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

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woman, girl, eyes closed, dark, relaxed, calm

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.

When she feels too much, love her.

When she feels not enough, love her harder.

Sometimes she won’t hurt and the light will shine from her eyes and her laughter will be a rare and precious melody. But sometimes she will hurt so much from the trauma still in her body; she will ache, she will feel pain and anguish. The light will grow dim and the music will fade.

When she is the light, love her.

When she is the darkness, love her harder.

She will always love you with caution, with one foot out the door. For she does not understand a love with no conditions, one that is powerful enough to withstand hard times. She cannot allow herself to fully trust in your love, and she will keep parts of her heart hidden—the parts that have been hurt the most, the parts she can’t risk being hurt again when she has worked so hard to stitch them together.

She will always watch, wait and expect you to leave first. And when you don’t, she has a truth written upon her heart that says you will—it’s only a matter of time, for everyone who loves her leaves her. 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.

When she wants to love you, love her.

When she wants to hurt you, love her harder.

Being out of control terrifies her. Don’t ever make her feel powerless, trapped or without her freedom. She needs to dance barefoot under enormous blue skies, to feel sand between her toes, to run with wolves as the wind weaves magic through her hair, for here is where her healing is found. Never clip her wings, for if she has the freedom to fly, she will always come back to you.

Love her when it’s easy, and love her harder when it’s not.

Love her in a way that will defy all she has ever known love to be.

Love her because you understand with every fiber of your soul the gift of her love, what it has cost her to offer you her fragile heart.

She does not need you. She has chosen you.

Because you have what it takes to survive the storm.

Because even when she doesn’t know how to love, you know how to love harder.

 

Author: Kathy Parker

Image: Ken Walton/Flickr

Editor: Nicole Cameron

 

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Kathy Parker

Kathy Parker is a: Warrior. Dreamer. Creator. Writer. Fighter for all that is beautiful and good. Advocate for the underdog. Truth-teller. Empath. Passionate soul. Lover of land and ocean. Coffee drinker. Gentle spirit. Sensitive soul. Wild heart. Survivor. Freelance writer, blogger for HuffPost Australia, columnist for elephant journal. Writing first manuscript. Married to a farmer in the Limestone Coast of South Australia, mother to four astonishing children. You can find Kathy at This Girl UnraveledFacebook and Twitter.

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roussos_7 Dec 10, 2018 3:49am

So, what you’re saying is love her unconditionally.

What happens, though, when you do love her unconditionally, and she breaks up with you 3 times (for bullshit reasons), and comes back each time on her own ?

How do you not get emotionally tired and hurt ? How can you keep trusting her after each time, and not your gut feeling ?

“Abyss, the soul of woman.”
J.

traceybrink Nov 30, 2018 7:10am

I began crying as I read this… it is the story of so much of my Forties, and the challenges they’ve brought since my divorce. Beautiful writing!

liannejoslin Nov 22, 2018 3:47am

I hope he has the strength…

Erna de Bree Nov 21, 2018 10:31pm

This brought tears to my eyes with the acknowledgement that this is me. Thank you for putting such emotions and thoughts into meaningful and expressive words.

Jennifer Caley Nov 21, 2018 3:16am

I felt like you wrote about me! Put so many things into words, expressed so many thoughts and realities! I never became the one to lash out and hurt intentionally but not every word needed to apply to form the most perfect message! Thank you for reminding me I’m not the only one living this!

k8r.g8r.0730 Nov 20, 2018 11:19am

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing ?

Talal A. Elshafei Nov 17, 2018 8:25am

Miss here alot, by time I realise how much my love to her was pure, unconditional and real ... I'll remeber her from time to time, she'll always stay in my heart ..

