Dear Man Who Loves The Woman Who Has Been To Hell and Back.

Dear Man Who Loves The Woman Who Has Been To Hell and Back,

Last year I published the article, How To Love A Woman Who Has Been To Hell and Back. This article has since been republished on more websites than I could even tell you. It has been shared hundreds of thousands of times all around the world, and has received millions of views. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of messages I’ve received from women who have thanked me for giving them the words they could never say.

But in the last while, my inbox has also been filled with messages from men such as you. Men who are trying to love the woman who has been to hell and back, but are struggling. Men who are doing the best they can, but are hurting. Men who are trying to understand more, do better, love harder, but aren’t sure if it’s worth the pain and exhaustion. Men who are confused, unsure, lost, and in need of answers.

Dear man, the fact that you love your woman so much that you are willing to read an article to understand her more is a truly wonderful thing. That you would message me in the hope of knowing how to love her better is admirable. Men like you are rare, precious, and so appreciated. The world needs more men like you. Men who are strong, brave, resilient, determined, loyal, and willing to love at a high cost because you understand the worth of the woman you hold in your arms. You are a testament to the masculine heart that encompasses both strength and gentleness, fierceness and kindness. Hearts like yours are worthy of respect, and I give thanks that you have chosen to love the woman in your life with such determination, commitment and resolve.

I understand how hard it is to love a woman who has been to hell and back.

Because the thing is, this woman carries in her heart a lifetime of pain that you didn’t cause. You didn’t inflict this pain on her. You didn’t hurt her. You didn’t damage her heart. You aren’t the reason she cannot fully love or trust.

But you are the one she pushes away. You are the one who tries to get close to her, to love her, but fails. You are the one she won’t turn to when she’s in pain, the one she won’t talk to when she feels alone, the one she won’t draw near to when she needs someone the most.

You are the one she hurts, because she is hurting.

And you don’t deserve that.

I know what that does to your heart. I know of the times you are so damn frustrated at not knowing what to do. I know you feel like no matter how much you love her, it will never be enough. I know you are exhausted at times, and are not sure how much more you can take of this storm. I know you feel confused and sometimes none of it makes sense and you lay awake at night and wonder if it’s worth it.

But the thing is, you’re still there.

You’re still there because something tells you this is worth it.

It’s difficult for me to tell you how to best love the woman who has been to hell and back. No situation is ever the same, and I have not the mind and heart of a man in your shoes.

But this is what I can tell you.

My original article was not written to condone abuse of any kind. Our society is vocal when it comes to domestic violence where women are the victims, but far less vocal to speak of men who are abused by women. It’s real, and it happens, and I understand how my article may have been interpreted in this respect and how that may have confused and upset you. But abuse is never okay, no matter from a man to a woman, or a woman to a man.

There is a difference between a woman who is hurting and inadvertently hurts others as she works through her pain, and a woman who justifies hurting others because she has been hurt, so that makes it okay. There is a difference between a woman who is willing to acknowledge that she has hurt others, who seeks forgiveness and redemption, and who strives to do better, and a woman who plays the victim card, blames others, and does not seek to change her ways but expects others to be her punching bag. There is a difference between a woman who struggles to love but does her best to give all she can to the relationship, and one who merely expects, takes, and gives nothing in return.

I know sometimes the lines can seem blurred, and because of this you struggle to know whether to stay or leave. But you are not obligated or responsible to stay there in the face of abuse. You must still, always, protect your heart. The woman who has been to hell and back needs to be responsible for her own healing. It’s not an easy journey, nor a fast one. There are many hard days, many times she will get stuck and not know the way forward. But the important thing to consider is that she is trying – for herself, for you, for your relationship.

No-one can tell you whether to stay or leave, only you can determine what you see in her heart, whether you see growth and change and promise, or whether you merely feel like her doormat. To love a woman who has been to hell and back is not easy. But it should never mean abuse, lack of respect, lack of boundaries, or that you become a scapegoat for someone who is unwilling to heal. This is something you must be able to understand the difference between in order to answer the question of whether you should stay or leave.

I can tell you that you are not responsible for fixing her, nor does she want you to. Men are fixers, and I understand it’s in your nature to want to make this better; make her better. But this is her journey. This is her pain. Her healing will not be pretty. At times she will be the hurricane and you will need to be the storm shelter – let her rage, let her anger and her fury and her pain unleash from her heart, let the weight of the trauma she has stored in her body for so many years come undone. Don’t fight it, don’t stop it, don’t fix it. Just be that safe place for her to come home to when the storm ends and the tears begin. You cannot fix her, you can only love her.

I can tell you the woman who has been to hell and back has a story written on her heart. A story which says everyone who should have protected her, didn’t. Everyone she trusted, hurt her. Everyone she loved, left her. She waits for you to continue the story, to be the next person to reject her, abandon her, hurt her. She expects it. She thinks it’s only a matter of time. And this is why she pushes you away, hurts you, leaves you, when you have only ever loved her. She doesn’t believe she is worthy of a love like yours, and believes it’s only a matter of time until you realise this too.

