In Phase Two, the tensions begin to build. Often, some outside stressor begins to cause strife in the relationship. Maybe they’re having trouble at work, money is tight, or someone is dealing with physical health issues. An obvious tension begins to linger in the room when they’re together. The abusive partner begins to lash out in one way or another. Some use belittling words. Some use physical or sexual violence. Some use isolation from social support.
Some use controlling finances or electronic use. These are just some of the possibilities. The victim may find themselves becoming anxious and hypervigilant at the sight of their partner. They may try to appease and placate their abuser in the hope of not setting off their anger. At times, they may feel frightened, helpless, and numb. They may begin to fear for their safety. The abuser likely makes excuses for their behavior and blames the victim for bringing this treatment on themselves. This phase is often the most fluid and changing of the phases.