We’ve all come across the ‘Tough Love’ attitude, and we’ve all been slapped around the face (literally and figuratively) by someone who has designated it as their favourite way to deal with people.
Recently, things have been super hard for me. I’m losing weight I shouldn’t be losing, and I can’t eat properly. I worry about developing an eating disorder. But still, my family insist on using the ‘Tough Love’ tactic.
Only today, I got slapped in the face by it. Punched, even. Luckily this time is was a metaphorical slap, as the person who delivered it is in another country.
“You’re being inconsistent and dramatic. You smoked because you wanted attention for it.”
“I know I come across as harsh, but it’s because I care and I’m being sincere.”
And I cried when I read those messages, and bit every knuckle on my right hand for ten seconds. Now, they’re light pink, almost back to their normal colour. By the end of this post, they will be. A big part of me is very, very proud of that. I’m much stronger than I once was.
Strong enough to deal with being hurt mentally without translating it physically. Okay, yeah, I bit my knuckles. But I didn’t give myself scars. And I’m proud of myself.
See, the thing is, we don’t need to be told that we’re talking shit. We don’t need to be told to stop being so stupid. Because we know we’re being unreasonable. We know what we’re saying is not logical. But you yelling in our face, and telling us we’re being stupid, isn’t going to help. Not at all. Since when did anyone change your mind by yelling angrily in your face? By insulting you?
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck hit the nail on the head with their film Good Will Hunting. Cause you know what Will’s therapist told him, at the end? He said, “It’s not your fault”. And Will said, “I know”.
But the therapist (our wonderful and very much missed Robin Williams) kept saying it. Over and over again, until Will broke down.
Because here’s the thing, guys. We don’t know. We don’t. And we blame ourselves for the fucked up shit other people do to us. Who else, logically, can we blame?
So next time you’re faced with someone telling you nobody cares about them, or that they feel fat and ugly, or that they want to die…
Well, don’t tell them they’re talking shit.
Because some people might need a slap in the face, but I think I speak for the majority of people when I say that I don’t.
I know I’m being inconsistent. Dramatic? Probably. And I did smoke because I wanted some love, yes.
I also know that you care, in your own way.
But mental illness isn’t that simple. And telling me I’m being ridiculous won’t help me.
So don’t do it.