Talal A. Elshafei Oct 31, 2018 9:00am

I love you Omnia

Talal A. Elshafei Oct 31, 2018 8:58am

I'm letting go now, Hope in the future when she figures out ... who she is to call me, I guess I'm leaving her and letting go because I love her a lot .. I hope I'll still be there when she finds who she is .. I hope she call me one day and continue what we failed in .. I'm grieving her loss as if the dearst person to me died .... I loved her .. Always do ... And always will Love her harder

Crystal Mondor Oct 31, 2018 12:09am

This resonates SO deeply within me it is tearing me to shreds

Samantha Louise Oct 28, 2018 5:17am

This made me cry. A lot.

Amy Allen Chaudhari Oct 25, 2018 10:59am

Life defining ❤️

Carolyn A Laurie Oct 25, 2018 10:57am

I have no words...just feelings all over the place. ♥️♥️♥️

Sonia Lamba Oct 24, 2018 8:29pm

Has left me speechless in a beautiful way....hats off to the writer....

Talal A. Elshafei Oct 24, 2018 7:01pm

still love her, almost 3 months now, Texted her, I only asked to be beside her as a friend not more and I truly meant it, I know how damaging it for my feelings, I just did coz I cared about her well being, want to be a support for her, and her loved ones even while knowing she has already left me long time ago, Her answer was harsh; She refused to be friends, and said she's 100% sure for leaving me and has zero regrets, I'm happy for her coz It's the first time since I knew her that she's 100% sure of something. I wish her to find all happiness there is on earth ... she will always has this special part inside of my heart...

Elizabeth Glykofrydis Oct 21, 2018 7:16am

You wrote about me. It is the most perfect picture of my soul, exactly how I am to the last word. No one understands. No one can stay.

Talal A. Elshafei Oct 7, 2018 3:23pm

it has been weeks since I last heard her voice ... I miss her voice, smile and the way she looks at me the most ... I love her more than ever .... I can see she's doing fine, always smilling and happy, surprisingly I'm so happy for her, I wish her the best and lots of love in the future, she will always has this special part inside of my heart, hope she finds all what she wants in life .. she's a wish, and wishes never come true ...

Erin Brosnahan Oct 1, 2018 4:26am

Oh.. yep.

Graham Smith Oct 1, 2018 3:46am

You are describing the classic narcissist there. Broken. Push-pull, gaslighting, ghosting etc. Leaves the victim not knowing whether he's coming or going. A decent man simply walks away because he knows he's not, and never will be respected. The man may also have had a rough deal in his life.

Connie Mailand Sep 27, 2018 4:21pm

Kathy, thank YOU. I don’t believe in coincidence but this popped up this morning after thoughts in my head from last night. THIS is perfect.

Talal A. Elshafei Aug 22, 2018 8:31am

Update from the post I wrote couple of weeks ago (long one), Appreciate ur comments and support. As I wrote before my partner has sent me the article around 2 months ago .. I read it more than once, and keep reading it from time to time. I know why she sent it, but still I can't leave her at that time. Loving her as a woman who has been to hell and back, an emotionally broken/unstable woman, who "don't know " is the hardest thing to do .. you become so vulnerable, one day she may disappear, leaving you with a damaged broken heart, u know; it might be ur reality at any moment, but still u enter her storm and fight, love her with no rules, although u needed to be loved and cared about as well, u sacrificed it for her .. u keep on sacrificing and hurting yourself ... But as the day goes by, u still are with her, and love is transforming day by day to an unconditional love .. Why I'm doing this ? Why her ? I keep on asking myself on daily basis ? until this day ! No answer ! She's my everything, the bruises and scars she left and keep on leaving are permanent; Even when she hurts you and you sacrifice things for her,at the end you feel this magical unique sensation that " you are happy being with her and it's more than enough ".... Or maybe I'm hoping the day will come when she accepts me, believe in me and my emotions to her and JUMP .. maybe waiting for the day when she says " you are my everything, I love you " maybe I'm doing all this for this day .. the day I be the happiest man on Earth, the day that will be the happiest moment of my life .... and reach the strong unique love, the love that I have never known as you mentioned in one of ur comments ... That's why in all her moments, I will love her harder. weeks passed by .. and she texted suddenly, she said NO, loved her harder , a week later she called unexpectedly and said NO, again, I loved her harder, she kept on saying NO... She said her family and friends are everythinig to her, I don't have a place near her/ I don't offer her what she wants/ its not enough .. her dreams are important and she thought I may hinder them, no place for me .. she needs to discover herself and what she wants. Hearing her was so hurtful, I felt physical pain like I have never felt before. I loved her harder, I loved her even more harder, And my love to her make me let go .. I let go because I love her deeply, I let go because she said her happiness is away from me. I love her, if she's happy even if shes away from me, with someone else, I'll be happy ... I love her unconditionally and will always do.

