This is a verse from Bruno Mars' song When I was your man:

Same bed but it feels just a little bit bigger now
Our song on the radio but it don't sound the same
When our friends talk about you, all it does is just tear me down
Cause my heart breaks a little when I hear your name

What does tear me down in line 3 mean? I've looked it up and oxforddictionaries.com defines it as:

US informal criticize or punish someone severely: they tear a man down and threaten him and then they give him another chance

but I have a feeling that it means something else, is this the correct meaning of the phrase in this context?

  • @DamkerngT: make this an answer. This is poetry, and uses the expression used normally in context of demolishing buildings as a metaphor for what happens to emotions of the subject.
    – SF.
    Commented Dec 16, 2013 at 9:42

2 Answers 2


I've never translated that phrase before. I usually took it figuratively, like the tearing-down of buildings.

When the phrase is used with people, I understand the phrase as the tearing-down of someone's feeling. I believe that a definition in The Free Dictionary: to damage or reduce the importance of someone or something, could apply to someone's feeling rather well.

  • This is a great answer, and I've upvoted it, and you've been posting a lot of insightful answers and comments lately, and I appreciate that very much! This is just a friendly note: when you leave a comment and then later turn it into an answer, it helps to delete the comment. The info doesn't need to appear twice :) I've deleted it for you this time, and this isn't a serious problem or anything :) Just thought I'd drop you a note to let you know!
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 0:32

The phrase "Tear Me Down" is about other people destroying who you have built yourself to be character wise. People may not like who you are because you may conflict with certain trends or cultures and don't fit in. It's followed by the phrase "Build Me Up". Which is people outside of yourself influencing you to take on characteristics that are accepted. " Tear Me Down to Build me back up" is an awareness of how you are being treated. People take offense when people try to do this do them.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .