What It Means To Love Someone Who’s Been Abused

Franca Gimenez
Franca Gimenez

The trouble with abuse is, it makes you a survivalist. It makes you someone who constantly apologises for your existence, who is afraid to step out of line in any way, who is socially awkward but if need be, you know exactly what to do to escape, get out, zone out or find a way out of a situation. Because that’s what damaged people do best. They survive.


You’re in love with the kind of person who is going to love you cautiously at first, but when they realise you are there for them, they will love you in ways you have never expected to be loved before. Without judgement, accepting all of your flaws, never ever holding anything against you because they understand you better than anyone else.

Loving a damaged person may sometimes feel like loving a war, but it is also like loving the ocean, she recovers from anything, no matter how painful with a grace and resilience which is admirable.

You need to understand that every day they wake up in the morning they genuinely believe that it may be their last. They are terrified that something, just a toe out of line and that’s it, that’s the end for them. Because that is what they have forced themselves to believe to keep themselves alive. They live each day like they’re surviving more than living, and believe me the inside of their heads are bomb shelters that are barely standing in the aftermath of the wreckage.

Some nights, the nightmares will be so bad, they’ll wake up but they won’t want to wake you. Let them know you are there, but let them come to you. Silence is a way of communication; silence is the best way to understand what you need to be to them.

Some days, they’re not going to get out of bed. Leave them there. Motivating them, trying to get them to do something they may not be ready to do will hurt them and it will hurt you. Damaged people are more fragile on some days than others, and those are the days when you need to just leave them till they ask you to be with them.

Some moments, you’ll see them explaining every single movement they have made that day to you, as if you do not believe they are where they say they have been. Remind them in those moments, that you love them by saying how glad you are they have had a wonderful day.

Some seconds, they will forget everything they have forged themselves into and regress to being the kind of person who genuinely believes they deserve nothing. Remember to tell them that they are loved. They are cared for. And you believe that they deserve every kindness in the world.

Get used to hearing the words, “It’s all my fault.” Get used to the apologies. Get used to the mental or emotional exhaustion after any form of expression relating to their abuse.

But also, get used to the love.

Get used to the honesty. Get used to someone who will never ever give up on you if you choose not to give up on them. Get used to the most selfless person you will ever meet. Get used to the kind of love people would give their whole worlds for.

Get used to a once in a lifetime kind of love. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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