The only way tough love ever works is if it is contrast to a background of tender love. Without tender love, all love is tough love.
From a very early age, transpeople are shamed, abused and humiliated into denying their very nature “for their own good.”
If you grow up in that context, you become habituated to “tough love.” It is what you come to expect.
I have mentioned before that in my self-chat I often end up saying “I love you [nickname]” and replying “You don’t really love me. You only love [insert service phrase here].”
Somehow, my sister believed that the threat of taking away something would move me to comply with her demands, demands she made with the attitude that they were “for your own good.” She asserted a strategy of trying to beat me until I become compliant, which hasn’t really worked up to now, though it has left me scarred and scared.
And when I mentioned something I did want that she ended up not helping with, she saw that as an attempt to hurt her by calling her a failure.
Nope. I can’t want unless I can want. And the tough love tradition I expect tells me not to want, not to attach.
I came back and no one has been present for my pain, even the simple physical pain I have from walking twenty miles in about twelve hours.
Nope, it’s about them, so no tenderness for me. Tenderness would require them to enter my world, yet to affirm me would be to challenge themselves, so no go there.
My sister said she threatened me because she fears my resentment, especially of my mother. And then she chooses to give me more to be resentful over, her attack on my caring and my integity. Does that make any sense?
Tough Love doesn’t move me. Decades of training, you know.
But tender love?
Gosh, I don’t know if I could even open to it now.
But I know that if I don’t, I’m dead.