August 2017

Tough Love

Tough love is an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run, to use tough love you need to feel actual love for the person behind this action! If it sounds much like I have taken that sentence from the dictionary you would be right, because that’s exactly what I did trying to gain some insight as to what that really means. Much like I was looking for a way to understand the reason this has to happen, and the words on every page made complete sense sitting there in front of me in black and white. Advice is given freely where I could dot the i’s and cross the t’s Ok this should be a breeze if only I follow their direction what was I worried about? Here I sit with all that knowledge aware that this action is taken daily and needed by so many people on this journey of tough love. But in truth I am butting my head against a brick wall almost daily as I try to find my way through this emotional minefield.

As abused children it’s been a little like that for most of our lives or what we were told was love it was just so confusing, simply because we held on tight to any love shown in our direction even at the hands of our abuser. We never really had any understanding of what love was but we knew that however we felt this so called love in any direction, we had to hold on to it with a death grip because that person was showing us affection. However bizarre that sounds to us now as adults whilst no one else seemed to care about us at all how could they care? They never at any time came to our aid. Believe me love doesn’t come any tougher than being drawn towards someone for affection and not understanding desperately looking for some kind of affection, whilst all along feeling so alone that you could be on a dessert island looking for something at that time we didn’t even know we were missing.

The problem with this tough love is that unlike a flat piece of paper where those words could have been written across our consciousness, we are going to be effected emotional because of this action taken even when we try pushing our feelings and emotions into our subconscious. We are armed with the knowledge this tough love that’s needed would be aiming at those that are engraved in our hearts but that’s what this tough love is right? What is forgotten or explained is that you yourself will be affected greatly by this choice you may be forced to make.

I guess we only ever take this action as a last ditch chance to show the person involved that something has to change, because we can no longer accept the treatment coming our way it’s almost like it has become their pastime. We’ve tried everything else to no avail they just don’t seem to see the pain they are causing us; in truth do they even see what they are doing? A hard emotion felt so deeply so we question ourselves with do they even care? And in that instant there we are back sitting within our childhood. I felt my heart strings being pulled by that statement because no one is immune to this situation during our lifetime. So it seems that this tough love will always go both ways because within it we have nowhere to hide from the love felt towards that other person it’s no easy task!

We lose so much during this time whilst hoping greatly that in time they will have an infusion of understanding seeing what needs to be addressed, can they find their way back to the straight and narrow? Because all we can do is to sit aimlessly by. On every occasion when this direction of choice is needed it’s always felt by so many other people in all innocence, but still they are embroiled and a shadow is implemented on their own memory and their emotions felt within are it seems unavoidable. But how can that be right? Quite simply because our love radiates in so many directions causing upset by default it seems without intention to the innocent, wow those words are really hard to read never mind being within this situation where innocence is so easily taken away by the thoughtless actions of others.

Tough love is something at times all we have left open to us but it’s such a hard choice to make, armed with the knowledge of all the above felt deeply within but also knowing it’s no longer avoidable. I guess all we can take from its arrival is that you love that someone deeply enough to feel the pain of your own actions also, because in truth tough love would never be implemented unless we love that someone immensely. It’s not difficult to see why it’s simply because they matter if they didn’t why in all probability we would want to take that journey? Walking away without a second thought would be easier but that love you feel for another has your feet nailed to the floor, because loving and likening someone in the here and now when that choice is decided upon is such a different emotion. But there is no doubt that you need to walk in with your eyes wide open and excepting a hurricane of emotion that will floor you completely. Once initiated somehow those nails that were holding you firmly in place within their lives are extracted with such finesse and precision that you miss it completely. An action in which you will find yourself no longer in possession of that nail gun hell you can’t even find the box of nails! Your choice has initiated a reaction and you better hold on to your hat it’s going to be a white knuckle ride and one in which you no longer have any control.

In so many ways tough love by definition is showing us the depth of our own love for another in essence we are making a choice to put our own feelings aside, in the hope that this choice will help that another see just how their choices are affecting you and also those around them. Sometimes when a different guise of love arrives it can be from an unexpected direction, but that doesn’t mean anything other than we forgot to look in the right direction needed at that time. It seems at times for all concerned all we can do is to walk away in the other direction and it hurts like hell because this tough love is always felt both ways.

A change in their direction is needed and they are the only ones with access to that map……………

Control

Well, it’s been a while since my last piece I guess that’s because I found myself once more within just such a situation, it’s also the driving force for this piece and as it unfolds that will become obvious. The last few weeks this emotion for me has been really tested to almost breaking point, it was a real surprise for me as I thought that I had seen the last of that emotion and its effect on me to this degree, but it seems that there is always someone ready to shake your timbers from the rooftop for their own game or gain. As abused children, we are somehow compelled to keep an eye on our rear and our backs to the wall, looking back for us is a knee-jerk reaction because we know all too well the magnitude of the things that may creep up on you. It’s so hard not to look back there was a point in my life that it seemed my head was continuity on full rotate in an aim to catch whomever at the act. We spent many years trying to control this emotion and some of us never regain that control again even with the most trusted of friends. We feel controlled or manipulated even when there is no cause to do so it’s just so easy to let that emotion back into our lives, and for the most without any real cause or intent from others. But there is that pull on our invisible strings of power of which we are never going to let happen again right? Hey, it took us years to find any sort of control of ourselves or over ourselves so whoever is trying to pull our strings can go to hell!! Sound familiar? It sure does for me.

