Ideas/Advice Please

SpankoNanny, WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Here's a section for those questions about discipline. In this case, we're *all* able to stand in for SpankoNanny, and we are all free to ask questions. Got a problem in your household? Check in to see what our good friend (but our firm, strict, caring friend) SpankoNanny has to say.

Ideas/Advice Please

Postby Meg » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:57 pm

My HoH, A and I have the following issue:

One of the rules in our house is that I am not allowed to yell, and I am supposed to get spanked for it. The problem is that yelling is how I tend to handle my own freakouts....I know it doesn't help, and it tends to send A into flashbacks, but I often can not help it if I am upset enough. Sometimes, the threat of spanking gives me enough of a pause to give me time to think of another way to handle things, but other times it doesn't.

So here's the problem, I asked A to create more of a ritual around our weekly maintenance. She verbally agreed, but than did not follow through in a big way...she absent-mindedly asked what we were doing before hand, and then texted someone right after rather than engaging in aftercare. I freaked out and started yelling, and we fought for several hours. While we both agreed (A was quite apologetic) that the yelling was started by A's inattentiveness, as per our previous agreement, no matter what the provocation, I would get punished if I yelled. Given that the fight was pretty severe, the punishment was equally severe, and was supposed to last the full weekend...I won't go into all of the details....but this seemed to be the right thing to do.

Anyways...it did not go very well...in fact, it went *really* badly, culminating in an all night fight last night. We talked, and after everything A now believes that Friday's punishment was too severe because of her provocation, and I should not get punished for last night's fight. The problem is that I am still feeling angry and frustrated, and mad because my bottom still hurts a lot from yesterday's installment, which now feels like a mistake. It is A's decision to make, I know. I have told her how I feel. On the other hand, I do not really know that more punishment would help....but, I am already feeling like fighting, and the DD dynamic between us is all wrong. A says she does not know what to do, but has trouble asking for advice. But, she did authorize me to solicit advice, and she joined this board, so she will probably be reading this.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:43 pm

W and I have had times when our mutual triggers start feeding off of each other, and it's not at all pleasant (understatement in the extreme). We're both miserable, and we hate it, and it's hard not to get stuck in the place that takes us to. So I empathize strongly with that!

What's worked for us, mostly, is that we just need to give it some time. Step back, do something else unrelated and reset our relationship. It doesn't feel as satisfying, but we've never found it effective to do more of the disciplinary stuff until there's been a bit of a reset. That can just be a short time (like, before I quit smoking, it might work for me to go out for a cigarette... damn, I miss smoking!!!) Sometimes, it needs longer. And, generally, we decide to start over with a clean slate when a really big blow up happens. Again, not as emotionally satisfying for me as the fantasy of her morphing into the imaginary kind of top who knows exactly what to do and does it without having any emotions of her own, but much more effective for our relationship!

Oh! And something else that helped immensely was that we had a system going for a while of written check-ins, where we'd answer a set of questions about what had happened--how were you feeling before/during/after, what do you think worked well, what do you think needed improvement, what did you learn, etc. It was a useful way of being able to see what was going on for each of us, and I pretty strongly believe that people think differently in different contexts, so the writing was a good way to add a different type of thinking to our post-spanking communication. And then, in theory, we could go back over those at a later point as well, to figure out the various patterns going on, and what worked well and what didn't.

Good luck with figuring out more of what's going on. I don't know if I'll be able to get W to come to the board, since she's got a headache now, but if I can, I'll encourage her to come write something from the top's perspective.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby Meg » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:34 pm

Thanks Jigsaw.

I think that we did kind of figure things out for the moment....and, actually, I think that Obsidian's response was kind of her way of taking things back for a moment, as you said. Your post helped both of us to see that that was ok.

We did laundry, and then as we were folding...we came up with a plan. Well, I came up with it....but she liked it and decided to implement it. To start with...no more multi-day punishments for fights....in large part, because then I am still remembering the fight...and often getting mad all over again. Next, yelling will be divided into 2 rather clear types. We have tried having yelling being a discretionary punishment, based on whether a flashback was going on....but that is *way* to vague, and did not work at all. Both types would be punished, but the punishment would be different. Yelling as a response to flashbacks/issues would be punished with my having to journal rather than with a spanking. That is still a punishment for me (I HATE journaling), but it doesn't increase the stress response for either of us. Yelling because I don't like one of her decisions would still be punished with an automatic spanking. In our relationship, we have worked out that Obsidian makes the decisions, and one of the barriers to that is that...well, I sometimes throw tantrums when I don't like the decision...and that would make Obsidian reluctant and afraid to make decisions. With the rule being automatic, and rather bright line....it is ok if I initiate by asking for my punishment...or just starting it, as with journaling, and it does not require a lot of analysis. This can also help me de-escalate the situation as well as Obsidian.

