TOUGH LOVE: It means that you treat the person you love in a way that would be inappropriate were that person not an addict.
Normal people have a support system that consists of friends, family, home, money and transportation – all the things we need to maintain our lives. Normal people work to keep that support system healthy by being responsible with our time, money and relationships. Addicts also have a support system, but they do not work to maintain it. Instead, they use emotional, mental and physical manipulation to get other people to do the hard work of maintaining a support system for them. Because other people do the hard work, the addict is free to continue his self-destructive behavior.
Those of us who have loved an addict are intimately acquainted with the unique forms of hell an addict can create in the lives of the people who care for them. Addicts are masters of manipulation, masters of creating guilty feelings in those who care for them and – worst of all – masters of using our virtues as weapons against us. Terrorists use the same type of behavior to wreak havoc in free societies; they depend upon our laws to protect them whilst they simultaneously break those laws committing their acts of terror.
There is only one effective way of dealing with an addict, and only one effective way of dealing with a terrorist. You must cut them off from their support system.They will not change on their own, and if we continue to play their “games”, they will destroy not only themselves but us as well. Tough Love means we do whatever is necessary to stop their destructive behavior and protect the ones they are wounding, even if it means allowing them to destroy themselves.
It’s called “tough love” because it is hard to do. It goes against our instincts and violates the virtues by which we define ourselves. We are people who are giving, we are kind, we are thoughtful and responsible. We are self-sacrificing and eager to share what we have with those who have less. The addict knows this about us and uses these virtues against us. In the case of the addict, “tough love” means that you cut him off from his support system; it means you cease doing anything to enable his misbehavior. Cutting him off means we no longer give him a place to sleep. We no longer let him use our resources or our time. We don’t bail him out of jail. We don’t buy him food or gas or clothes. Tough love means we let the addict experience the full consequences of his addiction and we do nothing to rescue him from his own stupid choices.
The Too-Big-Too-Fail Banks are addicts.
- They have a self-destructive habit: they are addicted to money and will do anything to get more of it. They make loans to people who cannot pay; they sell insurance they cannot afford to pay off; they foreclose on homes they do not own; they package and sell the same mortgage multiple times to multiple investors. There is no law, no ethical code and and no standard of behavior they will not break in pursuit of more money.
- They have damaged those of us who are in relationship with them even though we have been responsible in our actions toward them. We took out loans in good faith. We pay our bills on time. We trusted that the Mortgage Backed Securities they sold our pension funds were AAA-rated like it said in the prospectus.
- They use mental, emotional, physical and financial manipulation to get us to take care of them instead of accepting the consequences of their own choices. They guilt us into paying our mortgages, even though our houses are worth far less than the mortgage. They threaten Congress with worldwide destruction unless Congress bails them out. They get the FASB to change accounting standards so that they do not have to face the fact that they are insolvent. They cook the books. They lie about losses and blame “deadbeats” for their fraud.
- They use our virtues as weapons against us. They remind us of our duty to be honest, responsible, loyal and self-sacrificing citizens. It is our honesty, responsibility, loyalty and self-sacrifice that enables them to continue to lie, steal, cheat and kill. They are the worst possible combination of leaches, zombies and vampires.
Because the TBTFs are addicts, they are unable to change themselves without Tough Love. We must stop enabling their destructive behavior. Because they do not accept responsibility for their own behavior, we must cut off their support system – Money.
When you send a check to a TBTF, when you make a deposit with a TBTF, when you take out a loan from a TBTF, when you buy a security from a TBTF, when you open an account with a TBTF – you are enabling their addiction. You must instead cut them off. That means do not send them any more money, withdraw your money from them and refuse to conduct any sort of business with them. Until you do that, you are enabling their addiction and helping them destroy you in the process.
Will it be painful? Yes. The TBTF addicts will strike back at you by threatening your credit rating. Let them threaten. They will threaten to take stuff from you. Resist their thievery. Whatever you do, do not give them any more money.
Watching them withdraw from their addiction will be painful. They will shriek with pain, threaten to destroy us all, use every guilt and manipulation technique known to man. They will get sick and beg us for help. We cannot help them because they must help themselves. They must break their own addiction and must learn how to live responsibly, just like all the rest of us do.
Tough Love means cutting them off.
Cut them off.