They say that a person with a history of physical abuse exudes their painful experiences through their body language. They duck as a reflex reaction if you extend your hand for a handshake too eagerly. They unconsciously slither away when you try to touch them with compassion. They shy away from physical contact, even though they hunger for it to the point of starvation.
The same applies to emotional abuse. A person who was used or manipulated or taken advantage of or lied to or experienced one too many broken promises will emotionally duck as a reflex reaction to any approach you might make. It accumulates on their soul and becomes a part of who they are. They can’t help it. Skepticism becomes one of their root characteristics, and shielding their desires in fear of re-experiencing their past pain becomes a comfort zone.
This comfort zone is ferocious. It is not one that can easily be broken. It requires patience, persistence and consistency, not from the abused person, but from the pursuer. These wounds leave scars that, unlike scars of the flesh, do not stop hurting. Rather, they resemble a gaping wound that simply does not heal. It could be forgotten at times, but once it is triggered, it gushes with blood and throbs with hurt, anger and fear.
Don’t give up on loving someone who is too afraid to let you in. Be truthful at all times, leave nothing unsaid, and go the extra mile every time. The end result will be so beautiful that the effort to tear down those vicious walls will disperse into nothing.
Remember that a person who fears love is a person who needs it the most. Once that wall is torn down, their love is the purest and most generous there can ever be.