Btw, do encourage W to come back. I helped Obsidian find and sign up for the Tops Only board, which I guess is rather quiet according to her. I really think that her and W would have a lot in common and a lot to talk about. Who knows, Obsidian might even post....although she does have trouble with message boards, and gets a little distracted watching the emoticons...lol.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:44 am

I'm glad I could help! I'm a big believer in writing. It might not solve everything, but I find it's an invaluable addition to the other ways of trying to figure things out. I'm also a believer in using different methods of approaching a problem until you can untangle it--sometimes turning it upside down lets you see which string to pull to start sorting things out. (Hm, that sounds deep--I was thinking of a knot of string, but now I notice the "turning upside down" part of that could apply to spanking....)

amethyst wrote:Btw, do encourage W to come back. I helped Obsidian find and sign up for the Tops Only board, which I guess is rather quiet according to her. I really think that her and W would have a lot in common and a lot to talk about. Who knows, Obsidian might even post....although she does have trouble with message boards, and gets a little distracted watching the emoticons...lol.


I will encourage W some more. We were discussing this evening whether W is more effective as a top when she's active on the board, or whether she's more active on the board when she's having more success as a top. She says it's a chicken and egg situation, but hopefully she'll start coming around more if she knows there's a kindred spirit here. :)

Oh, and if Obsidian prefers to have fewer emoticons, she can switch her default board style to "minimal," which doesn't show them (or it shouldn't--I set it up so that people reading the board in public places don't have to worry about all of the various bare butts showing up quite so visibly!) You can find that setting in your user control panel at the top, and I can post a more extended set of instructions if you need 'em.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:37 pm

Hello!!! I've been absent from the board for quite some time. I'm happy to be nudged a little to come back! I know that I do better with real time chat, and if we wanted to go back to doing a weekly chat, I'd be really happy to do that, if it could be organized.

Welcome!!! I look forward to chatting with both of you, more.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby Meg » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:50 pm

Hello, W. Obsidian says hi as well. I am glad you are back...I have read a lot of your posts and you have a lot of good things to say. I don't know if either of us would be able to commit to a weekly chat, but if one was arranged on a weekend, I might join in.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby Eayore » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:10 pm

Really nice to hear from you, W!
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:24 pm

Thanks, Eayore. Hope to be around much more.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby TryingReallyHard » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:39 am

amethyst wrote:The problem is that I am still feeling angry and frustrated, and mad because my bottom still hurts a lot from yesterday's installment, which now feels like a mistake. It is A's decision to make, I know. I have told her how I feel. On the other hand, I do not really know that more punishment would help....but, I am already feeling like fighting, and the DD dynamic between us is all wrong.


IKWYM!! When ttwd is going well, I feel cherished and validated and heard and cared for and taken care of. When we get to a place where RH (in his infinite wisdom) has made a mistake and it has hurt me and I'm unhappy- like you said, angry, frustrated and mad- often he freezes up because there doesn't seem to be a "RIGHT PATH, THIS WAY" sign anywhere to get us from where we are to where he wants us to be. I've made him feel like he can't ask me what to do (because it often sabotages his dominance and it sabotages my ability to NOT top-from-the-bottom) and he keeps saying there's just nowhere he can go for answers. :brow: :grumble: :roll: :facepalm: :argh: :bangdesk: :boom:

...what was I talking about? OH! Right. Cherished, heard, validated... :blahblah: It helps us for him to pamper me. It sounds counter-intuitive at first, but it actually reasserts his control in a way he's comfortable with (NOT physically punishing when he can't see the path) and especially if I'm mouthy or resentful during it, gives him a familiar ground to work from. He's human, he's fallible. Even so I am capable of keeping a civil tongue in my head (he keeps saying) and treating him with respect. Mouthy and disrespectful he can deal with. When we do this it works almost better than an additional punishment to reassure me and reset our ttwd'ness.

Ok, this sounds like I'm trying to :weasel: - I'm not. (and I have the bruises to prove it :blush: ) But for us, there are times when ttwd needs to happen, but a punishment isn't going to get us anywhere. ...have I mentioned the insomnia... and the tendency to ramble? :typing:
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:27 pm

I think part of the problem is that most of us tops are sort of grumbling about how nobody's writing in the tops forum, while not writing.

