The first meaning that comes to mind when I say Tough Love, is that this expression is used when someone treats another person harshly with the intent to help them in the long run. But is it really that simple ?… or does it actually depend on the person perspective?
Lately, I’ve been seeing examples of ‘’Tough Love’’ behavior and it made me reflect on my own actions. I’ve been there, in both roles, as a receiver of ”Tough Love” and as a giver. I came to realize that for me Tough Love actually refers to the willingness on the part of a loving person to do everything necessary to break dysfunctional behavior in a beloved person. But is this really for their highest and best?
Tough Love does not mean abusing another person. And Tough Love that goes on for longer than is required to shake the other out of his or her dysfunction is not love, but cruelty. One of the characters that say you’re actually operating out of love rather than anger, revenge or your ego is that Tough Love will tear you up inside. You’ll want to let the other person back in on his or her old terms. You’ll want, desperately, for the intervention to end. This is probably the hardest thing to do in life. And maybe one of the most necessary. I’ve had to do it with someone I’ve loved. It was very hard, gut-wrenching and, heartbreaking. But, if I say that I love someone, I must be willing to lay down my life for them. I have to be willing to suffer hurt and abandonment, for the beloved to have a chance to live better and stronger.
I ’ve also had my share of being addicted to dysfunctional behavior and sadly it was a very desperate attempt for LOVE. We all get something out of everything we do and broad is the road that leads to the destruction of oneself. When there is an intervention into someone’s behavioral dysfunction it will result in an ending of the relationship more often than it results in a healthy change from dysfunction. Tough Love is fighting very real demons, in more ways than one. A strong dose of Tough Love may be the most appropriate resource to help one get off the road of destruction they are on, especially if they’ve been on it for a while. Often this is more necessary because as humans, we have a tendency not to respond to gentle taps on the shoulder.
The one intervening will often be demonized, rejected, blamed or hated. It is difficult to stay the course when one’s husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, child, parent, best friend, etc. is seeing one as the enemy, rather than as someone who is willing to risk their whole world for the beloved, even when that beloved is not very attractive in his or her addiction.
It is difficult to understand Tough Love because we live in a mush love society and it has practically wiped out the sensible understanding of Tough Love. I sometimes have the feeling that unconditional love has come to mean that we accept without criticism. Isn’t true love taking action, regardless of how hard it is on the one taking action to do so, and regardless of the consequences to the one taking action so that the other can live a less destructive life?
To fully understand the importance of why Tough Love is sometimes necessary, we first need to understand the magnitude of this battle that is a significant part of life. Life will administer whatever amount of Tough Love is necessary so that our behavior will line up with our highest and purest form. Everything in life that is about true growth really sucks and what I’m telling you isn’t even close to easy. It is, however, the only way that we can have full intimacy with another. We must be willing to risk our all ….
When you’ve fully experienced this cycle, how can you ever open your HEART again? The simple answer is this. You open yourself wide to another knowing full well that the other may rip out your HEART ….you go into relationships with the full knowledge of the probability of being hurt. And you go in with your defense’s lowered, and your HEART, which has been put together, again and again, fully vulnerable.
This is true Love and true Spirituality.