When and why not to protest that a spanking is unfair

Can a punishment spanking be unfair?  Yes.  Is it always in the best interest of the relationship to argue that it is?  Maybe, maybe not.

In my post last week discussing the myriad conflicting feelings that can arise after a punishment spanking, I neglected to clarify that I was specifically talking about a consensual DD relationship in which the HoH has earned trust from the disciplined partner.  When I talked about the effects that the person being punished (let’s just say HoH for the person responsible for disciplining in the relationship and PBD for the person who is being disciplined in that relationship) may experience, claiming that a punishment was not “fair” was meant to refer to the knee-jerk, angry response that accompanies a great deal of punishments whether the actual punishment was fair or not.

However, many people pointed out that truly unfair and downright injust (as in morally reprehensible) punishment spankings do exist.  DD is a great vehicle when used properly.  When used badly, it can be little more than a smokescreen for abuse.  Yes, I said abuse.

When the PBD claims that a punishment spanking is unfair, this can mean any number of things.

  1. It hurt my bottom and my feelings, and I am upset.
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  2. You didn’t do this in exactly the way (such as using the right implement/position/number of strokes/setting) that would make me happy for exactly the reasons I find acceptable, and I am going to make sure you know of my displeasure.
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  3. I acknowledge that I broke a rule or did something wrong, but I made an effort not to do so or to complete a requirement.  My effort should be good enough, so the punishment is unfair.
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  4. I am legitimately angry or upset about a certain portion of the issue that got me punished, but I refuse to accept responsibility for my accompanying inappropriate behavior (shouting, throwing a fit, sulking, storming off, refusing to communicate, breaking rules deliberately, etc.).
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  5. I feel childish or dependent in being made to follow discipline, and I am going to show that I am my own person.
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  6. My HoH is not punishing me in a way that fits my expectations, so I am angry and confused.

If we are honest with ourselves, the bulk of DD power struggles fit somewhere in the range of these reasons.  Does that mean the HoH is always fair, always correct, always kind, or always in the right?  No.  But that is why we call it “submission”.

Don’t get me wrong.  All of these reasons can seem oh-so-very reasonable in the heat of the moment (pun not intended).  As I said last week, punishments are powerful.  They stir up lots of secondary emotions of shame, resentment, and anger.  It is impossible for any HoH to completely fairly discipline all of the time.

However, the topic for today is a punishment that is truly, objectively unfair.  Cara gives this hypothetical example:

I read an advice column recently in which the husband had an affair with his wife’s friend. They used to socialize as a couple with her and her husband. The affair ended, and the “friend” and her spouse are divorcing. The woman’s husband now insists that they socialize as a threesome with the friend he had affair with. The wife has been going along with it, but when they come home she feels very unhappy at having had to make nice with the other woman.

Now, this isn’t a DD marriage. But let’s assume hypothetically that it is. And let’s assume the couple and the “friend” go out as threesome, after which the wife comes home bitchier than hell. And she gets spanked for it.

In a D/s or BDSM relationship, it is possible that this type of punishment would be allowed and even seen as normal.  There are some proponents of DD who would feel that this is acceptable.  Let’s assume, however, that this is not D/s or BDSM or the type of DD relationship in which…ahem…”free” love…is tolerated.

What would be the difference here?

*     *     *Fundamental violations of personal boundaries and dignity*     *     *

Another example.  Let’s say, again within a DD relationship, that the HoH orders the PBD to do something that violates one of those personal boundaries.  Take your pick.  The PBD refuses, perhaps with or without grace.  The HoH slaps the PBD in the face, issues threats and profanity, and gives a spanking as punishment.

Some might find this kind of scene fodder for fantasies.  But in a normal, workaday DD relationship?  Not going to cut it.  I hesitate to give examples because it sounds like judgment of those who enjoy these types of fantasies, but let me be clear again that this is within the context of a consensual DD relationship.

When the PBD claims that a punishment spanking was unfair, not as a way to “top from the bottom” or to brat or display petulance/obstinance/pride but to send up a red flag that boundaries have been crossed, here is what it might look like:

  1. I clearly said that this relationship should remain non-sexual (and no, DD relationships do not all have to be marital or sexual), and the HoH is touching me in sexual ways or repeatedly making sexual overtures/innuendos despite my requests to stop.
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  2. The HoH repeatedly punishes me in ways that make me feel bad (examples might include name-calling, hair-pulling, face-slapping, public humiliation, or threats of abandonment) and says it is my responsibility to say if I don’t like something.
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  3. The PBD (yes, PBDs can violate boundaries, too) goads me into punishment but then blames me for doing it.  Then he/she criticizes me for what I try to do and insists that I should follow what someone else is doing.
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  4. The HoH uses DD as a way to make me give up or start something that I find morally, ethically, or personally wrong (such as Cara’s example in accepting a relationship with the husband’s affair partner).
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  5. I am in fear of or have experienced physical injury due to the spanking.  While everyone’s pain threshold and acceptance of marking differs (some mark at a handspank and others very little even with a heavy paddle), punishment spankings should inflict the necessary amount of physical pain without causing any damage.  Sorry, “But it’s going to hurt a lot!” doesn’t count.  Spankings are supposed to hurt.  😉
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  6. The HoH chastises/shames me for a violation that I have already been punished for instead of forgiving me for it.  (Exception would be to explain why a new rule/restriction is put in place or why permission is being denied for a request.)
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  7. The HoH does not give me any emotional support (which may or may not include aftercare–lack of aftercare for a punishment is a feature of some DD relationships) or instructions how the PBD can avoid similar punishments in the future.  Or the severity of the punishment so far exceeds the original transgression that it inspires terror rather than learning.

There is no universal extensive list of boundary-violating punishments.  Some people might be fine with one or more of the above examples.  As PBDs, however, the temptation to claim that a punishment is “not fair” for one of the six orange reasons is a dangerous practice.  No matter how careful or responsible the HoH tries to be, it is possible that the PBD’s boundaries may be violated.  “It’s not fair” needs to be reserved for situations in which it truly is a game-changing affair.  You might remember the story of a little boy who cried wolf… 😉

In short, it is always possible for a punishment spanking to be unfair.  If so, it needs to be addressed.  But in order to be listened to during this crucial moment when a punishment spanking actually is unfair, the PBD needs to refrain from pulling the fire alarm whenever someone lights a match.

And thus concludes episode two of “Ask Ana”.  🙂

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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.
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  • You get spanked for it, willingly or unwillingly.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • You get spanked for it.
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  • 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.
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  • You give up, consciously or unconsciously, and earn a similar or even the same consequence again.
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  • 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.