SRS How Do You Like To Be Treated When You Need Help?

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by METALLlC BLUE, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. I read another thread where there was a discussion going on regarding whether to listen and support someone when they are trying to handle a a serious problem and allowing the individual to find their own way with gentle guidance?-- Or is it more useful to use tough love, lecturing them, pushing them, getting frustrated, angry, or even threatening them?

    Here is what Johan had to say. I certainly believe he's right here, but I believe there is a difference between abusing someone, and giving tough love.

    I always side on support. I'm not in a position to ever know what is in someone elses best interest. When people giving insight get to a point that they are invested in the outcome of someone elses issues - that they swear at people, and condscend to someone out of frustration... who - for whatever reason - is unable to handle a problem that appears from the outside looking in to be easy - that from my observation just drives most people into isolation. There are a select few who that I've met which are motivated by "tough love" but ultimately tough love from what I've observed has similar effects to using a drug, or temporarily giving a speed pill. It's an external drive that won't always be present. It may solve surface issues with losing weight, quiting a bad habit, playing a sport, but it doesn't solve biological illness, or past trauma, or other psychological dysfunction or irregularities that lead to the ongoing surface patterns and abnormal behavior or health problem. It doesn't ultimately solve the anylytical portion of the conflict nor provide any sound foundation of value.

    The odd thing about handling emotional and psychological problems is that it's as much an art and an esoteric process as it is an anylytic and systematic rational process. The rational systematic portion is most often non-spoken. It's something the listener uses to compartmentalize and organize and label the patterns and events they're hearing. It's not to be expressed to the person with immediacy. For example: You can have a real rational down to earth conversation with an alcoholic and provide all the sane anyalsis of why they should stop drinking, how to do it, what to do, where to go, when the most support would be available etc...the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How. The alcoholic may shake his head, agree, and even repeat to you that it's exactly what he's going to do. However - rarely if ever does a rationalization of Alcoholism with an alcoholic lead to anything but deeper conflict, and ongoing addiction. Most diseases of the mind have little to do with intelligence and understanding - thus one can't expect to fix or work out these issues by only approaching issues from a "Here is how to do do it and if you don't do it you're just a weak ass whiney pussy who really doesn't want to get well." That's unprofessional in my opinion [whether you're a friend, or a specialist], it's ineffective, and it doesn't make for very good character either.

    Constant tough love only serves to build a house of cards. Plus the vast majority who give it are in the closet with their own mental illness or addictions or other dysfunction. Tough love ought to come from someone who has been there, done that and is now healthy of mind. If they're not, they just come off like a hypocrite to the person they are lecturing and the person just hears blah blah blah.... "Do as I say, not as I do."

    That's my point of view and my experience.

    As the reader: What would you rather have someone provide you if you came to them for help? Does having someone listen, and support, or have someone lecture you and push you - even if they have to call you names and put you down? Which is more effective from your perspective? Obviously sometimes both are necessary to an extent, but there is a fine line between tough love, and downright abuse/cutting someone down.

    When someone is forceful with me, not only do I put up walls, but I consciously push them away as well. I do expect people to be honest, and tactful, but when someone lectures me - nothing steams me faster than having someone repeat concepts I already know and arrogantly assuming that knowing the concept and implementing the concept are the same.
  2. Beezure

    Beezure Go Lightning!! OT Supporter

    Aug 13, 2003
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    As a person going throught a tough breakup of 4 years, i have had both forms provided to me.

    One the "tough love method", was presented by my roomate, who has you stated earlier, has deep issues with women (ex wife) and some issues whith his dead father, Now i believe that some of this helped me suck it up, but then again it never got to the point where he was swearing at me. Just get over it man, and stuff like that.

    Now i got the other end from my family( mostly sisters and You) :bigthumb: who taught me how to deal with my fealings and emotions more . They were both in the same position i was in so they helped imensly.

    So i would say both help, but obviously tough love is needed some times when ur stuck in a rut. :dunno:
  3. Bioanger

    Bioanger Self-Proclaimed moron

    Aug 1, 2001
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    In my opinion “tough love” is a misnomer; it is not love in any way, shape, or form. It is administered without the consent of the other party; it superimposes the will of one onto another, and it contravenes the needs and desires of the recipient. It is a corrective act of a disciplinarian, whose fulcrum is not love, but fear.

    Tough love works in the same manner as blackmail, it forces the recipient to either surrender their will or face the consequences, and just like blackmail, the recipient is screwed either way. The administrator of this ‘love’ may be able to achieve their end, but rarely if ever does the recipient stand to gain anything from the process.

    My view of the practice, however, assumes that the recipient of this tough love knows what best for him at least as well as the administrator does. This is certainly not always the case; indeed perhaps the opposite is true. Determining who understands a given situation better than who is a sticky business, and it is within this mire that the logic of tough love breaks down as has been pointed out.

    My personal experience has seen many ill-informed people presumptuously administer tough love to me without adequately evaluating my situation. Members of my family, psychological professionals, even total strangers have on various occasions given me the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” lecture and treated me like shit until I had performed whatever rite of passage they suggested. To look for help in others only to receive this affront was totally demoralizing to me, and rather than inspiring me to change, something else happened. I stopped asking for help.

