How to Love a Woman who has been to Hell & Back

The woman who has been to hell and back is not easy to love.

Many have tried. Most have failed.

The weak need not attempt, for it will take more strength than you even know you possess; more patience, more resilience, more tenacity, more resolve. It requires a relentless love, one that is determined and not easily defeated.

For the woman who has been to hell and back will push you away. She will test you in her desire to know what you are made of, whether you have what it takes to weather her storm. Because she is unpredictable—at times a hurricane, a force of nature that rides on the fury of her suffering; other times a gentle rain, calm, still and quiet.

When she is the gentle rain that falls in time to her silent tears, love her.

When she is the thunder and lightning and ferocious winds that wreak havoc, love her harder.

She is a contradiction, a pendulum that will forever swing between fear of suffocation and fear of abandonment, and even she will not know how to find the balance between the two. Because today, although she will never tell you, she will feel insecure. She will want you to stay close, to tuck her hair behind her ear and kiss her on her forehead and hold her in the strength of your arms. But tomorrow she will crave her independence, her space, her solitude.

For while you have slept, she has been awake, unable to slow her thoughts, watching clocks and chasing time, trying to make the broken pieces fit, to make sense of it all—of where and how she fits. She fights her demons and slays her dragons, afraid if she goes to sleep they will gain the upper hand, afraid if she goes to sleep she will no longer be in control. Tomorrow she will be tired, and your presence will smother her. She will need only herself.

When she reaches out to you, love her.

When she pushes you away, lover her harder.

New situations and places and people and experiences will make her anxious. She will be fiercely independent and long to overcome her fears, all the while as terrified as a small child alone in the big world. Sometimes she will need to be courageous, to prove to herself she has what it takes. Other times she will need you to take her hand and hold it firmly in yours. Sometimes she may not know what she needs, and you will need to read her like a book with worn pages and a tattered spine and be what she needs when she does not know herself.

When she is brave and steps into the world on her own, love her.

When she is scared, but refuses to take your hand, love her harder.

She will live in fear of not being enough and always being too much—an endless battle to find the middle ground. Ashamed if the scale falls one way or the other, ashamed to be herself for no one has ever loved her both when she is small and also when she is tremendous.

56 COMMENTS

  1. This whole piece is utter garbage. You’re excusing some of the worst behavior I have ever encountered. I was strong, I did try to stick it out and she just took that as a license to become an absolute monster.

    You are advocating taking abuse and basically suggesting that anybody that cannot love a borderline doesn’t have the stomach for it.
    You are delusional and almost certainly BPD yourself. If a man wrote this and said: “When he gets angry and gives you a slap, hug him,” the world would be up in arms.

    BPD women are the most destructive people I have ever encountered. I understand that it comes from trauma, but it manifests itself as pure evil.

    Anybody that is being abused should run in the opposite direction and excusing the behavior with this ridiculous diatribe makes you a massively sub-standard person. If anybody listens to you, then you could seriously have blood on your hands.

    If you’re locked in this broken, horrendous type of relationship then please ignore the psychotic ramblings of this disordered author. I found some really great people that helped me leave and get through it, they have their own websites and Youtube channels.

    Dr Tara Palmatier and Richard Grannon might just have pulled me back from the brink and you can find links to their material in this article: http://www.alphareboot.com/is-she-npd-bpd-histrionic-psychopath-narcissist-borderline-sociopath/

  2. No surprise that your readership tends to be 100% against the crap that is being encouraged by your essay. Of course, you hear praise from the afflicted and those who thoughtlessly abuse their partners and excuse their behavior because nobody knows what they have been through and if they did they would understand why they are the way they are.
    EveryONE…all of us…have been through struggles and have issues. Sure, some worse than others. But, we have to draw the line when people refuse to accept accountability for causing others pain and continue to do it for selfish reasons and childish reasons.
    The first thought I have is that if there were an article that urged women who were victims of abuse, especially physical abuse, to just love their abusive partners harder claiming that ‘they only hit you because they are afraid to get hurt themselves,’ then there would probably be riotous boycotts and internet mobs setting fire to the cyber aether.
    Truthfully, if someone wants to love her more, help her work through it all, tolerate what happens, then may they be happy and successful with their partner. But, if someone wants to run, then they should run and run fast. And, by the same token, if someone wants to push back by being aloof, by leaving the second they are told to “Just go”, by answering their abusive games with a well-developed set of counter-measures, then let them have at it with as much support and urge those who are strung about by fleeting men who they can’t figure out and who lead them chasing from one year to the next to just ‘love and chase them harder.’

  3. In really don’t know how I got here but after reading this I feel I need to chime in. This article is complete and utter BS!

    It’s trying to say is that if a woman has been hurt/damaged than her new “lover” will need to put up with her abuse and love her unconditionally until she hopefully “sees the light” and trusts him. The truth is, the relationship will never work.

    Plenty of people have been hurt or abused and have moved on to normal relationships. If anything, the women who have been “through hell and back” should be the first to understand that acting like the ones in this article is abusive,

    It’s simple really, don’t get in a relationship if you can’t trust others. If you are with someone who plays games like this then just leave, it will never get better.

  4. Sorry, but this is a recipe for disaster. Yes it is asking the man to take the higher spiritual path, which is always recommended. But what does it ask of the women?
    And here lies the problem, grant me carte blanche, and in return….”don’t smother me with expectations! Don’t you know I’ve been to hell and back!”

    This will not work simply because, when a damaged women, has gotten everything she can out of the men, she has “conquered him” and off to the next conquest she goes. In an attempt to feed her broken ego.
    Good try, the wisdom in this article is alright. but its a fantasy, as it does not account for the role and behaviour of the female.
    At what point does she have to “love him and love him harder”?

  5. I would try to translate the text, based on my experience with girls, feeling the same way.
    “It is not that I was not loved, or they failed to love me the way I demand. It just me, I am broken, incapable to love and trust. That is why they all left, but I am incapable to find something wrong inside me.”
    What does it mean “love harder”? Is it a name of a low budget p*rn movie?
    It is sad that somebody hurted you Kathy, but sometime people do, except some broken individuals that hurts everybody who loves them. It is also sad to see that there are a lot of enablers online.
    The saddest thing is that all of the “broken hearts” are not considering that it is all their fault. I will put it in this way. Why should somebody leave you, if he is feeling good with you? And how it is all his fault? There is in my country some thing like this ” Who has been pis*ing and sh*ting in my pants?

    Wish you fast recovery and finally meet someone “good enough” and “capable to love you the right way”. Leave this “harder” for expressing the feelings in the night. It is not connected in any way with loving somebody.

  6. I was on board with this article until this line:

    “And so she will seek to sabotage the relationship; she will seek to destroy it, she will seek to leave first, she will seek to hurt you before you can hurt her. This is how she stays in control, this is how she survives, how she will ensure she will not get hurt again.”

    Just because someone has been through hell and back doesn’t give them the right to put others through hell. This only perpetuates the cycle of abuse. If she copes by hurting others then it’s only reasonable that her previous partners left her; no one deserves that.