We've all run into them at one time or another -- the "Walking Wounded" -- women who've been hurt by men in the past and carry psychological damage and unresolved anger into present relationships.
Sometimes these women are still reeling from a nasty break-up or a recent negative experience with a man; sometimes the hurt is worse -- the aftermath of abuse.
No matter what the cause, the romantic lives of the Walking Wounded are steered by their damaged psychology -- they live in worlds of chaotic emotion where logic has no place. The best of them need time to heal and regain their equilibrium and trust; the worst are experts at self-deceit and self-sabotage, often absolutely blind to their behavior and its consequences on their lives.
Here are a few telltale signs that you're dealing with one of the Walking Wounded:1- She's on emotional roller coaster
One day she's your best friend, the next she won't even speak to you; one night she's a sexual animal, the next she's as cold as January in Siberia. And all -- from your point of view -- for no apparent reason.2- She constantly evades you
With women like this, it's always one step forward and 10 steps back. She will show interest -- even extreme interest -- and then suddenly and inexplicably become unavailable. No matter what you do, no matter how often you call her, she's gone -- and you won't see her again for weeks or even months.
Then out of the blue, she'll reappear with a big smile on her face, ready to go. And the whole vicious circle will start all over again, leaving you perplexed and bewildered.3- She wants what she can't have
She reacts emotionally to the hurt in her past. She has all the normal biological urges to be with a man, and genuinely wants to have a successful relationship, but the very second her emotions are aroused, the lurking demon of her buried hurt rears its ugly head and she runs away.
In her psychology, relationships equate pain. The sad fact is, the nicer you are, the faster she'll run. This is why many of the Walking Wounded seek out emotionally unavailable men.4- She doesn't do as she says
She'll tell you she loves you and wants to do everything in her power to make sure the relationship lasts. Then she'll start treating you like crap.
She'll tell you she's wants a commitment, then she'll cheat on you.
Don't take her at her word; instead look at her actions and judge her on that instead.
She's mad at men in general and someone hurt her badlyÂ…5- She's angry at men
Many of the Walking Wounded are extremely angry at men. They blame us for all their problems. Men are "jerks" and "users." They will deliberately get a man sexually aroused and then walk away, just to punish him for owning a penis.
In business, these women are jagged-edged, ball-busting bitches who would stab a man in the back without the blink of an eye or even a twinge of conscience. Sometimes they are radical feminists, always itching for a fight and constantly on the lookout for a sexual harassment lawsuit.
When a woman's hurt is milder, she may sublimate her inner anger by gravitating toward female-dominated careers (to limit her opportunities for meeting men), or by filling up every moment of her day and night with work, classes, sports, etc.6- She has a history of abuse
Untreated victims of any kind of abuse are often emotionally unstable and harbor lots of inner pain, which manifests itself in their romantic lives. The Walking Wounded are frighteningly erratic (often through no fault of their own) -- you just never know what you're going to get. One minute they love you and the next they're picking fights or screaming at you for some imagined transgression on your part.
They are often unsoundly jealous, and will accuse you of having affairs without any evidence. Sometimes they're overly sexual, but many times they're not sexual at all, or certain sexual behaviors remind them of the abuse, making them freak out during lovemaking. These are women in dire need of professional therapy.is there hope?
Is there anything you can do to help a member of the Walking Wounded and establish a successful relationship? It really depends on the severity of the damage.
First, throw logic out the window -- it just won't work. You have to find a way to reach her at an emotional level.
Listen carefully to her when she expresses her feelings -- the Walking Wounded will often verbalize a lot of information about what's happening inside their heads. Be careful not to interrupt her with logical advice -- it's best to be a sympathetic ear.
If her case is mild, time will be your ally -- just treat her kindly and build up her wounded self-esteem. Be patient. What she needs is to learn how to trust men again.
If her case is severe, gently steer her towards getting some therapy -- the damage is sometimes very deep and there's just no other way to help her.bottom line: is she worth it?
Above all, keep it in your pants for a while and be willing to be her friend. Give her some space and emotional breathing room. This is not say you should turn into a wussy-boy eunuch and cater to her whims -- she might not be ready to be sexual with you yet, but she needs every ounce of your male strength and sexuality to lean on.
And make sure you don't take any abuse from her -- set those limits early on and often because she'll test you
Only you can decide if she's worth the time and trouble. If she is, you're probably in for a wild roller-coaster ride. But if you can help her to get her life back, there may be a great reward for your constancy and friendship.Matthew Fitzgerald