Yes, you were right when you said some will differ with particular parts of your OP/Ed, when you wrote, “helping people adjust to difficult or dangerous coming circumstances is not tough love. It is not love at all.”, you gave only one side of what “Tough Love” can be. Tough love can also be love if you are helping others because you care about them, then, in that case, it is love. If one knows the difficult environment that another is about to face and one feels empathy for them because of that, then one wants to best prepare them for that for what lies ahead. Sometimes enabling them to experience a sample of it, under conditions where the real threat is limited, helps prepares them for the time when they will need it.
Real “Tough love” occurs when it is more difficult on the person administrating “Tough love” because they care than it is on the person receiving it, because the one administering it, also knows what is ahead and relives the experience every time one teaches it; whereas, the one learning it that has no concept of what really lies ahead. When done with love “Tough Love” is love. But when done without love, then is not love, but used as an attempt to justify one’s cruel actions toward another which is the side that you were describing.
Terry O’Neill, Lake Geneva Resident, and former alderperson