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Tough Love

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  • #16
    Well, since I'm picking your collective brains, I should probably answer my own question.

    I think it's necessary, though one always hopes it's not. I personally find it a distasteful thing, but not a "hard" thing since I was a nanny for 12 years and come from the family background I do (where the "adults" rarely act it).

    Ideally, I wouldn't e in that situation at all, because people woudl take responsibility for themselves and hold themselves accountable. But the ideal is not reality and whether I'm a leader of a group or a lay person, my first priority is the health and safety of the community. I take on that role, because it's in my nature to be such.

    In my personal practise, community is very important to me and I've seen it torn to shreds because no one stood up and said something was harmful/needed changing. So, now I just try to walk my talk.
    The Sexy Heathen Babe

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    • #17
      I am currently not involved with a group, part of the reason being the abuse of "tough love" and the imbalance of one person being able to use it over the rest of the group but not be on the recieving end of it herself. It resulted, apparently, in more members besides me leaving a situation in which this one person felt justified in meddling in others' relationships, and projecting her own issues onto others, or in dictating what someone's spiritual growth and progress should be. Myself and other members found ourselves dropping into rigid roles, with little room for the discomfort of change, which was seen as a disruption and would earn us some "tough love".

      This was in a supposedly "consenus" group that had been of her founding and happened to meet on her property. While we respected her property and experience, it is simply not a true consensus if one member has more pull than the others, either overty stated or implied, or can interfere on a personal level under the guise of "tough love". Furthermore, even in a true consensus situation, there are some issues that are just personal and nobody's effing business. It just got annoying after awhile, so I lovingly cut contact with her. I honestly don't know what became of the rest of the group. I hope things improved, I really wanted to see that group thrive, and before she crossed the line into invasiveness, I did grow.

      I do not think that she was an intentionally abusive, invasive, or "bad" person. But I do think that she was in need of a little "tough love" herself.
      Last edited by brymble; September 30th, 2007, 01:58 PM.

      Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!

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      • #18
        Originally posted by brymble View Post
        I am currently not involved with a group, part of the reason being the abuse of "tough love" and the imbalance of one person being able to use it over the rest of the group but not be on the recieving end of it herself. It resulted, apparently, in more members besides me leaving a situation in which this one person felt justified in meddling in others' relationships, and projecting her own issues onto others, or in dictating what someone's spiritual growth and progress should be. Myself and other members found ourselves dropping into rigid roles, with little room for the discomfort of change, which was seen as a disruption and would earn us some "tough love".
        To me, that's not "tough love" because there is nothing loving about it, though it does sound very self serving.

        Such abuses are one of the reasons why I created this thread. In my town we have a spiritual predator. She loves to set herself up as the All Knowing Wise Teacher and then put the unsuspecting students through emotional wringers for her own amusement.

        Any suggestions for those on the receiving end as to how to identify the real deal vs. the abuse?
        The Sexy Heathen Babe

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        • #19
          Well...I don't use my feelings as a gauge as to whether I'm being abused or not. Sometimes I have felt hurt, bullied, steamrolled...but that was a defense mechanism because I didn't want to deal with the truth of the matter.

          I think the best way to figure out if someone is applying tough love is if they have a bond with you, truly love you...and are able to express that love before the tough love starts. If they've tried to reach you in a more gentle way first, if they have been there for you through thick and thin...if on other occasions they have offered support.

          Someone who comes in and starts in on you without truly knowing you is after their own ego stroke. It has nothing to do with love, and everything to do with power.
          "The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common:
          instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views,
          which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering."

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          • #20
            i think that it's flawed, and potentially dangerous thinking to assume it's either "tough love" or self-serving abusinveness. As I stated in my post above, I don't think it was her intent to be self-serving or abusive. I think she got caught up in the ego-drama of being an important person in the group, and was no longer conscious of the fact that she had ceased to listen and guide and had begun to manipulate and control. I think that's the greatest challenge to any kind of authority in a group, that unconscious manipulation is just that, unconscious. When the authority figure shifts their focus to other people and away from themselves, they very easily lose awareness of the real issues, and begin to project. But I don't think that's always a conscious or intentional thing. In fact, most of the time, it's not, which in a way makes it all the more insidious.

            Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!

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            • #21
              In a general Pagan context, maybe- between good friends. What other Pagans do in my social group, or whatever- its none of my business. I was brutally honest (in a caring way, of course ) while trying to help a friend with an eating dsorder- while she seemed fine with it, and happy that I cared at the time, she was angry at me for not minding my own business- she had written about it in her 'secret' blog- not so secret when you have mutual friends, eh? We mended fences, but it still was something that I've thought might have been handled in a different way.

              In a group context- I'm in a small close-knit coven. My job as its leader is to do what is best for the group. And if we have a dedicant who rubs everyone the wrong way, or who intimidates people, or who is lazy or talking behind another sisters back- its my job to make sure that stops. Sometimes its explaining that their path lays elsewhere, sometimes its making sure that the problem is corrected and any misunderstanding is cleared up. Many of these instances result in a tough-love approach, and most of the time its REALLY difficult for me.
              Ivy Artemisia
              Twilight Spiral Coven [Site | Facebook]
              Hearth and Hedgerow [Site | Etsy Shop]

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              • #22
                It has been my understanding that "tough love" came about in the 1980's as a way of expressing to someone that, although you love and care for them very much and will support them in the hard work that's to come, "you" collectively are not going to condone support or ignore their destructive behavior any longer and they have two choices, Get help and change the behavior or hit the road. It was most commonly applied by parents of addicted teens in hopes of correcting the problem and it takes courage because there is always the risk that they will "hit the road" but usually by the time this ultimatum was issues life with this person had become so impossible that SOMETHING had to change.

                I can see the need of close knit groups to occasionally employ this with folks whose behavior threatens the survival of the group in whatever way.

                Originally posted by Terra Mater View Post
                Cases of domestic abuse should be reported. If you are a teacher, doctor, or other form of "mandated reporter" you have to report what you know and may have to report if you have even a reasonable suspicion. Check the laws in your area to be sure.
                Regarding mandated reporters, Most of the time we are not mandated to report domestic abuse between ADULTS where both parties are over the age of 18. There is an exception and that's child abuse and in some cases frail elders. that varies from state to state. As much as I abhor domestic abuse including it in mandated reporter law could endanger the victim. It might also motivate the abuser to prevent routine health care from taking place and so I'd be wary of such a law.

                Additionally some legal responsibilities end when one is not at work. One may have a moral duty to report but in NY I'm not a mandated reporter unless I'm at work acting as a reasonable and prudent RN


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