Listen to her when she has the courage to sit you down, to tell you how she is feeling. When she talks, give her your undivided attention. Let her know that her words are important to you, that it is okay for her to open up. Make her feel safe.
Listen to the way her voice breaks, notice how her eyes are filling with the tears she’s trying to hold back. Over flowing with emotion, now more than ever she needs you to listen. To hear every word she is saying and understand the way she is hurting.
Listen, you will hear her heart re-break as she replays all the ways you have hurt her. Her guard is down, becoming completely vulnerable. Laying everything that fills her mind, thoughts that keep her up at night on the table in front of you.
Your reaction is everything during this crucial time. Do not get mad, Do not turn away. Do not try to justify why you may have done what you did or say what you said. More important than anything else, do not raise your voice at her. Ever.
Making her feel as though the way she is hurting is invalid will only shut her down. She will bottle up all her feelings. Starting to pull away, the connection you two once had will slowly start to unravel. Once you make her feel this way, everything will start to change.
“It’s Fine” , “It is Okay” , “I don’t care” ; become regular statements. She’s pulling away. You cut her down. Every little thing you do now becomes so much bigger; the little things you say to ‘pick’ on her, how you ‘joke’ around, she will hold on to all of these moments. These will start to pile up.
Until one day she can not take it anymore. She won’t look at you with the same love in her eye, the way she did before. She’ll begin to see you in a different light. You will no longer be someone she desires. Your fingers running across her skin will no longer send chills down her spine. She’ll only wish you would keep your hands to yourself.
Once she realizes she has the strength, she will turn and walk away. Gathering what is left of her heart, out the door she will go. You can call all you want, beg her to come back, tell her you are sorry, you can try to reassure her that this time you will change. Your efforts will fail. You will realize what it feels like to be ignored.
It takes an unbelievable amount of strength, to listen to you beg and cry for her to come back. It will take all her might to ignore you. She will hang up and a few tears might fall, she might let a tear fall as she hits ignore again and again. She will not break. She will remember all the times you made her cry, how you stopped coming to hold her, how her tears no longer made you feel remorse. She will remember how you cut her down, made her feel invalid.
All you had to do was listen. Take the time to sit with her, hold her as she cried. All you had to do was hear the words that broke her, to change the way you speak to her, the way you make her feel when she comes home after a long day at work. Building her up instead of cutting her down would have made the difference. Instead she will learn to love herself again.
She will build herself back up. One day she will find that she doesn’t cry over the thought of you anymore. The way you hurt her will no longer make her cringe. She will find herself smiling, a true happy smile, for the first time in a long time.
All you had to do was listen.
But it is too late now.