You found her. She’s hypnotizing. Everything you always wanted. She is kind, loving… and so heartbreakingly fragile. Loving her scares you. She’s not like other girls you’ve loved before. She’s been through something. She’s a walking contradiction; Sometimes strong, but sometimes weak. She’s cool like the surface of a pond, but sometimes anger comes like a storm over her horizon with white hot lightning tears indicating her inner turmoil.
She may confess that her last relationship was tough, but she may have a hard time explaining why. She doesn’t know how to explain the depth of the trauma she has experienced, yet you can see it in her haunted eyes. There’s so much in her soul. She has so much to say, but can never put it into words.
She wants to love again, but she’s terrified.
She wants to love with an open heart and no reservations. She wants to jump out of the plane and feel the exhilaration of falling in love, but she needs to know her parachute will open. She needs to know you’ll bring her safely back down to the ground after the rush. What she needs most, right now, is a protector, but at the same time she’s afraid. The last time someone offered to protect her, he hurt her immeasurably. Imagine the horror of following someone’s lead in jumping out of the plane…only to find you are pulling your ripcord and nothing breaks your fall?
Be patient. Time will heal all her wounds. Stay by her side until the fear subsides.
She doesn’t want to believe all men are the same
She thinks you are amazing. But she has seen where this leads time and again. Girl friends assure her all men are the same. She will be hurt again. It’s in books, movies, everywhere – “All men are dogs”. She remembers the horrors of infidelities, the crimes of the heart, and believes the profile is true. In a hopeless state, she believes all men are destined to hurt her. When someone lies about their every move for a period of years and has numerous inconsistencies with the truth, it rattles capacity to trust to the very core.
Be consistent. Prove the theory is wrong. Admire and emulate good men. Admire the type of men you wish to be. Tell her what you admire about them and why you don’t want to pattern yourself after all the jerks she (and her friends) have known before. Be where you say you are going to be, with who you are say you are going to be with, doing what you say you are going to be doing.
Be a man of your word and possess integrity or get out of her life. In protecting her heart, it’s really that simple. Be honest or be gone.
She needs to know you. REALLY know you. So she can feel safe.
For too long, she was locked in the dark. She gave freely of herself. She gave everything she had to give, longing for reciprocation. Instead, she received deceit, lies, anger, and abuse. Words have so much power – The power to break; The power to heal.
Be open. Nothing will soothe the savagery of a woman fraught with fear like calm, open consistent communication. Talk with her. Give her what she never had before – A crying shoulder, encouragement, honesty, an environment in which the both of you can communicate openly and without fear. You must be open with her because he wasn’t. She needs to know the truth of you because he surrounded himself with lies. She will know it’s real when she finally knows someone’s soul. Let her know yours.
She wants you to believe her.
Good people are objective. They are slow to believe bad things they hear about others.
When speaking about the ending of a relationship, we are often cautioned, “There is HIS side, HER side…and the TRUTH, which usually lies between the two.” However, in an abusive relationship, there IS a wrong party. The most damaging thing you can do is doubt her. You are going to hear a lot about her ex. Some of it may sound completely crazy. As a good person, you will be in shock that a human would do such things to another human being. Before you doubt this woman, watch your nightly news. There are crazy people in this world and they do crazy things. It’s not just on TV.
The closer the two of you get, the more you will hear about him and this may be conflicting for you. Why is it that the more you love her to help ease her mind and make her forget him…The more she cries and talks about how he hurt her?
It’s because she needs to in order to heal. You are peeling back layers of the onion. She is realizing the way she lived wasn’t right. She is realizing you are treating her the way she deserved to be treated all along. With every consistent step she takes beside you, she realizes it really was abuse. A woman who has been truly abused will often try to avoid that word or think that other women had it worse than her. “Abuse” to many is equal to being beaten or physically assaulted. However, domestic abuse of psychological nature can be on par and sometimes even worse than physical abuse.
Be trusting. You need to believe her. Hearing about her ex’s faults and worst qualities is not comfortable. There is a notorious stigma that talking about your exes is bad or means you’re not over them, but with abuse – It’s crucial that she talk and reason out what just happened to her. It is trauma. You would not tell a 9/11 survivor to “get over it”. When she breaks down and tells you something, confirm her fears and tell her, “That is abusive. I would never do that to you.” She needs confirmation and then assurance that the nightmare is over…and time to process it.
She needs encouragement.
Women who come from abusive relationships often neglect themselves, their hopes and dreams to be whatever their abusive partner demands they be. Chances are, somewhere down deep inside, she had dreams too. She had a person she always wanted to be and had to put it on hold. This happens in normal, non-abusive relationships, too. But in an abuse situation, she was not only discouraged from pursuing her own greatness. She was probably also told she was not good at things. She was told she was a failure. She was laughed at and ridiculed. Abusers take the very things you hold dear and turn them against you. Yes, there are people who are really that evil.
Be encouraging. Notice things she is good at doing. Compliment her. Ask her if she ever thought about doing things professionally. Notice what makes her eyes light up. Notice what she’s happy doing. Help her realize her own path again. Remind her of all her dreams and help get her the things she needs to begin pursuing her dreams again. Encourage her to be the person she was meant to be before another person sabotaged her life.
