I think they should spend more time on teach me how to properly defend myself or block lol. I personally think that my kru is giving me some tough love to toughen me up, since it seems like the only way to really learn is to be thrown into something?
Wrong. Constantly being overstrained is no good didactics (that's true for every kind of learning), especially in fighting, because you are going to get accustomed to bad habits which will be hard to get rid of later. Being under constant pressure will tense you up and shut your action down. You won't learn how to attack or even hit back if you are afraid of getting hit and only close down your guard all the time. That's why it's important to train with different pressure levels. Light pressure to get used to specific movements and to try out new movements and then later with increasing pressure to test them.
What do you people suggest for a guy in my position?
Halfraq9 has given some useful advices. Besides hard sparring be sure to also have light sparring to focus on your techniques so they can become automatisms for the hard sparring. Ask people who know what to do what to do if you don't know it.