    I closed myself of to reality to the greatest possible extent, and held all my emotions away from the ignorant judgments of people who presumed to know me better than I knew myself. The result was inevitable; my self-confidence imploded and I attempted suicide.

    Tough love didn’t work on me.
  4. I *really* liked what you had to say Bioanger. Thank you for sharing.
  5. bottomline

    bottomline Guest

    For me it was very important that anyone that was trying to help me out fully understand my situation. By fully, I mean from front to back. I would ignore every piece of advice I got from someone when tough events occured, because they had no idea what my concerns/problems were. IT would just be annoying-- tough-love or not.
  6. JordanClarkson

    JordanClarkson Active Member OT Supporter

    Oct 11, 2002
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    Go Dodger Blue!
    Tough love has never worked for me, but I have to admit that I've dished out my fair share of that. These days I do the total opposite. When I need help, I need to listen to first hand experiences from other people to see how they handled and got through it. While I will probably ignore what they say at the moment, when I eventually do learn my lesson, I'll recall what they said before. This helps me further understand human behavior, which will help me be more prepared for future issues.
  7. BBQ Monster

    BBQ Monster New Member

    May 31, 2004
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    It is obvious that some responses to some problems have not been answered with thought. I myself would not like to be lectured or *bashed* because the problem I am having seems small. Every person is different, every person reacts to things differently. I myself have experienced the argumenting and and cut downs in the assylum. I love the assylum, it is the only place I feel I can be myself on the site. Anyways, the one post that caused me too feel anguished and hurt was when me and DISLEX were going through some hard times. All I got from reading the post was like dump her, she's a liar and this was refering too me. then I posted and all I got was nice little comments that made me feel like shit. But, there are a few that were understanding and wanted to lisen to both sides instead of saying what first came too their mouths. Metallic Blue, you were one of the ones that lisened, and Johan. It seems there is alot more compassion in both of your posts. I love reading the advice you guys give, because not only do you type the words right, but you enlighten the situation instead of adding more weight. I totally agree with the cut downs that have happened, I know I did not like it and I am sure others feel the same. Just because my problem might seem small, does not mean it is to me or who ever is asking the question. The assylum should be about helping, and for a person to come and discuss there problems, with out feeling they should have too duck and cover. Sorry too go on so long just needed to rant.
  8. The responses have been very good.
  9. Isolt78

    Isolt78 Guest

    There's a difference between treating someone gently and validating thoughts/feelings they have which shouldn't be validated. If I feel cared for but not pandered to, the person trying to help me is doing a good job.
  10. surfer doll

    surfer doll What the hell are you waiting for

    Jan 8, 2005
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    Here and there
    I have problems listening to advice, If I know I have a problem I'm usually to hard headed to listen to anyone, so I prefer to deal with it myself... I just don't like the fact that I can't control it myself, and I don't like other people telling me what to do, even if its a perfessional....
    I usually shut people out and don't let them in, so they never have a chance to try and help...
    Fucked up way of thinking, my moms the same way.
  11. teo

    teo . => ? => !

    Aug 26, 2004
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    I try not to administer it myself, personally. I don't find it to be a very loving act. I feel one of my greatest strengths is taking what is reality - strict fact - and presenting it back to someone. No opinions unless asked for, no suggestions unless asked for. It works remarkably well. Part of the problem with the tough love philosophy is that control over the relationship between you and that person becomes less equal-ground and more of a dictatorship. I don't want to dictate the terms of my relationships (other than the basic ground rules that go without saying) and therefore I choose not to do it.

    Forums are a bit of a different beast. I speak here quite a bit more than in 'real life', and topic authors want opinions on their post 99% of the time. It's also very hard to truly capture the context of a situation in a forum, although it provides an essentially anonymous place to put one's thoughts and have anonymous parties reply. There is some comfort in someone sharing their opinion of your situation without having them know anything about you sometimes. It adds an unbiased element that can bring much-needed perspective to a situation.

    my $.02 :)
  12. There are a lot of amazing differences on this topic. Thank you all for sharing.
  13. RyeBread

    RyeBread If you tell the truth you don't have to remember a

    Mar 16, 2000
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    42.520686, -83.305014
    I have always run away from my own very obvious needs for help. Preferring instead to minister to others.

    As for my ministering, I rarely if ever use anything close to "tough love" or beating up. For one, I will tune out and close up in a milisecond when that approach is flung at me.

    Why I prefer to help others instead of myself - twofold.

    One, it allows me for at least a period of time to realize that perhaps my problems aren't so large (and perhaps even ignore my problems for a while).

    Two, I have always had some level of nearly co-dependance, in that I usually need to be needed - when I'm helping someone in need, it satisfies that basic need of mine that is very hard to ignore.

    Initially, it was very difficult for me to admit that I need help at all, let alone that I could actually reach out and ask for it - even those that loved me completely and practically irrevocabely I never felt comfortable enough to share/reach out and ask for help.

    I used an analogy that it would be easier for me to strip naked, and do aerobics in a cactus laden mine field while super models critiqued my body than it would be to open up.

    I still struggle with this periodically, but for the most part now realize that what others think of me is for the most part completely unimportant. To a degree. Of course if it impacts my perceived guilt in a crime, or job assignments that's one thing, but even those perceptions in the long run mean nothing.

    We all die, and face our own true judgement at that time.

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