Leonie Matthews Aug 5, 2018 2:24pm

Truely well written I felt every word as my own. God bless being a woman - we go through so much turmoil & a lot of the pain is suffered alone outof sight.

Jeff Caffrey Jul 12, 2018 11:29pm

I agree you shouldn't give up on someone easy. But her freedom isn't found in someone loving her so much. But rather her realizing that even if he didn't love her. That she matters. That she is worth it. He also needs to see his value and he is worth more then a punching bag out a tool to heal her. My point is this is so true and this is what people think is the answer in helping her become happy. But it isn't ever helping her and he needs to be strong enough to let her sometimes remember that no matter if he is there or her past was shit. She can survive it. As well as instead of allowing her to hurt you because of her fears. He should elevate her towards letting the past go and moving in a new direction

Crystal Fisher Jun 30, 2018 11:48pm

Nailed it

Elshafei Ahmed Jun 27, 2018 10:45am

My partner has sent me the article yesterday.. I read it more than once, I know why she sent it, but still I can't leave her. Loving her as a woman who has been to hell and back, an emotionally broken/unstable woman, who "don't know " is the hardest thing to do .. you become so vulnerable, one day she may disappear, leaving you with a damaged broken heart, u know; it might be ur reality at any moment, but still u enter her storm and fight, love her with no rules, although u needed to be loved and cared about as well, u sacrificed it for her .. u keep on sacrificing and hurting yourself ... But as the day goes by, u still are with her, and love is transforming day by day to an unconditional love .. Why I'm doing this ? Why her ? I keep on asking myself on daily basis ? No answer ! She's my everything, the bruises and scars she left and keep on leaving are permanent; Even when she hurts you and you sacrifice things for her,at the end you feel this magical unique sensation that " you are happy being with her and it's more than enough ".... Or maybe I'm hoping the day will come when she accepts me, believe in me and my emotions to her and JUMP .. maybe waiting for the day when she says " you are my everything, I love you " maybe I'm doing all this for this day .. the day I be the happiest man on Earth, the day that will be the happiest moment of my life .... and reach the strong unique love, the love that I have never known as you mentioned in one of ur comments ... That's why in all her moments, I will love her harder

Ginny Claire Jun 4, 2018 3:41am

I don’t agree to love someone harder when they hurt you. I think you also have to step back and protect yourself and set boundaries.

Amy Weitzel May 13, 2018 5:24pm

Written from my soul. Thank you.

Isabelle Raphael Apr 20, 2018 10:43am

I have the strong feeling you're glorifying and romanticising emotionally unavailable people in this article who - most of all - need (professional) help to be able to open up to a potential lover at all once again.

Chris Knox Mar 26, 2018 10:21am

Be wary of the wolf of codependence in sheep's clothing, Daniel. https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/03/why-empaths-stay-with-the-almost-good-partner/ https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/03/how-many-times-should-you-need-to-remind-someone-to-love-you-poem/

Mary Lou Goho Mar 24, 2018 7:34pm

You captured things so ephemeral...so nebulous. Thank you.

Maggie Collins Mar 24, 2018 6:17pm

So true, so true. If only we had known all this when we were younger and starting out on this lifelong journey. Thank you for the enlightenment now. And bless you.