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3 Principles of Love for a Trauma Survivor

Do you know how to love a broken heart?

Image by Toa Heftiba via Unsplash

“Embracing and understanding my sexual trauma, through moral inventory, has increased my desire to experience all forms of love as the whole woman I am today.” ~Rebecca L. Edwards

My heart has been cracked open and broken. The only way I could see to mend the damage was to deal with my sexual trauma-head on. Through my own experience of ‘doing the work’ I have found that my old way of looking at love was, and still can be, toxic. To open the door to true love, I must be willing to look at how I want to love and be loved. By looking in the mirror and forgiving myself for what I did not know back then, I am slowly beginning to repair my broken beliefs about this crazy thing called love.

Learning how to love means that I will not fall for just anyone, not anymore. Because I was denied healthy love lessons in my most formidable years, I always felt desperate to find love and to be loved even if it was unhealthy “so-called love”. True love will find me when my love barometer has been properly re-calibrated and the conditions of my heart are favorable. And, my higher power will deliver the right person to me, at the right time. The hardest part is focusing on me, all of me-quirks, flaws and all, until true love decodes my cryptic heart. 

So, this is what I say to my future love:

“I only ask that you bring your true self to every situation, like I will. In the right relationship there is no shame in exposing who we really are. We will have the space to share our deepest insecurities, expose our deepest truths, and embrace relationship growth in a non-threatening, healthy way. If we have found the right love, our hearts will be sheltered from the storms of life together as we lay down, and rise up, to fully embrace one another.” 

The 3 Principles

1) Hear me– when I tell you I am afraid, that I am sad, or that I just need space to feel what I am feeling. Hear my heart speak, and support my efforts when I am haunted by words that must be written from the pages of my soul. Hear me when I say that I have given you my heart despite it being bruised, vulnerable, and extremely fragile. Hear me when I say I love you, but I must put myself first today so that I will stay emotionally balanced. Hear me when my eyes say what my mouth cannot. Hear me when I say that I respect you, even when you do not feel worthy because of how your past haunts you. Hear my words so that I can hear yours.

2) Feel me– when I want to be near you, but need space between us. Feel me by responding to my request to “just hold me” with a selfless understanding that adorns my face with kisses and my body with tenderness. Feel that I have trauma that changes my personality at times, but my heart still beats strongly with unconditional love for you. Feel each inhale, and exhale, as I gently whisper to my scared self that I am safe in your nurturing arms. Feel me when I cry, and let me feel you cry with me. Feel my need for you to softly wipe away my tears. Feel me by being strong when I feel weak and bold when I am meek, and I will reflect this back to you.

3) Show me- you love me by doing kind, thoughtful things that say you have my best interest in the forefront of your busy mind. Show me you care about what keeps me up at night running scared from lingering shadows of darkness. Show me how you can help me remove what stands in the way of my success, especially when I am frozen with fear. Show me that I matter by learning so much about me that you know what I need before I have to ask. Show me by being patient when I disagree with you or challenge your beliefs. Show me by guiding me when I feel lost, confused, or disappointed. Show me by honoring the way I need to be loved; deeply, loudly, softly, genuinely, creatively, romantically, passionately, and completely. Show me your strong enough to be my man and tender enough to stay my man. And please, let me go if our souls ever stop growing in the presence of one another.

I’ve been told, over and over again, that how we treat ourselves sets the standard for how others will treat us. “We are all worthy of true love, nurturing, and respect while feeling completely cherished for who we are, not who we were in the past.” Trauma survivors may have the hardest time realizing this. What we believe, we will see. What we feel, we will experience. What we give, we will receive.

Originally published at www.rebeccaledwards.com

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