Last Saturday, I got my first spanking in months. Well, "I" in a slightly loose sense of the word.
I’ve been writing about my experience of coming to terms with Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka, Multiple Personality Disorder) in my blog (and my other blog). So while obviously in the broad sense, I was the one who got the spanking, in the sense of experiencing it, I-who-am-writing-this-post, wasn’t.
Spankings in general, and disciplinary spankings in specific have been a little complicated since W and I started recognizing the fact that I have different parts. There’s the issue of consent (if we wouldn’t do something to an actual child, then is it appropriate to do it to a child in an adult’s body?), there’s the issue of timing (giving the spanking to the part that needs it, and not a part who either wouldn’t be helped, or who would in fact be harmed by it), and there’s the issue of the sheer tentativeness of so many parts of W’s and my relationship since I’ve become more aware of why these weird shifts in my personality happen.
That said, the spanking on Saturday was exactly right. One of my kid parts was feeling really over wrought. There was a lot of anger, and she was just pushing and pushing, I think to find out whether someone (W) would take charge and help her to feel in control. Part of what she needed was to be able to express the anger. But in order to do that, she absolutely needed to feel like someone else would enforce limits for her, rather than relying on her to keep things contained. W observed that she was really "ramped up," heading for a big tantrum.
So W encouraged her to let out the anger. She said she trusted that part not to do anything that was irreversibly bad, and even though that part was convinced horrible things would happen, she also needed a release. And so that part finally threw a tantrum that included flinging everything on the bed all over the room.
You’d think that would have solved things, but clearly, that part needed more. She just kept raising the stakes of the tantrum, getting more ramped up as she went. Looking back, I also think she was disappointed that W wasn’t shocked by her TERRIBLE behavior, throwing everything across the room. Part of what she wanted was a reaction.
Eventually, W told her to pick things up. She refused. W threatened a spanking. She continued to refuse, saying W didn’t REALLY mean it. W said she really DID mean it, and to lay down for a spanking.
Before the spanking, W made sure that she understood that W was the grown up, and was in charge of making decisions. She reminded that part that it was important both to express feelings appropriately AND to trust W to be there when she (or I) needed her.
The spanking itself was minor, as spankings go. It was a spanking for a kid–perhaps a dozen moderately hard smacks on the bottom, and then two with the hairbrush, just to make a point. But the effect was amazing. That part settled down, and was able to feel closure. And I was also able to feel much more balanced afterwards.
It’s strange that I’m so resistant to the things that work so well, and so afraid of accepting that what works can be a healthy choice. For several of my parts, a spanking is exactly what they need in order to feel balanced and secure. And, on a broader level, all of me feels immensely calmer when I can accept that there are different parts who really feel and behave as though they were different people.
I seem to have my greatest shame around the fact that what works for me is not what works for "normal" people. And it’s easier, in a lot of ways, to struggle and push through without getting my needs met than it is to just accept that I need something different than what most people think is normal. But I’m working on it. Today, it’s a little easier to see that it’s more important to go with what works, than with what I think should work. I can only hope I’ll be able to keep seeing things that way.