There is a blog post making its way around on the internet, “How To Love A Woman Who Has Been To Hell and Back” “How To Love A Woman Who Has Been To Hell and Back”
It is a well written post and I am sure many victims of a narcissist/psychopath can relate, obviously; by the amount of times it has been shared and shown up on friend’s FaceBook feeds; but I take issue with a lot of what it contains. After reading it and thinking about it, more and more I kept thinking, “So, because you were hurt, you now have a license to go around hurting others?” What about the man who was hurt by a narcissistic woman? Almost all narcissists complain about how they were taken advantage of and abused by their previous partners, it is almost a challenge to the new target to try harder, love better, prove they are different. The article is below, read it and think back to how you felt while with the narcissist, my notes are in italics.
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. I remember thinking that my ex was just testing me to see if I would walk out on him like all the others, and I was determined to prove to him I loved him and wasn’t going anywhere.
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. Sounds just like a narcissist to me, my ex used to say his love was cycleable. One day he would love me and the next he acted like he couldn’t stand the fact that I was breathing his air.
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. Does this not sound familiar to the rest of you? the N pulling you close so he can push you away?
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. My ex rarely came to bed, it was when he would be on the net putting personal ads in or plotting revenge of some sort. I think he was afraid to sleep for fear of not being in control.
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. I often felt like I had to be a mind reader, always struggling to keep the N happy.
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. When the narcissists act quite doesn’t measure up or fit the occasion, fill in the blanks for them and assign them emotions they are not feeling.
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. Even though you are tired and don’t know the steps any more because the N keeps changing them, keep dancing in hopes that some day they appreciate all you have given up and done for them.
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. OMG! how many times did I think my ex was trying to sabotage the wonderful love we had and if I could just prove to him how much I loved him he would eventually relax and enjoy this special love we had.
When she wants to love you, love her.
When she wants to hurt you, love her harder. Your martyrdom will be rewarded.
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. Never ask for faithfulness or commitment, just prove your loyalty to them and some day, maybe, your selflessness will be rewarded with their love. hahaha
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. oh yes, your special love is enough to save her from herself, to save the relationship, some day, right? right?
First of all, the person who is writing this is basically saying, “I am helpless to stop being a victim, I have no control over who hurts me or who I hurt because I am damaged goods”. They are putting their self worth and happiness into the hands of the next man who comes along. They are off the hook as far as any responsibility for whether the relationship fails or not and if the guy can’t prove he is a good guy, then it certainly isn’t her fault. If he turns out to be another narcissist and she gets hurt again, it isn’t her fault, she is totally an innocent victim. She might say that she is an open book and wears her heart on her sleeve, she can’t help it, it’s just the way she is. Sigh. Doomed to forever be the victim, why, why, why?????
None of us can be blamed for being the victim of a narcissist when we didn’t know they even existed, and I am not saying that none of us will ever fall victim to another one someday in the future. But if we cloak ourselves in victimhood, relying on anyone but ourselves to keep us safe, we set ourselves up to remain a victim time and time again. In typical victim fashion, I vowed to learn everything I could about narcissists so I could identify one before they hurt me and it scared the hell out of me how many I saw all around me. (all people have narcissistic traits, it is the degree of those traits that determine if a person is a true narcissist) but I guarantee we are all surrounded by narcissists and psychopaths. And with their ability to morph into different characters and personalities, talent for rewriting history and ease at playing the victim or the knight in shining armor make it impossible to identify most of them before its too late.
Whoever wrote this article should not be dating and falling in love, they are too damaged to enter into a healthy relationship. Sorry. That may offend someone of you but; if you are expecting someone else to fix the damage done by the narcissist, or that you have some “get out of jail free card” that allows you to mess with someone else’s heart because you got hurt; you are not ready to date.
First of all, to announce to the world that you are horribly damaged by a narcissist is like putting a big old bullseye on yourself and saying, “Come get me”. He would love the challenge of winning your trust and then dumping you. You would not believe how many times I have had someone from the blog start dating far too soon, thinking it would heal her/him; only to have them come in crying because they had told the person how badly they had been hurt in the past, “I told them how hurt I had been and that I needed honesty and time to learn to trust again and they cheated on me. How can someone be so cruel, knowing a person has been hurt so badly?” They are forgetting that a narcissist doesn’t care how hurt you were in the past other than it gives him a perfect opportunity to suck you in by pretending to be your soulmate.
So how do you heal? how do you protect yourself?
You have to accept that the narcissist is not the first person to victimize you and tell you lies about yourself. The fact is, had you not been taught to doubt your gut instincts, had you not been told lies about who you were and that your strengths were weaknesses, you never would have been sucked into that dark vortex of narcissistic toxic love. Unfortunately not many people were nurtured and accepted exactly as you are.
I have written on this topic several times before; here is a link you might find helpful
The other thing you have to accept is; you can love someone deeply without sacrificing yourself. Yes, I know, you are sensitive, you feel things more intensely than most, you hate to see someone hurting, you want to fix things for the people you love; but that does not mean you can’t learn to love smart, stop giving trust to someone who has done nothing to earn your trust and then wait to see if they deserve it. You can learn to listen to your gut and believe that your gut never lies to you, you can not allow yourself to be pressured into a relationship too quickly. It doesn’t make it any less romantic, in fact; it should make it more intense and romantic to let the love grow naturally. The narcissist rushes you into a commitment and you allow it because you are afraid if you don’t he will find someone else. If he finds someone else that quickly and easily then there never was a deep love there and you are not really losing anything. On the other hand, by going into a relationship with the baggage from past hurts, expecting that person to accept your erratic moods and love you enough to heal you, you could very well destroy what could have been the love of your life.
You will never go wrong living true to your core self and in total honesty be the best version of you that you can be. Honor and value yourself and then you don’t have to worry about being made a victim, you can trust yourself to protect you.