The problem is that over time we can go from feeling controlled to wanting to be in control of everything and everyone one around us, sadly this reaction sits inside of us watching our six for that inevitable battle just around the next corner. We really need to look at how we make that change of being controlled and knowing clearly that becoming the controller is just as destructive. As I write these words I feel every one of them like an old battle scar that for so long I kept picking at never allowing it to heal, I guess it’s a sharp reminder now that lingers deep within me that took a lot of inner work for me to see the difference of all that I have stated above. Because make no mistake there is a very big difference between taking back the control of ourselves and becoming the controller because that is also fundamentally wrong. Those words may leave a bad taste in many a mouth but this is a question we must ask ourselves if at times we are guilty of. But it’s just so damn hard to find that equilibrium between the two without questioning ourselves with are we being controlled or are we being controlling? So we just better head for that wall positioning ourselves well and protect our rear firmly against it.

But there is a different kind of control that we never really see coming from those that have walked beside us many times without incident, simply because they are someone that we trusted with our demons never knowing that they would use them against us. They have knowledge of our ups and downs watching us at our darkest point and the effect our past has inflicted upon us. They are family or someone that you never thought would use that knowledge for their own gain but in reality, they may not be all that they seem, and they know just where to push that dagger in your most painful of parts. Your vulnerabilities have always been on show to them and they know just how to tear you apart from the inside-out.

For myself, I recently found out just how painful having that knowledge can be, overly more I had to face the fact that this was something that I had allowed to continue for much too long. Overly more, through my uncontrollable fear of losing those that I love so deeply they knew just what to take from me, and they were happy to do just that if I did not capitulate. I however needed to push that emergency stop button because I recognised that to let it continue I would cease to be, as time passes (although painfully) I now feel that they can only ever take from me that which was never really mine to include my happiest memories, and I’m trusting that in time they will find a way back to me. I’m not talking here about a casual acquaintance a friend or even a partner but someone with a bond to me in a way I never thought or wanted to think them capable of, but maybe I just wanted to see it that way because the other option was unthinkably painful to me. To demand from another whilst armed with the tools to hurt deeply is something that takes me right back to that being controlled, faced with a choice that once again I would never be in the winners’ seat. Whichever decision I had to make it was not going to be an easy one and I would stand to lose whichever way I was to choose.

I knew that I would hit the ground hard I was never under any illusion that it was ever going to be a soft landing for sure on either decision, but it was one that I had to make it had gone on for so long that oddly I had not really noticed or maybe in truth I didn’t want to acknowledge it. But within that truth when I honestly pull back the veils of delusion I had been looking at it square in the face for so many years. I had to make a stance because I was left with no other choice I had to quite simply jump or continue to be pushed with full knowledge that there may not be a way back for me. I won’t bore you here with the details because it’s my own pain to work through myself and out of it to the other side, it may be that in time and trust in my decision something will alter with the passage of time but over that, I have no control. My aim here is to share my experience and I’m sure it is recognisable to many “so you don’t need to start pulling on your heart strings “ it just helps us all to understand that someone else out there has been going through or maybe even still be going through a controlling situation themselves. So it’s really a reminder that as with many things in life you have many a kindred soul freely giving you both empathy and understanding through their own story to tell.

Control enters our lives in so many situations and they can be quite diverse in structure, invading our lives at times that we are not aware of until the control erupts out of all control. There is the control that we were under as children through our abuse, controlling everything from and around a scared and unworldly child. It’s not only the abuse that we are receiving but also the control over not being able to tell your secret, control over every part of our lives always with the knowledge impregnated deep within that we have no control over the situation. There is control of our decisions as we are always second-guessed making us alter the things we would like to do for ourselves as we are told “it’s better if you do it this way” That the friends you choose to include in your life are not good for you or spending time with them upsets that person we love through their controlling instinct.

There is a deep-seated control that for me was so very difficult to deal with but it seems after many years I find myself there, the control of blackmail or the remove of those you love deeply if I did not comply. There is the control of your time your money your every choice as to what and whom you want to include in your life because you always thought that you needed to be available to those people at the drop of a hat. We are controlled this way as a residue of the control in our childhood where we were not allowed to make choices of our own at all. It’s like we are somehow expecting it never really paying it any attention or feeling that it’s wrong for us to be used this way, which in itself is imposed upon us through an open door that we have never really closed behind us. Words like domination, command, and regulation all spring to mind when we look at this situation clearly, but there comes a time when that is the only option “to close that door I mean” it becomes the only thing left open to us even with the threat of what our actions may ignite, just because we ourselves want a life that we envisage. At some point in our lives, we need to make a stand or we will always be that puppet on a string controlling everything we do, from the way we wish to live our lives to even controlling of the words that may come out of our mouths. I, of course, can’t speak for you but I’m finally done with this game of control and with the rest of my life however long that may be I will do be and see whomever I wish, the realisation was so difficult to deal with but I am now in a much stronger stance and situation simply by recognising me in my own right for the first time in so many years of being controlled. Through this situation, I found that even though I thought I had firmly closed that door many years back there was still the turning of the key in the lock that needed to happen.

So you see control wears many hats and does not mind digging about in the dirt seemly not minding the smell of the garbage, one can only hope that after a time others will recognise that dump site for themselves and recognise just how wrong they acted. There is nothing that we can do to influence the situation either way so we are faced with the choice of allowing them to control us once again by capitulating, or recognising that even for them this stance that you are taking is right one although it’s lost to them today. Life will always continue to throw up these types of situations where we may once more begin to feel controlled, but equally, we must see that not see that not everyone wants to control us and know the difference and recognise it. It’s a little like a juggling act which takes practise and perfects with time and it’s inevitable that you are going to drop a few balls, but unlike the juggler, we have to watch them roll away down the hill because they were always on the downward slope. They will never roll up the hill towards us until there is recognition, that holding control or demands over others is wrong however these situations manifest. But that’s their own growth and learning and we can’t do that for them and to be honest we shouldn’t.

Because a lesson learnt and imparted by others can’t and will never be a lesson learnt………