You asked me what it means to love harder.

It means you will need to be better than anyone else at love. It means you will need to love with more strength, more patience, more grace, more determination, more understanding, more perseverance. It means you will need to love her more than anyone else has before or will again. It means you will need to love her until she understands what love is, and believes in a love she’s never known.

It means you will need to love her hard enough to be the one to re-write the story on her heart.

But dear man, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t everything she needs, and didn’t have everything it takes, to love the woman who has been to hell and back.

Author: Kathy Parker

(With permission)

Please check out Kathy’s blog at :

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  1. Dear thanks for this article.
    I loved her and still loving her .and by moments I’m feeling stupid with that situation.i loved her with all my strength soul and she says that she did too.i married her and was araising and taking care protecting her and her two orphans I love like my own kids.she moved from Australia to live with me and I loved her more and more.we were happy and satisfied .she left me cruelly after cheating on me with a bastard I was trusting as he was the saxophone teacher of the kid.she started abusing me right in the beginning as she was accusing me having an affair with my secretary when I was not.i did huge things to ensure her and make her trust me trust my love for her .nothing works even she knows that she is the one I love and no way I had any affair .by the past she cheated on the father of the kids with the guy cross the street and went to tell her previous husband (my friend) when he was dying from stomach cancer.she confesses that to me before we get married and I trusted her redemption.i gave all I could I loved her and her kids who became mine.i tried to forgive her as I know she bipolar and I wanted to help her.she started insultin ignorin blackmailing confused and keep accusing that I’m the one who destroys evrything .she says sorry timidly as she knows obviously that she does the biggest mistake ever and she does it twice then .according to her religion(she s muslimah) she knows that it’s a big sin but says Allah will forgive her as he kinows what’s in her heart …!i m devastated and in a big pain since a year and half confused and don’t know what to do !i don’t know if I have to move on or keep trying to get her back when she doesn’t let me any chance even I know that she is in pain too.we were promising tick and thin .i was promising eternal love .shes Australian and living thousands miles away .
    Please help.

    1. Hurting indeed commenter Arraki..betrayal…it depends on you if you can still forgive her and forget about what she did …but ask yourself- how long can you trust her much again? Pray for God’s guidance and enlightenment…

  2. This choked me up, as I am living it. I love my extremely difficult wife more than words can ever say. It will never be sufficient though to gain her trust completely though I’m obviously not those from her past that have traumatized her so deeply.

    1. Good comments commenter Spots…marriage may not be perfect but a safe haven as we journey life….with somebody…

  3. I’m in tears at every word I read, and love my sweetheart with all my heart and soul, I’m the one who is confused the who has a question mark over my head and heart constantly, the one who does react but never a second goes by in my life that I don’t love her and is constantly in my thoughts, my heart yerns for peace for my sweetheart J.V.H thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your thoughts. J.J.S

  4. Thank you. I was going to forward this to her to maybe give her some insight on what she is doing. Then reading on I saw that I am too damaged and feel some of the same things she might be feeling. Like everyone that was supposed to be there for me hasn’t showed it. Its soo tough and feel alone in this. To make things more confusing we have a beautiful 6 week old daughter. And our 1 year marriage anniversary is tomorrow. What a messed up year to celebrate. She wants to do nothing while I went to get a payday loan and went to the jewelry store before finding out it’s a super sad day for her not a celebration that we are together. Fact of the matter is that I did give up and came to the conclusion that my boundaries were stepped over way too far and way too often no matter how much I voiced it, they were trampled on repeatedly. Signed divorce papers then told of our baby on the way. Well I’m here and was told that the only reason is because of our daughter. Where there is truth to that, I was hoping for us to be able to give this innocent baby a chance at a family together. Two parent’s together. Something I never remember is both parents in the same room ever. Don’t know what is the right move. Dont know to even give the gifts tomorrow. Dont know that she even wants me here. I give it to God.

    1. I pray commenter Christopher that you would still be able to save your marriage….sad to read your sharing…hurting….yes- pray and entrust everything to God.

  5. blinded July 25, 2017 Reply
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    This really hit home for me my wife is also bipolar and she does the same thing she always says I’m verbally abusive and im not I dont curse at her or insult her i merely call it how I see it and its always i don’t say anything without being mean and she will talk about her feelings and when i say something im ignored because she doesn’t feel good she has been on a trip to her home town and when she was there she didn’t really call me she called me crying asking me for money in which i told her to call me if she needs more money plus i gave her money for her trip i think she cheated.i feel it .plus she talks to guys behind my back i don’t care about it what i did care about it is how she treated me when i was messaging my friend that’s a girl.i was only messaging her with advice about her problems.but i still get it for that .she doesn’t admit anything still about what i know i call her our on her lies and she’s quick to leave me .she always does this without no remorse.nothing. im the problem she says .im about to leave her it wasn’t like this in the beginning she straight up did a 180 on me .i wish she would just come clean or situationship plain ol hey I’ve lied to you in the past im sorry here’s why .but nothing im so confused but i don’t think i have any more feelings to go if she leaves again im done.

