Saturday, November 21, 2009
Dating Women Who've Been Abused
You've been dating your girlfriend for a while now. She's had some pretty bad past relationships, one of which was a physically abusive one. You believe she has put it behind her, but you can still see the pain at times when she is thinking about it. How can you help her through it?
First, you have to allow her to see that you are here to support her and are in no way like her former abusive boyfriend. In order to do that, you have to first understand some of the signs of a victim in an abusive relationship. You have to realize that she has been kicked, hit, shoved, or had things thrown at her by her former boyfriend when he was angry.Most women who have been abused feel as if they have to walk on eggshells to keep a man from getting angry, are constantly apologizing and are easily frightened by a man's temper. She may also even be afraid to tell you about her worries and feelings due to ridicule and belittlement from her past lover.
You can express your concern about her past relationships and whether they may still be affecting her and ask if she wants to talk about it. If she does, you can ask her what she needs and wants from you. But if she doesn't want to talk about it (yet), respect her wishes. If you push her to do something against her wishes, you'd be violating her boundaries and you'd run the risk of being perceived as abusive yourself. Try to be aware if any way of your behaviors that you might be accidentally be doing that might be triggering her into thinking of past abuse.
The best way to help a woman with emotional baggage see that you are in no way like her past boyfriends is to make sure you're in no way like her past boyfriends--at least, not where physical and emotional abuse are concerned.