Abuse never looks quite the same. There’s the stuff you see on television, the plot lines that make it onto movie screens and end up seeming like a bastardization of what abuse really looks like. It’s more than a cinematic device.
And abuse doesn’t just stop when the abuse stops. It lingers. It never fully leaves.
Of course, it manifests differently for every woman. Some bury the experience down deep and refuse to let it back out. This is how they survive. There’s a numbing that’s done to keep going. They have to keep going. So, they push it as far down as it will go. They push it to the point of pretending it never happened.
For others, it’s impossible to do that. They walk through life as if it were a battlefield, dodging triggers with every step. Or, trying to. Trying so hard to. Trying so, so hard to just make it out alive.
When you love a woman who has been in an abusive relationship, one thing is always the same: you’ve met a fighter.
You’ve met a woman of undeniable strength. And it doesn’t matter if she stayed. And maybe she blames herself. Maybe she wakes up with a gnawing guilt that, somehow, she must have brought this upon herself.
You know none of that is true. You know you’ve fallen in love with a damn warrior.
When you love a woman who has been in an abusive relationship, there will be nights when your hands feel like the enemy. And I know that’s not fair. But neither was her abuse. None of this was fair. Fairness went out the window a long time ago.
She wants to trust in you. She wants to forget anyone ever made her question love as something safe and comforting. If she could, she’d erase everything before you. She’d start anew.
Give her time. Do not take things personally when she seems to pull away. Remember she is a warrior and warriors survive because they don’t trust everything. It is earned. It is learned.
But the heart is resilient. The mind is one powerful entity.
She is a powerhouse, even if she doesn’t believe it. You know it. You see it. Remind her. But do not force her. Tell her what you see. Be genuine. Be someone she can rely on when things get hard.
When you love a woman who has been in an abusive relationship, it is not always an easy path. It is often covered with thorns and needles, and you won’t always know if you can walk through it. But if she’s trying to push through all of that to be with you, can’t you meet her halfway?
Can’t you weather the storm a bit, too?