22 January, 2007

Spanking again

I've been thinking more about the spanking/abuse thing, and realized a big source of my discomfort in talking with people about it.

It's not just the association between spanking and abuse. (Although I was pleased to read yesterday about legislation in California that would make spanking young children a criminal offense!)

It's that the people I know who can accept spanking between consenting adults see it as something sexual, and I agree with their belief that my young parts should definitely not be having sex. So if they are getting spanked, and spanking is either sexual or abusive, then what we're doing is wrong no matter how you look at it.

And the thing is, it's definitely the younger parts who need spanking. Not all, or even most of them. But one of the little kids, and a couple of the teens, really feel better if they get spanked occasionally, and it helps them to feel safe, and to cope with their feelings, and to let go of feeling bad about having done bad things.

There are also a couple of adult parts who feel much better, and are better able to let go of guilt over having done things that I shouldn't have (or, more often, forgotten to do things that I should do!), if I get a spanking.

And, of course, there is the adult part who likes spankings as foreplay.

Okay, so I've lost where I was going. I think it's mostly that there's still a lot of struggle with perception, and it becomes harder as I think about the different ways that I expect people to think about spanking. My friends that I'd talk about this with might be kink-friendly, but they tend to hold pretty strong views about how children should be treated. And I agree with them, kind of. Children shouldn't be spanked... and yet, I know from deep personal experience that I have some children and teens inside me who really do need to be spanked, and so I have a lot of confusion about the best way to deal with that.

On the other hand, my doubt and confusion aren't stopping me from requesting, or W. from giving, the occasional spanking. Neither are the doubt and confusion keeping those spankings from helping me to feel more centered and at peace. So there is that.

02 January, 2007

Spanking vs. abuse

I've been thinking about this subject a lot lately. I think part of what makes it difficult for me to figure out is this: it's not something I feel comfortable talking about with lots of people I know (well, really, none in real life). And more than that, it's not something I feel comfortable talking about with my therapist.

On the one hand, that's not too much of a problem. W. and I talk about it, and I write about it here and over at the Punishment Book. But on the other hand... it feels a whole lot like the "secrets" I had to keep when I was little. And that's a big piece of why it's so very uncomfortable for me.

The thing is, I do feel some shame to be an adult woman who needs disciplinary spankings. And I know that, with external children, I'd be inclined to think it wasn't a good idea, that there are lots of other ways to bring children up.

But... there is the simple fact that, for me, spankings work. They help me to focus, to behave, to feel in control.

And there is this: I do believe that there is a difference between spankings and abuse. I can tell with my own thoughts about it, that spankings, per se, are not the problem.

Even more, I can tell from the feedback from my kid parts. They do not perceive that W. ever "hurts" us. They articulate this with specifics: she doesn't yell, she doesn't hit us in the head, she doesn't punch us or pinch us or slap us. The spankings are controlled. They are understandable. She is calm when I get them. She is nurturing and caring.

And, as I said to my sister when I was eleven or twelve, it wasn't the spankings I objected to getting. It was the context, the way they were delivered. What was abusive was not being hit, it was the way the hitting (spanking, whatever) was delivered.

But. There is always that but. I can't talk about this with most people. I expect they would immediately decide it was abusive, unhealthy, something that I shouldn't be doing. They wouldn't look at it from the perspective of something that normal people do, as something that can be part of a healthy relationship. They would see it as a very unhealthy power dynamic. And I don't feel secure enough in my role in this to be able to make it clear to them that I believe it is healthy. So I just don't say.

I guess I wrote this post mostly so that my kid parts could know I talk about it somewhere, and that it's not a bad secret, just something we choose not to mention to most people. I guess it's that it's something private, rather than a bad secret. But it's still a struggle, because it's hard to make it clear to them that there are different reasons for not talking about things, you know? And also, that I'm not entirely comfortable with having them write a post to this blog, or to the PB, because these are, in my mind, more adult forums. But I don't want to write about spankings at Jigsaw Analogy, because while you can find this blog from that one, I don't want to make the people in our life who do read that one have to know about this part of my life.

It's all very complicated, to say the least.

So, in the hopes of getting some responses: has anyone talked about spanking (in the context of DD) with their therapist? Any advice? Warnings? Wise words?