Rules and Punishment, An Evolution

Over the past many months, there’s been something nagging at me in the back of my mind. A tidbit of something I’ve been revisiting, over and over, but haven’t been able to understand what it meant or what wasn’t fitting about it; it wasn’t gelling intellectually or emotionally for me – the idea of rules and consequences/punishment, and especially the idea of physical punishment.

I do have rules. In the very beginning, M devised them to center around things that we could do to make our relationship a priority. Things which we needed to focus on and be reminded to never take for granted. Others are simple preferences or homemade protocol that have come about naturally for us. Some of the rules have evolved a bit over time and we’ve added some too.

In all matters outside the realm of the rules, we operate under the premise that M exercises his authority as he sees fit. I honor him and his wishes and decisions – I follow. I need to, it’s who I am….but I do not blindly follow. I need to have a voice and M would never want me to lose mine. But, if he chooses to exercise his authority, whatever he decides I will follow. I just want to be a valued part of the process and I know that his decision will be one of care, one I can trust is in our best interests.

Although I willingly follow, I do sometimes make poor decisions. In fact, there’s been a pattern, if I look closely enough. If I’m unsure about an issue, if I’m having trouble figuring out how I feel about it and how to proceed, I find that I have tested his resolve in some way related to that issue. Not purposefully or premeditated and until recently, those behaviors have been fairly harmless, but there have been a few clusters of testing nonetheless. I’ve received a few consequences, usually in the form of denial or restriction, for rule infractions or for things that have crossed the line. On one occasion, many months ago, we tried physical punishment. For many reasons, at the time, it wasn’t a good fit. It just didn’t seem a match for the infraction and there were so many mixed feelings, we tabled it. On a couple of occasions, there was denial of play, which was not good for either of us. It felt like denial of intimacy…..and it felt like rejection to me. It was very difficult for M to feel that burden, to feel as if he were truly causing lasting pain and hurt.

Looking back, there’s been one rule that I’ve consistently pushed the limits on or broken. Hell, the rule was devised to limit me on this matter in the first place. My limit pushing has resulted in a few consequences, but not always consistently. I continuously beat myself up about it and I’ve gotten much better, but I kept doing it. Then, over the weekend, I went against his wishes on something that meant a great deal to him. Something related to that pervasive issue….only many rungs higher on the ladder.

I believe it took that infraction to bring the bigger issue to light – we’d both had mixed feelings about consequesnces and punishment, and more specifically physical punishment. On the one hand, it feels childish to need consequences and punishment. To need M to essentially help me regulate something that, as a capable, independent adult, I should be able to do on my own. Yet, I have this NEED for accountability, because I don’t easily forgive myself. In fact, I internally punish myself pretty severely. His holding me accountable and his follow through allow me to forgive me. And as crazy as it sounds even as I type it, his follow through reminds me he cares enough to help me. That I’m worth the effort. The other day, one of my dear friends said, “Our men have one of the hardest jobs there is – protecting us from ourselves.” That is so very true. M knows me so well, and he thrives on protecting me, sometimes even from myself.

I also believe, when it comes to the issue of consequences and punishment, we’ve spent the last year or so sort of feeling out the ropes. Trying things on for size, going instance by instance, until we’ve gotten comfortable – not just with the consequences or punishment, but in our individual parameters within the dynamic. How far reaching his control is going and to what extent I submit. I believe we needed to grow together and reach a level of comfort with those parameters, even as we evolve, in order to move forward.

And we have. The other day, of his own accord, M sat me down to discuss my wrong doing. As it turns out, all I wanted was to be heard and understood on the matter, but I should have asked before moving forward and going against his wishes. For the first time since this began, I hurt him when I made this choice. He was angry too. Yet, with love and care, he explained to me his point of view, as I sat in his arms. He caressed me as he spoke, he listened and heard me. He made sure we both understood one another and we expressed ourselves truly openly. I was remorseful; it hurt deeply to have hurt him. He forgave me…..and issued a consequence. And as he spoke to me about his forgiveness and explained to me my consequence, he also told me I was beautiful, that he didn’t love me any less, and that we’d move on and be just fine. But as he spoke, he became aroused. This man whom I love and trust with every ounce of my being, from the depths of his own being, expressed to me his love and desire to protect me, to see me happy and learn from my mistakes…..and this control he has and his ability to carry it out, the confidence he has in it, elicited this deeply primal response. All of him engaged, invested. I was so deeply affected by it, I can’t stop thinking about it.

