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……………