It haunts every stroke, every word of a scolding, every moment anticipating a punishment. Years of being afraid and worse. Sometimes it seems so long ago, I start to wonder if it was really me all that stuff happened to. Sometimes the memories are still hot and raw, so much so that a year or two ago when I tried to write this post, I had to walk away lest it break the pieces I've spent years gluing back together.
While there hasn't been a lot of research on those who engage in What It Is We Do, research regarding BDSM in general suggests that child abuse is not the reason practitioners have the sexual orientation they do, even if those outside our community may think otherwise. In my own case, I started fantasizing about being spanked years before the abuse started and I am convinced that I'm a spanko despite the abuse.
My stepfather has delicate lips and a front tooth that is slightly crooked, and when making certain expressions, A.'s mouth reminds me of him. Sometimes when A. coughs or clears his voice, it's almost the same pitch as the muffled coughing of my stepfather that I listened ever so carefully for from my bedroom. When I'm over A.'s lap and he's giving me the full force of his hand, the motion feels almost identical to the full force of my stepfather's rage-filled palm.
There are so many ways that my punishment kink interacts with the abuse I experienced as a child. Memories that I've not thought of in years will suddenly terrorize me as I approach a punishment. Feelings that I can't quite articulate will harass me after, especially when a phone spanking doesn't allow for tactile cuddling.
Of course, communicating with my partner is vital. It means telling A. when I'm beset by the ghost of old chastisements and cannot deal with any new. He faithfully discharges me from whatever disciplinary session is at hand, no questions asked -- even though I may have spent all day worried that he would be mad, would not understand my fear. Sometimes the desire to continue with whatever regime we've agreed to is there, but I just need to make him -- and even more so, myself -- aware of the turmoil brewing just below the surface.
What I have learned is to never repress, though admittedly the habit is hard to break completely. Ghouls of all shapes and sizes never fare well in the light. The more I write (journal) and I talk out loud (mostly to a therapist) about my memories, the more power they lose. Not that it isn't painful. And it scares the living shit out of me at times. But it gets easier. Really.
After my mother and stepfather divorced, I kept having this recurring dream where I was in my old bedroom and it was littered with piles of old clothes, books and knick-knacks. A move was imminent, but I was completely overwhelmed with the disarray, as well as bewildered about what to do with all the stuff. I always woke up distressed and fatigued.
I still have the dream, except now the room is almost empty save for a handful of things that I'm still not sure what to do with. But I always wake up knowing they will find their place.
Yes, there remains a nagging interplay between my punishment kink and my history of child abuse. However, embracing my discipline fetish has been a means of empowerment through choice. It is also a means of healing because this time, there's no yelling, no rage, no belittling. And when there is fear and shame, it's yummy and magical and completely therapeutic.