Then later, without telling me ahead of time, he also carried out a physical punishment, one not paired with pleasure. Again, he carried it out with love and care. With forgiveness…..and conrol. He was alive in it. And I was alive in my submission, in my acceptance of his punishment. It was a truly humbling experience.

What I see from all of this, is that even amidst our ever-changing and evolving relationship, we have this feeling of comfort with one another. We are not reaching for some ideal or wishing to be a certain place. We don’t hope to have arrived nor are we waiting to gain some level of confidence. We are here. We are alive in it. Living it. It just is. We just are.

And it feels so good.

17 thoughts on “Rules and Punishment, An Evolution

  1. I love this so very much. You arrived on your own- together. In your own time without the need to fit into any box or guide book. That, my dear, is a life without limits and a truly unconditional love. Organic is the only way for me to fly . . .

    I love you so much,
    Annie B ❤

    (And btw Clairee you totally deserved it!!! HA)

  2. Ahh, this I understand all too well. It is hard for many to understand the need and desire for punishment…
    Like you, I will turn myself inside out when I have done something wrong. As it is, I am in a near constant state of self critical thinking….

    A physical punishment allows me to deal with it… Pay the penance and let it go. The emotional release cleanses both the “sin” and the guilt…. And then of course comes the reminder that we are valued and loved.

    Beautiful post ❤

    • Exactly, Cinn. I also beat myself up mentally far more when I screw up than He could ever physically, but the release provided by His punishment helps me let the guilt go.

  3. I struggle with this, so much. . . for all the cerebral reasons you mentioned. . . And yet. . .I can’t deny the emotional?/physical? desire for it. . But why? I don’t know. Oberon does not feel the need or desire to “punish” me. Because of that I hold my unexplained want unvoiced, silent but not gone. Oh he has no problem tanning my hide for his or my pleasure but punishment does not factor in. I have also pushed buttons and lines, at times wanting him so badly to call me on it, to incite a dominant response from him. Not as a form of manipulation mind you. That would never do, but more as a form of issuing a challenge of sorts. Then I realized how unfair of me it was to do that, so I stopped. Until I can understand this need/want, I can’t ask for it. And until I’m able to ask for it, I shouldn’t expect it. . .still it’s hard to have an un scratched itch 😉

    • I understand that struggle so well. And that itch, realizing the unfairness in the testing. It took M and I a while of revisiting and talking and just living and experiencing to reach any understanding of our needs and wants in this area. It’s tough! I know your itch will be scratched……I believe the communication is the key.


  4. Oh the testing….how much I want to stop doing that and can’t seem to rein it in sometimes.

    We had a very hard time with consequences. We still do, but like you, we just keep talking and talking about what the needs are for both of us. We are certainly in a different place now than a year ago, or even 4 months ago. And now that I can live more in the day, I can stop the expectations that we should be in a different place. We are just here. Tomorrow we will be there. I know it will be diffferent and great because we are now pulling in the same direction.

    Finding our rythmn in this is what makes the journey beautiful for me. I can find wonder and new love every day for him.

    Beautiful post, Kay. So precious.

  5. This makes me so happy to hear where you two are with this process and your relationship. Happy for you and happy as I look down the road for Master and I. We are about a year behind you I think. When you said this, “Yet, I have this NEED for accountability, because I don’t easily forgive myself. In fact, I internally punish myself pretty severely. His holding me accountable and his follow through allow me to forgive me. And as crazy as it sounds even as I type it, his follow through reminds me he cares enough to help me. That I’m worth the effort.” – OMG – that is SOOO me.

    We have had one punishment and I felt (emotionally) so much better afterward. It felt like I could truly let go of the guilt and forgive myself. My butt was pretty sore for days and bruised for over a week, but was incredibly, totally worth it.

    There are 4 other big, very specific issues I have asked to be punished for in order to help me move past them. We shall see.

    You give me hope and sustenance for that hope!! Thank you for how much you share. You really do help me.

    *big hugs*

    • I love that you are talking it through and trying things out! That’s the best part, if you ask me. We can all use this or leave that. We can customize and make things up, because it’s ours!

      Thank you for your kind words, GSG.

  6. How did I not read this till now? The Hisband and I are still working through all that too for almost identical reasons you’ve described. So thanks again for writing another honest and thoughtful post. You’re the bomb, Kay.

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