Education Psychology

When Abuse Comes from a Place of Love

woman holding her head

Many still hold that some abuse comes from a place of love. And I wish, as I tend to do when entertaining popular beliefs, that I were exaggerating when I write this. 

Unfortunately, I’m not. 

WARNING: This article contains mentions of psychological and physical abuse. Reader’s discretion is advised.

Abuse Comes from a Place of Love
There is no love in abuse

And I write this today because the same excuse for abuse exists as a cover for lousy coaching in sports. Worse, I hear young people use this justification too often. 

Just 24 hours ago, during an argument with a family friend, I heard that “sometimes we do or say hurtful things to others because we care for them.”

I disagreed strongly. 

My reply to this position was that when we say hurtful words or behave meanly to those we love, it’s because we fail to control our emotions. We react negatively to events or behaviour with which we disagree. More importantly, our adverse reactions to those behaviours ignore the complexity and integrity of others. 

Sometimes Abuse Comes from a Place of Love

“It wasn’t abuse,” he said, “he threw his shoe at my head, but he did it out of love, he wanted to teach me something.”

The above assertion comes from a respected friend. And I will add that this person is incapable of hurting anyone; his caring for people is evident in his day-to-day conduct. 

The shoe left a mark on his face that took weeks to heal. Still, my friend continues to defend the person who physically injured him to “teach him a lesson.”

The psychological sciences have much to say about why we excuse abusive behaviour from specific people, and these reasons always revolve around the victim. 


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Of all the evident and counterintuitive coping mechanisms for abuse that science has uncovered, it is clear that most victims cling to their abusers to maintain a bond that helps define their reality. They justify abuse to preserve control over their emotions and life in general. 

And the complexity of this issue is beyond the scope of this small write-up, but it is necessary to make one direct statement.

Abuse never comes from a place of love. NEVER! Abuse results from insecurities and emotional immaturity on the side of the abuser. We must embrace this truth, lest we excuse heinous behaviour under the guise of caring. 

Thank you for reading.

— Coach José

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