How to Love a Woman Who Has Been To Hell & Back

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.

Writer. Poet. Survivor. Warrior. Word Alchemist. Kathy Parker is a lover of beautiful words and wide open spaces; a wild heart, passionate soul and gentle spirit. She is a survivor of abuse, a sufferer of Complex-PTSD. Her greatest desire is to see all women empowered with the truth of their glorious worth. She is a contributor for The Mighty, Thought Catalog, Truth Code, Lessons Learned In Life and The Minds Journal and also has writing published at Huffington Post Australia and Elephant Journal. The Unravelled Heart, a profoundly true reflection on trauma, abuse, love, loss and healing, now available worldwide on Amazon he Unravelled Heart


  1. I am a woman who has been to hell and back and I disagree with this article. Being to hell and back does not give anyone a free pass to put someone else through hell. If you can’t help acting like this you shouldn’t be dating.
    This attitude only keeps a person in victim hood and reliant on others to “fix” them. Once again they are making someone else responsible for their happiness and self worth.
    Any person going into a relationship expecting the other person to tolerate abusive behavior. Why would a healthy person want to take on someone who is this out of control of their emotions and actions?
    I would suggest this person work on themselves and learn to love themselves, set boundaries, get in touch with their gut instincts (so they make better choices) and live true to their core self long before they start dating and putting some innocent guy through the same hell they went through.

  2. This is absolute and total crap. In essence the author is suggesting that if you haven’t been enough of a doormat and lowered yourself enough already then try a bit harder, try so hard that eventually any shred of self esteem you may have has been extinguished. Women like this are bottomless insatiable pits incapable of reciprocating genuine care concern or empathy so no amount of love or medication or intense psychotherapy can fix that which is broken and missing within them. They are far from the victims they appear to be, in fact, they are nothing like what they may appear to be at any given moment because they can change at a moments notice.

    I’ve been involved with many women like this and although they all appeared to be different they were all basically the same. Upon physical and emotion intimacy they all shared the same type of damaged and abused family history and they all shared the same symptoms of severe personality disorders and long lasting and continuing emotional damage, They all struggled with self image issues, all struggled with weight gain and loss, all had experienced sexual abuse to varying degrees, one woman was in her late 20’s early 30’s and having a sexual relationship with her sister and still sleeping with her father, whom at one point she asked me to kill.

    So there is no amount of affection, no amount of love and no amount of devotion that is enough to fix what is wrong with women like the author describes Suggesting there is only reinforces dysfunctional cultural beliefs among men, placing them in even more danger.