This Is How You Love Someone Who’s Been Abused


Being with somebody who has been abused is complex. Sometimes you will want to find the person who did this to us, did this to you, and you will not be able to fathom the rage you feel toward a stranger. Sometimes you will be mad at us, or yourself, maybe even sad. We may or may not understand how you are feeling, but please remember that we love you.

What we do know is loving someone who has been abused is not always easy. We also know that you are not them, but sometimes it is hard to make that separation. Fights will happen, and we will try to be strong. But maybe you will yell, or swing your arm in a certain way, and we will freeze. The look in our eyes will be a veil of fear or sadness. We aren’t looking at you, but the abuser either.

Most people who have been the victim of abuse, emotional or physical, understand you are different. With time and gentle touches or soft whispers, we will begin to heal. The cracks between scars where we began to come apart like a rag doll will reconnect. With enough time, every slammed door will not feel like a rejection, a punishment, or an alarm before a loud and violent storm. These are not your wounds to heal, but we are thankful every day that we wake up and you are still there beside us, helping us and trying to see who we are and who we are trying to become.

It is undoubtedly unfair that we have fallen in love with you, a perfect representation of everything tender and restorative after something so damaging. It is equally unfair that sometimes we cut your soft, perfect skin on our sharpened edges without meaning to. We never meant to involve you…wanted to involve you. Many of us would rather stay alone, save ourselves, believing because of the abuse it is better this way. And while it is an unfair situation with heartache to spare, something inside both of us lets us know it is worth it no matter the damage.

We are afraid sometimes you will realize our emotional baggage is ours alone, and you will leave. Somehow, your absence would feel more hollow and painful than any insult, any blow, because this is feels real, substantial, and safe. Still, we would understand if you left.

We hold no illusions that somebody else must save us; this is not a Disney movie and nobody here is royalty. Instead we are trying to learn the power of a soft and healing touch in the dark when a nightmare freezes us to our bones and the isolation suffocates us once more. You have been there, and we are trying to show you in whatever way we can that you are not them, that we love you. We have let them go, unfortunately, the scars remain and are not so easily forgotten.

But every embrace after a fight, every flirtatious look just because, every understanding word acts like salve on a burn. While we will always have a part of our past that is a dark chapter, you will always be the person that helped turn the page and showed there are people who can bring light, and reminded us we can bring light too.