She needs gifts to be given for no reason whatsoever.
“Why don’t abused women just leave? If someone is so bad, why not walk away?” Abusers are powerful in their toxicity. They know just how to reel their target in. When they know you are about to leave, they give you everything you always wanted. They are kind, loving, generous and will pull stunts straight out of ‘The Bachelor’ to keep a woman under their spell. It’s very hard to walk away. The man who never brought you flowers suddenly shows up with dozens of roses. They buy you what they know you’ve always wanted. The gifts come pouring in. They assault your center of guilt. If someone bought you what you always wanted – It’s hard, if not impossible to turn down in that mental state. It also fools everyone around you.
“How can you say he never loved you? He filled your house with roses!”
“How can you say he didn’t support your dreams? He bought you a guitar!”
An abuser will treat a woman horribly and then reward her like a queen. Gifts become her idea of love. It becomes all she has to look forward to. Gifts mean LOVE. It’s a hard association to break. With an abuser, it also means, “I did something wrong. You caught me. But I LOVE you.”
Be sincere. The happiest day of her life will come when you give her a big gift and she realizes you did no wrong and the gift you gave came completely from the heart because you truly love her. When realization hits, look for the happy tears when she realizes even gifts can be given without expectations or the trade-off of an abuser’s wrongdoing, but out of pure thankfulness, love and honesty.
She’s come so far already
In leaving, she’s made a huge accomplishment. Only someone who faced abuse firsthand might realize what a huge accomplishment this is. She had to finally reach a point where all false promises, gifts, pressures of society and family to stay, glares of the judgmental, fears of violence, etc. were no longer enough to hold her down and freedom meant leaving; The chance to satisfy her very soul. She made a firm decision. She wanted happiness in life before she was gone from this earth. She decided life was too short to live in such fear, pain and misery and realized it would be better to be alone than be lied to, cheated on, discarded and made to feel like a burden.
Be proud of her. This woman is a survivor. She wants you to realize although she suffered and is stull suffering the after-effects, that she is nobody’s victim. She is a phoenix rising from the ashes. She doesn’t want to be viewed as a battered woman Public Service Announcement crouched in a corner crying. She wants you to view her as a warrior and realize that the tears she cries are not crocodile tears or tears of self pity. She wants you to realize how strong she is and not treat her like a victim, even though she still cries at night sometimes. She wants you to realize how far she’s come. She wants you to know that even the strong cry. She doesn’t want you to view her as weak. She wishes you could see a movie of what she has been through. She simply wants your respect.
She needs you to do your homework.
Loving an abused woman comes with homework. This isn’t the young love of your twenties fraught with petty jealousies. Unfortunately, it’s a love that comes with some baggage so she needs you to know what you’re getting into. Abuse makes women into researchers. Just like you, they may be confounded with the question, “WHY would someone DO such a thing to someone?” Realize she has been told the problem has been her all along. Then something happened to open her eyes. She is learning daily about why abusers do what they do. She will be fascinated. The knowledge that she had such a low opinion of herself beaten into her mind by someone else will be angering. She’s not crazy. She’s not hellbent on vengeance. She just finally understands.
Be studious. While she is doing her own research, she needs you to do your own about her. Like you are doing now. She needs you to understand, psychologically, just why she may be the way she is right now and accept these quirks. Some part of her still fears she brought this all on herself or, scarier yet, that he has made her a clone of himself.
She needs you to know she will make loving her worth it.
Despite what a pain in the ass she is right now…She promises, loving her will be the best thing you’ve ever done. Because she’s been in the dark, she will appreciate the light ten times more. Because she suffered in a cave of despair, the sunlight on her skin will feel a thousand times more glorious. You may think you are just an average guy and nothing special, but compared to the hell she endured, you are the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen or experienced. If you’ve ever wanted to be loved for your soul, she is the one who is capable of doing it. If you’ve never been the one to have anyone completely enraptured by you, she will be the one who lets you finally experience the full impact of ravenous love. Women who have faced abuse, rejoice in love on a scale unmatched. They have wandered through the desert, found an oasis and plan on never leaving because they know how big that desert is and how rare a genuine person is.
Be joyful. There are a lot of women out there who would not appreciate all that you are and take you for granted. Only the woman who has been through hell can appreciate heaven. And she will treat you with all the respect you deserve for your consistent, honest, genuine love.
She needs you.
Even though it goes against all sensibility after having gone through an abusive relationship and having had “co-dependent” slapped on her. She is force fed that she needs no man. This is true. She can heal on her own and be just fine, but being with you is the next big step. You can only know you are completely healed when you can love another person with all your heart and soul without fear again. It’s another level of healing and she is putting her fragile heart out there on the line again…Because something tells her maybe you are the real deal. Maybe this time she can rest.
Be careful with her heart. If you take anything away from this article. Take this: Be the man she needs. This is no ordinary woman. This is a woman who stood in the fire and didn’t back down. This is a woman with a scarred heart doing her best to keep her belief in love alive. She is a naked soul who now knows looks, money, status, or any amount of lies built around someone is not who they are. If you are willing to help her fight through her storm, there are calmer waters ahead on a sea where the water blends with the sky horizon where a beautiful peace exists for you both.