Tough Love

toughlovebookTough Love” is a legacy of the Reagan years. It should have died in the 90’s. But it intruded upon my consciousness the other day when ifonlymommy commented on the mean-spirited expression of some “victims” of the ever-awful psychopaths by saying, “I think tough love is what they were advising even with the harsh words of throw them into an institution and forget about them.” Harsh is exactly what it is. In the book, Toughlove by Phyllis and David York and Ted Wachtel (1982, New York), the chapter entitled Toughlove Is Tough says, “Yes, you do want to abandon that hurtful, rejecting, uncooperative, irresponsible, blaming child who just got himself committed hoping that you’ll pick up the bill. That irresponsible child who held a job for over a year but at Thanksgiving chose to skip his medication, smoke dope, and launch himself into a rage. That rejecting child who lost his job because he toughlove-moviewould no longer do the work, thinking he was too good for everyone in the office, although other Toughlove parents helped him get the job in the first place when he was desperate for employment.” This is the soul of Toughlove.

Yes, Toughlove is tough. But I don’t accept that it is love. It seems to only be directed at those who don’t have much power but who rebel against the rules. In other words, soft targets.

Blaming someone for being  committed to a mental hospital as if serious professionals were mere stooges of the family scapegoat in this charming little fantasy. Assuming he lost his job through his own fault when we all know how shitty people can get at a work place.  What the victims-movement has in common with Toughlove is a deep anger that completely dehumanizes its object. “Like clones stamped out in some satanic laboratory, they share an underlying selfishness and similar ways of demonstrating it.”

kristenPeople who feel victimized by their exes, whether they consider them narcissists or psychopaths, have one “solution” they resort to most often: no contact. There are thousands of websites advising victims of how to go “no contact.” They are discussed in A Psychopath’s Guide to Haters. But I guess it was inevitable that someone would start a site directed at the object of this “no contact” thing. Ask the Love Doctor has a page on How to Respond to Your Ex’s No Contact Rule: How to Respond to Your Ex’s No Contact Rule. The author of this page takes a dim view of no contact. “It’s immature, manipulative and undermines any efforts to have a healthy relationship. If he/she doesn’t see what’s wrong with this approach to resolving conflict, then it’s best that you both move on.” This blog also offers coaching sessions for $70 to help people reconnect with their “ex.” The things we do for love.

Thomas Sheridan, who has said some of the most outrageous things about psychopaths toxic.jpgand who has a page on my blog just for him, has actually shown originality and stepped up to the plate big time in exposing some of the illogic of the usual victims’ pages. Here, he says, “These self-proclaimed ’empaths’ have just found a new slur to compensate for their own life of failure and poor choices. Many (not all) ‘recovery’ forums are filled these anonymous ‘unhinged’ misery mongers who love throwing terms such as ‘psychopath’, ‘spath’ and ‘narc’ around at real people as their own hidden (and devious) identity allows them to indulge their own psychotic delusions/unresolved vendettas without direct consequences.” I am so loving it!
A blog called The Culture of False Oppression — A modern snare: A critical view of unprofessional “abuse recovery” material and “progressive” agenda  includes an article called, “No Victim Blaming” Vs “Tough Love.” Thoughtful examination of both sides of the issues.

Aaron Bacon murdered by sadistic tough lovers

I, myself, have written a hard-hitting indictment of the whole Tough Love phenomena, not only the organization but it’s presentation in the media, the cultural mentality and the rotten fruit that has grown on the poisonous tree which I consider tough love to be. I’m speaking especially of the centers meant for rehabilitation of kids gone “bad.” Especially disturbing are the “wilderness camps” run by non-professionals with unbelievable cruelty and leading to death in some cases. Tough Love in the Media and Society.



5 thoughts on “Tough Love

  1. Good points for sure but the tough love I agree with, mostly, is mild. For example, you have a teenager who has no diagnosis of anything but a normal heathy rambunctious, boundary pushing, teenager, and this teenager keeps getting into major trouble because he’s not afraid of his punishments, knowing this mommy and daddy will be rescuing him, a night in the slammer may be a good idea. No one should “get rid” of a difficult child because they can’t handle them. They shouldn’t ignore the problems either. Truthfully a lot of people can’t afford the therapies needed to help major problems and even then, finding a good therapist is ridiculously hard.
    Regarding marriages, after being cheated on, hit, ignored, emotionally, financially, and emotionally abused after years of being fairy normal, I suggest the a used person should run and cut ties for their own healing. Don’t you? Are you ever abusive in any way to anyone else? Sometimes people have to protect themselves and hope for the best from their loved ones but not be the person helping them. I mean abuse is not ok for any reason. So tough love can be for self preservation. In the cases I know, that would be the case.
    For he case of the elderly narc. There is no reason for anyone to have to endure abuse in their home because she is in need of care. A skilled nursing facility can be a preferred place for someone to get care. That isn’t the worst solution. At least someone would care enough to make sure they are getting car. I think each experience needs their own personal solutions.
    Be caring and loving, be kind to everyone but also be kind to yourself, don’t accept abuse and live a life that you’re proud of. That’s all it’s about.
    Mental disorders don’t define people, actions do. Luckily this empath has lots of empathy for all people suffering even ones that don’t know they are. I mean my husband mainly cares about what he wants, and how things affect him. That sounds so empty to me and I feel for him never understanding the joy I feel from caring for others and considering others feelings. I know how to put myself first but if someone I love needs me I will help them first, because I do care.
    You know?


  2. Hi, ifonlymommy. What tough love did you think was “mild?” The cases I documented were anything but mild. Blaming someone for “getting himself committed to a mental hospital” and ignoring him on holidays (a favorite with ToughLove) hardly strikes me as “mild.” Nor was the agonizing death of Aaron Bacon mild.

    You asked me if I have “abused” anyone. I consider the cases mentioned above abusive, the last one, abusive in the extreme. Between married people, there is a lot of “he said/she said.” The sorts of things that go on within relationships don’t involve the kind of power imbalance that occurs between parent and child or adult and elderly parent. I’m much more sensitive to the misuse of power-over than the give and take that is the material from which love songs are derived.

    Do you consider your husband a narcissist or psychopath? Are you estranged? You ask if I have “abused” anyone. Is that because I’m a psychopath and that is what we do? Have you ever abused anyone? I doubt that anyone is perfect and we have all probably transgressed other people’s rights at times in our lives. I can’t think of any unforgivable sin committed against me although it might appear otherwise to the rest of the world. Some people might consider some of my actions “unforgivable.” I wouldn’t know.

    But, thinking about my life, I don’t think I ever used my power over someone else in such terrible ways as the cases described herein by people wearing “white hats.”


  3. I didn’t mean “have you ever abused anyone” to be offensive although I see now that it can really only been read as that. I apologize for that. I was actually just curious.
    Have I ever abused anyone? No. I’m not perfect but I haven’t ever abused anyone. My husband and I are separated. There wasn’t any much give and take in our relationship. He just took. Was I perfect l, no but in comparison to him, I was a saint. I considered my husband a borderline which is much different from a borderline woman.
    I just think some peoples tough love is mild, I’m saying that’s what I read before. There are cold, heartless people out there but I am not one of them. Hopefully there are more people like me and less of those you referenced in your article. Go to the good.


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