The tough guy with the heart of gold requires a sociopathy: he knows that he can feel but does not believe others feel in the same dimensions as he does. Acts of self-sacrifice characterize him, his love language a perverse Act of Service, the logical syllogism that he can suffer in the stead of the person whom he loves, thinking it spares the object of his love from suffering. Everyone knows (except for the tough guy with the heart of gold, of course), that love requires suffering by proxy: when a person you love hurts, so do you. His martyrdom is wholly selfish. He stars in his own production and takes emotional hostages.
Continue reading this article written by author Mary Kay McBrayer.