Dating a woman who has survived physical abuse will not be easy. You will need to prove to her that you love her and will never hurt her and that is not as easy as it sounds.
She has gone through so much and survived and whether it is right or wrong in your eyes she will view every man as a threat until he proves otherwise. She is fully aware that being like this could cause her to miss out on what is potentially a chance of a great relationship she would prefer to feel safe and ready than have anything forced upon her.
1. She can’t change her past
She can’t change her past, she knows she can’t and she is aware the past is impacting her future, she has tried so many times to forget the past but it keeps coming back to haunt her.
The demons from her past will keep playing over and over in her mind and what may seem trivial to you is huge for her. She has had her mind played with until it broke so be aware that everything you say will be reviewed, assessed and hidden meaning looked for.
Your sudden movement no matter how innocent could cause her to react by her putting her hands over her face for she is used to the movement being the beginning of a physical assault. Keep your hands down or tell her beforehand that you want to hug her and ask if it is okay to do so.
2. She won’t trust you at first
She will have trust issues and you have to accept that. She will not be an open book to you and it is not because she is being secretive it is because she has had her most precious thoughts that have been shared used against her in the cruellest way.
She is fully aware that not all men are the same, she tells herself this every day, but until she has spent time with you, she will not trust you and you will either accept that or leave.
For you saying to her that she is special to you she had heard from her ex, you are my special kind of stupid. It will take time for her to accept you are being genuine, so give her that time and keep reminding her that she is special to you even if she refuses to believe it at first.
3. Physical contact is hard for her
She will find physical contact near on impossible with you at first, something simple as holding your hand will feel like torture at first, so if she does hold your hand and then suddenly lets go, don’t try and force the situation by holding her hand again, the sudden letting go of your hand could well be that she has been triggered into remembering when her hand wasn’t held so kindly.
Always ask for if you can hold her hand, or kiss her if she says no accept the no without question for in doing so it shows her that you are respecting her boundaries and are willing to wait until she is ready for you.
4. She will be scared
She will literally be scared of living. Every single day is a challenge for her no matter how long ago the abuse took place. As she travels her healing journey and she has allowed you to start to get to know her she will be hypervigilant just waiting for you to do something that could threaten who she is as a survivor.
She survived her past and you are now part of the new chapter in her life and it is just as hard for her to accept you as you may be finding it hard to help her understand you are different from the past.
Whilst she appears healed on the outside inside, she is still fighting a daily battle, the question is are you her champion in this fight or are you a foe. You will find yourself needing to assure her almost all the time, patience is your biggest asset and you will need to use it.
5. She thinks nobody will love her again
She was constantly told she is unlovable, worthless and that no one else could possibly want to be with her. She was relentlessly gaslighted until she thought her mind was going to explode, she wasn’t just physically abused she was mentally abused too.
The shock of the abuse by someone who claimed to love her will still be burnt deep in her mind and she will be of a mindset that no one would want to be with her let alone love her.
She knows she is worthy of love it will just take time for her to accept this without doubts, she knows she is broken and is still healing she may just find it difficult to accept love from you at this time.
6. She knows that she deserves better
She knows that she didn’t deserve what happened to her and that out there is a man worthy of her love, but she needs time and space to adapt to not feeling worthless all the time.
Make sure you tell her and show her what she means to you, as she has often heard words that didn’t mean the same thing as what you are saying to her, even simple words can be twisted into something else by abusers.
She knows full well that the life before was abnormal and that life can be beautiful, peaceful and loving, she just needs a little time to adapt her thought process when it comes to you.
Once you get to know her, you will see that a girl like this was definitely worth the wait!