It’s difficult for me to tell you how to best love the woman who has been to hell and back. No situation is ever the same, and I have not the mind and heart of a man in your shoes.
But this is what I can tell you.
My original article was not written to condone abuse of any kind.
Our society is vocal when it comes to domestic violence where women are the victims, but far less vocal to speak of men who are abused by women.
It’s real, and it happens, and I understand how my article may have been interpreted in this respect and how that may have confused and upset you.
But abuse is never okay, no matter from a man to a woman, or a woman to a man.
- There is a difference between a woman who is hurting and inadvertently hurts others as she works through her pain, and a woman who justifies hurting others because she has been hurt, so that makes it okay.
- There is a difference between a woman who is willing to acknowledge that she has hurt others, who seeks forgiveness and redemption, and who strives to do better, and a woman who plays the victim card, blames others, and does not seek to change her ways but expects others to be her punching bag.
- There is a difference between a woman who struggles to love but does her best to give all she can to the relationship, and one who merely expects, takes, and gives nothing in return.I know sometimes the lines can seem blurred, and because of this you struggle to know whether to stay or leave.
But you are not obligated or responsible to stay there in the face of abuse. You must still, always, protect your heart.
The woman who has been to hell and back needs to be responsible for her own healing. It’s not an easy journey, nor a fast one.
There are many hard days, many times she will get stuck and not know the way forward. But the important thing to consider is that she is trying – for herself, for you, for your relationship.
No-one can tell you whether to stay or leave, only you can determine what you see in her heart, whether you see growth and change and promise, or whether you merely feel like her doormat.
To love a woman who has been to hell and back is not easy.
But it should never mean abuse, lack of respect, lack of boundaries, or that you become a scapegoat for someone who is unwilling to heal.
This is something you must be able to understand the difference between in order to answer the question of whether you should stay or leave.
I can tell you that you are not responsible for fixing her, nor does she want you to.
Men are fixers, and I understand it’s in your nature to want to make this better; make her better. But this is her journey.
This is her pain. Her healing will not be pretty. At times she will be the hurricane and you will need to be the storm shelter – let her rage, let her anger and her fury and her pain unleash from her heart, let the weight of the trauma she has stored in her body for so many years come undone.
Don’t fight it, don’t stop it, don’t fix it.
Just be that safe place for her to come home to when the storm ends and the tears begin. You cannot fix her, you can only love her.
I can tell you the woman who has been to hell and back has a story written on her heart. A story which says everyone who should have protected her, didn’t. Everyone she trusted, hurt her. Everyone she loved, left her.
She waits for you to continue the story,
to be the next person to reject her, abandon her, hurt her.
She expects it.
She thinks it’s only a matter of time.
And this is why she pushes you away, hurts you, leaves you, when you have only ever loved her. She doesn’t believe she is worthy of a love like yours, and believes it’s only a matter of time until you realize this too.
You asked me what it means to love harder.
You will need to be better than anyone else at love.
You will need to love with more strength, more patience, more grace, more determination, more understanding, more perseverance.
You will need to love her more than anyone else has before or will again.
You will need to love her until she understands what love is, and believes in a love she’s never known.
You will need to love her hard enough to be the one to re-write the story on her heart.