  6. Nice poetry….super nice article….for commenter blinded- as long as you did your best to keep the relationship- ok…but if you can no longer tolerate your disparities- wish you separate peacefully….

  7. I thought it was the guy who wrote this article because it said about understanding and I know. My mistake this is woman`s writing wishing that man can be like that. Dear Kathy its all sound good, so good to be true. I understand that man created to be a protector, provider, companion and all women have these big expectations to the point of disappointment that they can`t find that safe heaven in man. Reality is that is hard to find that ideal man that miss Kathy Parker talking about. Sounds like a big miracle, unrealistic man. We all hurt and many men coming from the hell and back too. So we all need to stand by for each other and love each other through, we all have our bad days because of past hurts. We can`t put too much pressure on the man and have these unrealistic expectations, they can be emotionally broken the same way as women. Its give and take through different seasons in life

  8. darling. I have translated and read the story. I’m very impressed . I really understand you now. If you love me and want to continue with me, I can say that I want to go on with you too. with good and bad moments, with good and bad days. I will be there whenever you need me when you expect support and protection from me. Even when you have a bad moment, I will recall this story. the tears now roll over my cheeks. Marie. because you earned a good relationship. I will be patient for you. but let me help you if you need it. ask me because I do not know otherwise. I want to hug you now princess.

  9. I too have loved a woman who had been to hell and back. I read the first article a year ago. I did try to love harder, to love her more.

    A year has went by. I knew all along what I faced. Narcissism, (after reading this article, not prior to getting involved with her). She had an ex husband that killed himself. What I saw when we first got together 7 years ago. Was a wounded woman. A couple kids that wanted my affection so badly. I fell in love with the whole package. As I was treated as the most wonderful person on earth. That is. Until I needed something, support, empathy, sympathy. My son. Was treated as the scapegoat, her golden children. All the problems were somehow my fault, or his. Not that I am perfect. Far from it. But I am a loving man that doesn’t know how to give up. I gave everything to them. All my heart. For one problem with my son to arise. And a loving family destroyed. In a matter of two weeks time. Not that it was perfect as I knew the small problems we faced, somehow could never be resolved, the smallest. But I went on everyday. Just being happy with the family we had made. Until…. the night I said, I can’t do this alone. Those were the words that caused this. Because I asked for her help with my son.

    Months later she realized she had a problem. After silent treatments and all the things narcissists do. I’ve researched this for entire year. Most all say to just run, have no contact. Until I found 2 people that said narcissism can be helped. Only and only if they are willing to look within themselves, and admit that they need help. And she did. I agreed to go to a few courses with her, some of the most powerful in the US. I went to her psychologist to try to help. To try to figure out how I can help. For the treatment I received to get worse, and worse, going from moments of clarity, to reverting back, over and over. Knowing if I wanted to help her, and be there, I just had to take it…. during the courses. It’s like the wounded person, turned into…. I don’t know how else to say it…. something evil. I was punished with very things that hurt me most, threatened on a weekly basis, I’d go 3-4 days of every week being given the silent treatment. For her to come back and cry, say she needed me, and my help. So I hung in there. Showing no anger, trying to hide any emotion I had as any, sadness, loneliness, even happiness were triggers. Eventually I was just discarded. No words. No contact. Just trashed like yesterday’s garbage. The kids had been made to hate me, I spent 4 months of counseling and therapy working on repairing the relationships with the girls. The last night I saw the youngest. I finally got a hug. Being happy was my mistake. I told her to tell her how much it meant to me. with tears in my eyes. The comment was made to me, she doesn’t want to live with you. My tears of joy, turned to tears of sorrow. Immediately. “She said there you go again, I can’t take this roller coaster. I’m not going to be with a man I can’t say my feelings to….”. mind you. My roller coaster, looks like a drag strip. Flat and straight. With one direction and one direction only. Never wavering. I left asking a simple question. What scares you more, having me, or not having me?
    By the time I got home. I had texts saying I’d never see them again. That it was over…. and it was. Never to see them again.

    I now have ptsd/trauma bonding. All because I loved a woman that has been to hell and back, now I’m the man that has. Trying to find my way back.

    The moral. You can’t help them. You can’t love someone who doesn’t believe it. No matter how much you love them. Sometimes they just can’t love you the way you love them. Sometimes you’ll only hurt yourself. Of course mine is an extreme case. But the first article “How to live a woman that has been to hell and back” inspired me.

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