Please tell your HoH I'd be thrilled if he'd chime in, and I'm going to do my best to be a more solid presence here now.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby Ladyinredbottom » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:30 pm

Thanks W. I think most of us look forward to reading what you have to say. Your so smart and have great advice!! 8-)
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:42 pm

awww, shucks! Thanks! :)
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby Meg » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:43 pm

Thanks for all of the input on this. It has now been about two weeks since this all went down...so I will give you all an update and response all in one.

Before I begin....what does IKWYM!! mean? Sorry, but I am turning 41 tomorrow...and I am really not up on all of the acronyms. Most of the time I can figure them out...but for the life of me, I was not able to work that one out.

Obsidian has PTSD from childhood sexual abuse...which means she can have pretty bad flashbacks. Loudness and yelling, among other things, sometimes sends her into flashbacks. I experienced verbal abuse as a child. I don't know that it rises the level of PTSD...but I get triggered by verbal type stuff. So...it turned out that she was in a flashback most of the weekend, and started on Friday, which turned into the fight I got punished for. We really didn't know it at the time...it is not always obvious. She was not quite "there" on Saturday during my punishment, probably because of the flashback...which kind of freaked me out.

Now, I behaved badly too, which may or may not have been related to my tension. I threw a bit of a temper tantrum about something really stupid....which started the all night fight. Throughout the week we figured it out. The next week I offered her to finish my punishment, because I realized it was my temper tantrum that ended it...and I felt bad about it. Obsidian refused...we had a minor fight about that...but we worked it out.

In the meantime, to my dismay, Obsidian discovered soap through this board, which I will get for mouthing off...even if it is in response to her flashbacks. That might seem harsh...but I really, really can not go off during her flashbacks....because it will make things *way* worse. It worked, because there was another flashback a day or so after my first experience with soap, and the memory of the soap gave me enough pause to think through a different response to the flashback...and it all worked out. Not thrilled about the soap, but I have to admit, it seems to be quite effective...yuk. So...domestic harmony is restored for now.

Pampering definitely does not work for me, when I am upset and mad. It also does not work for me unless Obsidian is *really* done being angry with me...because if she starts getting gentle, and I test it, and she starts the fight again....well, then I really get set off because I felt misled by the former gentleness....what a mess. Other than that, TRH...everything you said echoed my own feelings.

Thanks for all of the comments and input.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:17 pm

amethyst wrote:Before I begin....what does IKWYM!! mean? Sorry, but I am turning 41 tomorrow...and I am really not up on all of the acronyms. Most of the time I can figure them out...but for the life of me, I was not able to work that one out.


It means "I know what you mean." But don't blame your age on that one, since I've been on a list serve with people who graduated from my college 20 or 30 years before I did (which means they were 20 in the 60s and 70s... you do the math) and *they* knew all kinds of acronyms I didn't. Instead, get on your high horse and say that you speak proper English, and don't know what people mean if they don't take the time to type it out.

Oh, and happy birthday, too!

On to the rest of your post:

Flashbacks and triggers can be incredibly challenging, whichever side they're coming from.

I suspect that things don't need to rise to diagnosable levels in order to make things difficult. I know that I've got issues, and W's got issues, and the two of us set each other off pretty easily. You guys have my sympathy. It's good when you recognize that one (or both) of you has been triggered... but I don't know if it makes it all that much easier to get through.

My therapist is trained in a kind of couples' therapy that says people are drawn to someone who is likely to call up a lot of their unresolved stuff from the past, and that this is actually a good thing, because if you can manage to work through things, it's actually a good way to get to a place where you're a lot more healed. (Um, perhaps I'm not describing this well. There's a book called "Getting the Love You Want" and other books by a guy called Harville Hendrix, and he explains it better.) My point with it is, that relationships where there's potential for a lot of happiness wind up *also* getting tangled up with unintentionally triggering each others' stuff. So the things that I love about W are tied pretty closely to traits that are triggering for me in different ways, and vice versa. I suppose what's encouraging about the whole relationship thing described in those books is being able to say, "Oh, this way that we're making each other miserable is an opportunity to heal." Sometimes, I can even remember that when we're having a fight.

Actually, I kind of suspect that the disciplinary dynamic fits right into that, since it pushes both W and me right out of our comfort zones and requires us to learn skills that we didn't pick up when we were growing up.
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Re: Ideas/Advice Please

Postby Meg » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:45 am

Thanks, JA.

Luckily....fights like that one are *very* rare nowadays. Both of us have done a lot of work, and the ttwd really helps a lot. One of the advantages to long term relationships is that you have plenty of time to work through all of this "stuff".
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