occur alongside an OCD diagnosis, however, can contribute to a more clear course of treatment and better recovery odds. 

Comorbidity in mental health treatment is when someone exhibits more than one mental illness at once. For example, anxiety and depression are often jointly diagnosed. Usually, each of these illnesses can either lead to other disorders’ development or feed each other simultaneously. Therefore, all medical and psychological professionals prefer to treat all comorbid diseases at the same time.

Understanding OCD

The term “OCD” frequently occurs in mainstream conversations nowadays. Many people claim they have the Disorder simply because they have “Type A” personalities and are quite organized. However, this is a dangerous way to speak of such a mental illness, considering Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder involves its sufferer experiencing more distress and destruction than someone who prefers to double-check their work or keep a calendar may experience.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental disorder that lies within the category of anxiety disorders. 

Those with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder exhibit certain common traits like perfectionism and sometimes even superstitiousness. 

Obsessions involve intrusive thoughts, images, and urges that cause significant distress to the individual experiencing them. When it comes down to it, obsessions are thought to stem from some subconscious fears or even a need for control. Some obsessions may include:

  • Fear of germs and contamination
  • Frightening thoughts that occur about harming one’s self or other people
  • A need for symmetry
  • Intrusive, disturbing sexual thoughts
  • Extreme religious beliefs
  • Hoarding

Compulsions are actions, behaviors, and habits that are the direct responses to the fears created by intrusive thoughts and obsessions. 

Some compulsions include:

  • “Checking” behavior, such as someone being consistently late to work from checking whether their door is locked an inappropriate number of times
  • Excessive cleaning or hand washing
  • Praying, or repeating certain words over and over again until one feels calmer
  • Replaying of scenarios in one’s head repetitively
  • Rumination
  • Reassurance-seeking

In general, someone with OCD is unable to control their obsessions and compulsions to the point of extreme distress and detriment. It is at this point that someone may seek help.

Misconceptions About OCD

Although Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can involve an extreme fear of germs and subsequent obsessive hand washing in many cases, not all obsessions and compulsions are the “common” ones discussed frequently. Someone doesn’t need to exhibit stereotypical OCD traits to have OCD. 

Some other types of OCD and OCD-related mental illnesses exist, such as Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD). Although not in the DSM-5 (the manual that many psychological professionals use to diagnose mental disorders) another subtype of “Pure O” exists. Pure O is defined as when someone experiences obsessions without acting on them or developing external compulsions.

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OCD and Panic Disorder

Considering OCD is included in the category of anxiety disorders, other anxieties have an enormous potential to occur alongside it. One anxiety disorder is Panic Disorder, where someone experiences panic attacks or subconsciously interprets an unnecessary amount of danger towards real or imagined stimuli. 

Considering many OCD sufferers’ compulsions develop from the fear of their obsessions, it’s not uncommon for them to also experience panic attacks as a result of their thoughts. 

OCD And Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder shares many common symptoms with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, such as constant “checking” behavior. 

BDD is characterized by the unhealthy preoccupation that some people have about their looks – and we’re not just talking about vanity. Those with BDD often hone in on certain flaws they see on their bodies, whether that’s a deformed body part or an imperfect curve. san diego ocd treatment centerMany people with Body Dysmorphia also tend to be intently focused on continually improving their appearance, whether through diets or surgery, as well as asking for reassurance about their looks. Often people with this Disorder will also avoid situations that may reveal their perceived flaws, such as going to parties or other social gatherings. 

Although Body Dysmorphia can contribute to eating disorders, the two illnesses are not exactly the same.

OCD And Depression

OCD and Major Depressive Disorder are known to exist comorbidly. No matter which mental illness develops first, the two can feed incessantly off of one another. Obsessive-compulsive Disorder can cause someone to feel stuck, hopeless, and suffer from low self-esteem – all of which are symptoms of depression.

san diego mental health treatment center for ocd

Not only this, but depressive disorders are speculated to occur due to an imbalance of brain chemicals like Serotonin- the very same Serotonin that many believe is to blame for OCD. 

Other comorbid illnesses can exist with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder than what was mentioned in this article. Professional treatment is needed for someone to recover from any mental illness. However, treatment isn’t the only answer. Those who suffer from OCD and other cognitive diseases must work to better themselves as well, exhibit bravery and resilience, and have a strong willingness to grow.

If you or a friend or family member are suffering from OCD, Contact Solara Mental Health to get treatment today.