Kassi Martin's Blog

Transforming Lives through Self Expression

Does Tough Love Help?

and the Tree held the Sun... Therapeutic Mixed Media Art - Kassi
Continuing to share my top Coaching Tips for Life, Art & Creative Business with you...

"Tough Love" …Were you raised on this?  Many of us are.

I experienced a lot of Tough Love as I was growing up.  Some from family, teen friends, teachers, some from the Cultural Parent; government, deity.

How about you?

Tough Love can take many forms.  Physical: a shove or slap… Verbal: "Get A Grip!" (an ex of mine repeatedly said this whenever I showed emotion).  Psychological: 'silent treatment', verbal rejection, ridicule, control, gas lighting...

And did all this tough love make us stronger?  In my opinion... No. 

Let me share why I say this...

Tough Love made me anxious, tearful, shaky/trembly, wounded, wary, cautious, a people pleaser, defensive, angry, ashamed and embarrassed. 

I blushed hotly when anyone approached me. I experienced people as unpredictable and therefore I had no idea how they would treat me at any given moment. This led to Stress, Anxiety, Fatigue and hypervigilance.

It also made me Really Careful, never to hurt anyone else in the same way.  I guess this is a "positive" to come from a "negative"… but it didn't come from a confident, congruent, loving place… it came from knowing how painful it is to be criticised or attacked at any moment.

Tough Love makes us extremely sensitive to the feelings and emotions of others.

I crept around trying hard not to take up space or bring attention to myself and anytime I was around others I'd be Really NICE, polite, minding my P's & Q's - out of fear of attack. This also gagged my freedom of speech so not only was I very quiet in company, which I was criticised for too… it obstructed me from developing my ideas, opinions and therefore finding my own 'voice'.

Tough Love taught me to treat others with gentleness, kindness and empathy whilst knowing at any moment they might lash out at me - and those lashings came! In fact the nicer I was, the less respect I received and even more lashings followed.  How interesting!!!

I believe this happened because I wasn't being my most real self in response to those "lashings".  I simply took it all on the chin, rarely making a fuss, never asserting myself which made the critical/attacking people even MORE angry as they tried to provoke a different response from me.  I was too scared to make a stand! What a vicious circle! Perhaps this resonates for you?

Tough Love taught me to tread cautiously, and contributed to very low self esteem and lack of confidence.

Those around me, loved to be around me because I was safe, gentle, kind and understanding… I didn't want anyone to feel as awful as I felt back then.

Through my therapeutic journey, I became more authentically Me.  I am genuinely loving, congruent, kind, warm, empathic and vitally, this comes from a solid, grounded, assertive place in me because I experienced this in my therapeutic journey. 

It helped me become really strong and able to make a stand in a very assertive way when required. Totally in my Power! So exciting to reach this level of Being and Relating, I can't recommend it enough, which is why I offer this of course.

I was held so strongly with acceptance, empathy and realness, I could take any level of challenge which made me incredibly resilient and most of all contributed to the way in which I work with others.

I share my story of Tough Love with you because I believe it is a story of hope and reassurance that no matter what age we are, we can become authentic, potent and resilient with the ability to hold others with delicate strength and it does not come from tough love.  It comes from empathy, kindness, love, acceptance, accompaniment, gentleness and boundaries.

In my work, I am gentle, loving, warm, fun, relaxed and firm because I am so boundaried and assertive.

So how about YOU?

Did you experience tough love? How did it impact you? Do you practice Tough Love with family, children, friends, colleagues?  If this is what you experienced as you were growing up, you probably dished it out at times yourself, or were meek and gentle as I was.  I probably dished it out too.  

It's a bit like that quote by Maya Angelou:  "Do the best you can until you know better.  Then, when you know better, do better"

If you aren't sure how you relate, watch your reaction to loving kindness or empathy.  If someone is warm, empathic and kind with you it might make you tearful, wobbly and you may prefer them to be hard/tough with you. We sometimes see a person fanning their faces as they are trying not to cry when somebody has been kind to them.  It's often easier to cope if people are harsh and critical because it is what we are familiar with.

So does Tough Love help?… my answer is No. It creates fragility, and a wobbly brittleness that makes us crumble and/or lash out at others.

I believe Love, Empathy, Acceptance, Realness, Kindness, Resonance, Assertiveness and Accompaniment are some of the wonderful ways we can relate to ourselves and others to create incredible resilience and ability to speak from our true voice in the world.  

I believe we need to receive LOTS of Love, especially when we have been raised on Tough Love.

An Invitation to Share Your Story - Unleashing the Voice of Woman
I wonder if you might like to share your story on my blog?  I'd love to hear your story and publish it.  Simply type your story in your own voice, do not censor yourself, tell your own story and do not name others in it.  Please don't worry about grammar or punctuation... I just want you to share in a relaxed, honest way.

Would you like to get "Absolutely Everything"?
If you would like to journey through my deep personal growth approach, I have MANY therapeutic art Courses packaged as "Absolutely Everything".  Let me fast track you through all the years and years of therapeutic coaching and training, with life time access.  It's worth almost £5,000 and STILL available for £179.  For Life!

Here's the link:



Love Is All You Need
Invitation to Unleash Your Voice


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Tuesday, 23 April 2024

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Raw & Gritty Art Coaching to Unleash Woman 

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