I got spanked, and I’m still mad/upset! Now what?

Recently I have had conversations with several different people about the “after” part of a spanking.  The fairy tale version of a punishment spanking is this:

  • You do something wrong, knowingly or unknowingly.
    .
  • You get spanked for it, willingly or unwillingly.
    .
  • Much crying and “ouch”ing later, all is forgiven and restored.  Peace reigns.

Hands up if this has happened to you.  It is great, isn’t it?  Then you go about your daily life feeling happy, secure, protected, and disciplined.  Your relationship is closer.  You are more relaxed, more peaceful, more at ease with yourself and everyone around you.

It rocks.

Hands up if this has ever not quite been as successful.  Oh come on, admit it.  Are you seriously trying to tell me that every single punishment spanking has left you purring contentedly in an obedient, relaxed state?

Don’t you know the consequences for lying?  😉

Let’s look at another scenario:

  • You maybe do something wrong, knowingly or unknowingly.  You think that the other person was just as wrong as you if not more so.  Or you know you did something wrong but are sure that the other person isn’t understanding the situation.  Yes, maybe you broke the rule but there were these extenuating circumstances, see?  Or you don’t think your partner was clear about expectations.
    .
  • You try to explain.  Or argue.  Or convince the other person that this is just not going to work.  Or you submit to the punishment in body but not in spirit.  Or you truly don’t understand (or are not told) why you earned the punishment in the first place.  You spin in agony not knowing how to prevent future recurrences.
    .
  • After the spanking, the case is supposed to be closed.  Your partner says that it is over.  Not for you.  You are angry at getting spanked, tearful at needing to be spanked, confused about what you did wrong, defensive/frustrated/unhappy/depressed/needy/withdrawn.  You are upset, but you don’t want to get another spanking so you stuff it inside.  Or you let it simmer with irritated comments.
    .
  • More than likely, you earn another spanking.  Or you withdraw completely (perhaps getting a spanking for that!) and there is distance between you and your partner.  The distance might hurt less in the short term, but it will mean a lot of hard, painful (for both of you!) work in the future to restore your relationship balance.
    .
  • Rinse and repeat.

Sound familiar?

Please forgive me for stating the obvious, but punishments suck.  They are supposed to.  Otherwise they would be called rewards.  An effective punishment is something that you truly hate, do not want to incur again, and jerks you to a quick stop.

Punishments are so powerful that they can have unintended side effects.  Resentment, anger, deception, withdrawal, and lowered self-esteem are all issues that may arise after a punishment.  We generally like to picture ourselves as capable human beings.  A punishment, especially if it is for something that we genuinely did not try to do or genuinely tried to prevent happening, can ignite any or all of these responses.

The wonderful thing about being an adult (rather than a child who screams, “I hate you!” after a punishment) is that we can consciously choose to work on our responses to a punishment.  After or during a punishment, if we are angry/resentful/etc. we can stop to ask ourselves why.  Are we angry at our partner for punishing us?  Or are we angry at ourselves for needing to be punished?  Are we angry thinking the punishment was unfair?  Or are we angry that we did something wrong and needed to be caught?

There is a gentler version of this response, usually for people who want to please, and it goes something like this:

  • You do something wrong, knowingly or unknowingly.
    .
  • You get spanked for it.
    .
  • You are devastated at needing to be spanked, feel horrible about yourself, and lose confidence in your ability to do what you need to do.
    .
  • You give up, consciously or unconsciously, and earn a similar or even the same consequence again.
    .
  • Rinse and repeat.

Accepting discipline, accepting consequences, and accepting responsibility for your actions is never weak.  Never.  It takes great strength and character to stand in front of someone else (okay, perhaps lie across his or her lap) and say, “What I did was wrong.  I am sorry, I accept punishment for it, and I will do my best not to let it happen again.  Please help me.”

Wow!

Is it any wonder that people in committed adult disciplinary relationships tend to be the strongest people around?  To be disciplined and punished as a child is one thing.  It sucks.  But we all know adults who were not disciplined as children and sorely (or un-sorely) needed it, right?  As an adult, to willingly and consciously choose to be in a disciplinary relationship…wow.

Thus concludes the first episode of Ask Ana.  😀

Redemption, reconciliation, and love

Can a domestic discipline story be about redemption?

I am a bit shy to say this when Kat and Natalie’s relationship is in no way Christian domestic discipline and, although Natalie’s family is Christian (Kat’s is not), religion plays only a very small part in the stories.

But…to me yesterday, thinking things over, the Kat and Natalie stories have become about redemption.  It is a fairly big claim and I am sure there are those who will scoff, call me blasphemous, or ask how a silly fantasy can be about grand things like redemption.

Yesterday I worried whether I was foolish and silly to make up this superhero of a mother who could make everything right.  Wondered how foolish and childish I was to play let’s pretend when I was sure everyone could see through my fantasy.

Then a kind friend told me that fantasies are not foolish.  Especially not about love.  And the more I thought about Kat and Natalie reuniting with the family they thought they’d lost (and Jane and Curtis were reunited with the daughters they thought they’d lost), it made me think of divine love.  Of the ways we hide ourselves thinking we have blown our chances and that we will never be able to face God again.  (I try not to talk too much about religion because I respect others’ views and never want to push them on anyone.  I hope, if you are reading this, that you can read it only as me working through things in my head and not trying to push an interpretation on anyone.  These are not Christian stories.)

I think of Natalie, sure that her family will never forgive or love her or want her.

I think of Kat, sure that they no longer even consider her family.

I think of Jane, crying for her children when they think they are protecting her.

I think of Curtis, furious and hurt and helpless watching his wife cry for their children.

The moment when they come together and sort through all of the choices Kat and Natalie have made to shut each other and their parents out of their lives…and yes there is anger but in this case anger is because there is love.  We experience our greatest anger and hurt and fear because of the people we love most.

When I started this story, I thought it was going to be about Kat.  About her personal demons and how she pushes her best friend away.  In the past few weeks, it’s become about so much more.

And I am left, today, with the image of a father weeping for his daughters and a wife kneeling and giving him her strength.  (I have feminist tendencies; I like strong women.  Part of me rebels at the “Father Knows Best” flavor of the family rushing to serve the head of their household.  But most of me knows that in this particular family, this is how they have learned to come together.)

I write love.

Kat, Natalie, Jane, and Curtis are not a perfect family.  But in another way, they are.  They are there for each other.  They don’t give up on each other.  They accept each other’s flaws.  Spank them for it, maybe.  (At least Natalie does to Kat..)

Just their presence, just the physical presence of Mama Jane and Dad is able to bring healing.  When they have years-delayed conversation, the healing becomes even deeper.

Healing deep wounds almost hurts as much as receiving them in the first place.

Today, I write like a maniac because writing is healing something inside of my heart.

I never write myself into my stories.  My characters have some of my quirks because it’s easier to give them things I know about (cooking, etc.), but ever since I stopped writing fiction almost 15 years ago…I never wrote myself into a story again.

Some day, I will tell the story of why I stopped writing fiction.

For now, I will just delight in releasing years of pent-up glorious story-making.

Come and enjoy my stories.  If they make you smile, I couldn’t be happier.  If they touch your heart and remind you what it is like to be loved, then I will cheer.

But for me, I have already won.

What I write becomes my truth.

And my truth for today is knowing that we are loved.  Whether we can feel it or not.  Whether we are in contact with the people who love us…or not.