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What Is The Tough Love Approach

Where Can We See It And What We Should Know About It

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It is very likely that just when hearing the words “tough love,” you connect them with something negative. And that would be completely understandable - you see, tough love is pretty much a double-edged sword.

It may come from the best intentions but ultimately do more harm than good if misused. However, if the situation is manoeuvred correctly, this method can do wonders.

Here we briefly explain what exactly tough love is and what are its most important aspects.

What Is Tough Love?

Tough love is the act of treating people sternly with the intention of helping them in the long run. Here’s a very famous quote depicting what exactly tough love is: “I don’t care how this makes you feel towards me. You may hate my guts, but I love you, and I am doing this because I love you.”

This sounds good, but one should always be thinking about what the other person is feeling and whether or not certain boundaries have been unknowingly bypassed.

It is also crucial to note that tough love does not mean condoning or acting in a rude, controlling, or abusive manner.

Because of these and some other ways tough love can go south, it is very likely to be scared of using this method because you may be too harsh or upset with someone you care about. However, if you are acting from a place of love and you take them into consideration, this fear remains unjustified.

When Is It Used?

There are many different behaviours that are considered tough love.

The first thing that likely comes to mind when you think about it, however, is the relationship between a friend and an addict.

The way tough love manifests most commonly in these circumstances is to knowingly withhold certain care from a person who is currently acting on their addictions in hopes of making them change.

In these situations, it’s really hard to say whether you are more likely to succeed or fail. Every individual and every addiction is different, which means that for some people this may be the best option, while for others - completely the opposite.

One of the other popular usages of tough love is concerning children. The most common way this manifests is by sending so-called “troubled teens” to boot camps or reformatory schools.

These places have a notoriously bad track record in actually holding onto their sales pitch. Not only do they teach kids how to avoid the rules even better, but they inspire an even bigger hatred of order and the people who are enforcing it.

Not only that but some of the teachers have been known to step over boundaries and abuse their students. A great alternative to this form of teaching is one in which a psychologist helps the student either in a private or group setting.

Romantic relationships also sometimes include tough love.

When everything’s going downhill, it’s often a common practice to set some ground rules and to try and enforce them. This may be seen as a tough-love strategy similar to the one concerning people who are addicted.

Again, like in that case, it is strictly unique whether or not this will be successful in the short or long term.

Finally, but maybe most importantly, self-discipline is also a form of tough love.

Making sure you get enough exercise, clean your house and eat correctly can all be achieved by this method. All forms of self-care need some sort of discipline and rules, which is where tough love comes in.

Establishing healthy boundaries both in your personal and professional life is also included in this way of thinking. Even when it comes to yourself, though, it is also possible to go too far.

Don’t stress yourself too much, and try to keep your expectations in check in order not to burn out and experience the negative effects of tough love.

To conclude

Tough love is a very complex method. It can lead to a lot of good, if done correctly and if every part of the process has been talked about and understood by both sides.

It, however, can also have unexpected negative effects which may not be caught on time. This is why it should be used with extreme caution.

The key to using tough love in a positive way is to neither tolerate every sort of behaviour nor be too harsh. The only way to achieve that is to make sure both sides know what has to change and be in agreement concerning how that should happen.

With this explanation, we can summarize that in order for tough love to work, it should be far more love than tough.

Once you have that balance, you can really do wonders with this method.

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