Clare Crawley on How Now-Ex Dale Moss Helped Her Through the Trauma of Her Childhood Abuse
"It still affects my relationships, I had relationship after relationship after relationship that I chose, with men who didn't value me, because I never felt good enough," Crawley said on the Facebook Watch series.
She continued, "And for so long, I hated the word victim, I never felt like it. I didn't want to share with anybody what I went through — I withheld it from relationships, even from friends, because I didn't want to be looked at as the victim of 'oh she's doing this because of that or she's acting this way because of that,' but it was only till I shifted my mindset of, like, I'm not a victim, but I'm a survivor."
The hairstylist said that all changed when she met Moss, 33, on the ABC dating series. (The pair got engaged after just two weeks of filming, but a source recently told PEOPLE they broke earlier this month.)
"I went in, having true love for myself, loving myself wholly, and not only walked away with my self love but I walked away with a man that loves me just as deeply," Crawley told hosts Gloria Estefan, Emily Estefan and Lili Estefan of being on The Bachelorette.
"We got engaged after 12 days," she added. "I tell everybody if I would have waited and seen it through to the very end, it still would have been him."
Moss then made an appearance on the episode to discuss how he supported Crawley when she first told him about her past abuse.
"When this first came up, I think the biggest thing is just having a level of understanding," he said. "And it's so important to feel comfortable that you can really open up and share your story, your family story, everything that brought you to this point. So, it's been a real level of growth for me as a man, and she's really brought this out to me that I don't need to fix every problem."
He continued, "I grew up in a household where my dad was out of the picture early on. I have four sisters that, as a young boy and the man of the house, I was always hoping to protect. But this isn't like when I was growing up, sometimes you just have to be there and be strong and be right beside."
Gloria, 64, inquired about the couple's intimacy, noting that "a lot of survivors of abuse experience real difficulty with intimacy."
"I think it was a naturally occurring thing with the two of us," Crawley said. "I felt instantly safe with him, I felt instantly connected with him, and healing from childhood abuse, sexual abuse, it's not linear. It goes up and down and affects different parts of our lives and so it affects not only our intimate relationship but when we get in disagreements I noticed myself, raising my voice a lot and he's asked me before like, 'Why do you yell sometimes?' and I tell him I was silenced as a child for so long, I feel like I need to be heard now, I feel like I want to be heard now, and I feel like when I'm not being heard, you will hear me."
"How have you been able to help her through this trauma, like are there specific things, is it just being there for her? Do you talk about it a lot or is it really not necessary at this point?" Gloria asked Moss.
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"I think more than anything, I've always wanted her to feel safe and secure and protected, and we've talked about this a lot, I never wanted her to feel pressured. I never, ever want her to feel as if I'm too aggressive or anything of that nature," he said.
"You know when somebody has good intentions with you — safe space, safe relationship," Crawley said, later adding, "I've always said I wanted a man like my father who was very strong, very compassionate and had that tenderness and it's always been a really hard thing to find because it's almost like polar opposites."
She also said earlier that Moss was the one who encouraged her to share some of her story publicly over the summer. In July, she wrote in an Instagram caption that she was "a child of sexual abuse" while opening up about her decision to get her breast implants removed.
"I was scared to death, to post about it, to talk about it," she recalled. "I knew with sharing my journey with getting my breast implants out, it was going to open up a can of worms. And I remember sitting on the bed and telling my fiancé, Dale, 'I want to share this, I'm ready to share this but I'm scared,' and he told me, 'That's even the more reason for you to share it.' And he said to make your mess your message, a Robin Roberts quote."
New episodes of Red Table Talk: The Estefans premiere on Facebook Watch Thursdays at 12 p.m. ET.
If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 connected to a certified crisis counselor.