Okay, yeah, not disability or lesbian or sex related, well not intentionally. For those arriving here who want to be spanked by a woman in a wheelchair please send money (don’t come see me, just send me money, and consider yourself punished!).
I had a dream last night about my father and corporal punishment, which is the technical word for spanking, for ‘discipline’, for beating, for hitting, for one person inflicting pain on another, usually a child, for educational purposes.
Now I was sent to a private religious school in part in order to preserve that biblical adage; “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” And every year my parents signed a waiver which allowed the school to provide whatever physical discipline they deemed necessary. My parents, in a odd bout of revisionist history, in one of our last conversations, months ago, said they were “unaware” that anyone was actual punished; and certainly not me. I pointed out that when every single day multiple people in just our class were given corporal punishment and often the ENTIRE CLASS (if for example the teacher felt there was too much talking) this wasn’t something high enough to call the parents about, that is WHY they signed the waiver after all: so that I could be hit! And after all, the ministers who worked at the school openly boasted from the pulpit how ‘liberal’ it was now because you didn’t automatically get sent for corporal punishment for dropping a pen or pencil. Actually that came up a lot in church, how in the UK it was threatened that hitting your child would be made illegal! There was much praying that God's order and instructions to hit children would be maintained in North America: not like those Godless Europeans.
See the irony was that at the same time I was in this school MY father was in charge of teaching ‘family discipline.’ in our church (or giving special lectures on it). He specifically taught how to physically discipline a baby starting at 3 to 6 months of age. This discipline was, in the end, all about church. A child HAD to be taught by a very early age to be absolutely silent and still for 2 to 2.5 hours (the length of a church service (by the age of two)). Linda and I remember how we would see children who would be too noisy or cry and within seconds, they were being hustled toward the door. Then the screaming started (because they knew what was coming!). These were "poorly trained" children. The parents of THESE children would be directed to my father.
So how do you accomplish this absolute obedience, silence and stillness. First you teach them to obey you, so between three to six months you start disciplining them, particular if they cry in a “rebellious manner” using two fingers swiftly applied to the hip, not enough to bruise but enough to sting, while stating “No!” Then, from six months, when the baby cries in the night, you apply this instead of feeding and then, after a time starting at six months you simply do not come, no matter how much the baby cries or screams. And using this between six and nine months the baby will stop crying for feeding in the night (and stop crying if sick, or if fevered or bleeding, etc). Also leave things for the child to play with in the crib.
Believe me, I am not advocating this, I am merely repeating, pretty much verbatim, what I heard my father in his position of authority instruct young parents over and over again. Then there is “blanket training” which is done before the baby can walk; a blanket with a book or toy which is silent. When the baby tries to crawl off the blanket, a “No” and a spank. This is repeated until the baby is reinforced to stay on the blanket for 10 minutes, then over time that is increased to 2 hours at which time, the child is ready to come to church. Training them to sleep helps too.
I remember at the age of three and four and five sitting in the kitchen with a timer. I was on a stool and if I moved, moved at all including turning my head or squirming, then I was spanked and the timer was reset back to the original time (I think about 15-20 minutes). This wasn’t because I was bad, but just part of my “training” in order be obedient in public. If I was told to sit, I learned to sit.
Our church was fairly strict on the grounds of discipline and I do not remember a limit on what kind of discipline a parent applied. I remember more the sermons that recently there was too much “running” being seen, or “loud laughter being heard” from the children or that a child had talked back to an adult without using "sir" and that parents had better bring their children in line. So when parents got together people talked about what they used; one used a ping pong paddle, another used a spatula: was wooden or steel best? It was generally considered ‘no on’ to hit or bruise the face.
Now at school, they used the classic large wooden paddle which once you got to junior high and high school (yes, they kept doing corporal punishment once you were in 10, 11, even 12th grade), they would use the Gym Teachers, who generally had the muscles to do it. Particularly if they were doing a “class corporal” which is where if a teacher left a class and came back and most of the class was talking or such then EVEYONE would be sent for punishment (this drove the ‘good students’ crazy because they were acting perfect and got punished anyway). Now, THAT was a good day to have been sick. We were hit until we cried. Of course some girls played up to this and had a good sobbing going before the first swat. Others (perhaps someone we know), particularly if they believed that the punishment was unjust would only cry when the pain forced the tears out of the body. But the stare straight ahead never changed. Willful. (that’s a punishable offence too)
When I was older, I was hit on the open palm, first with a belt and then with the back of my Father’s hand. It was almost always clinical. I was punished not just what I did, but what my facial expression was (“rebellious”, “sullen”) or my thoughts (“Having an non obedient attitude”) or said, ('negative', 'critical', 'sarcastic'). As you can see, it worked a treat. Once punished I was required to thank the person giving punishment and then say, “I love you.” to my father. And if that did not sound sincere enough, I was punished again, and if I was not sincere enough in thanking for punishment or the statement of love, I was punished again…and again.
I was always punished for saying something negative; that was a house rule, saying something negative about anything resulted in punishment. I was corporal punished for not having my church clothes ironed properly, for not having my shoes shined in the time I was ordered to, in not having all the forks exactly aligned at meal or putting out a utensil that had not been washed properly.
But for me there were two big ones. At school I was whipped or paddled for “talking” and at home it was for “stealing.” It was reinforced over and over that everything belonged to my Father, even our clothes and food was heavily regulated. I was so underweight that I tested below 2% body fat. But I was not allowed to eat from the fridge, that was ‘theft’ (it belonged to my father, and below that, to my mother, but not to me). Also I had a sweet tooth, so sometimes I would, when my parents were gone, have a few chocolate chips or five or ten marshmallows. This was between 14 and 17. I was invariable found out because my parents were on the look out after my “addiction” was discovered. Even when I used my own money my room would be searched and if “Sweets” were found (my parents didn’t believe in sugar or butter or white flour so this would have been things like dried pineapple or Carob Bars) they would confiscated and I would be punished. I remember, at 17, staring ahead as I was hit over and over for eating two pieces out of a box of chocolates we had been given a month before as a gift.
Now, today, I am not allowed to have an opinion on corporal punishment because I don’t have a child (only slightly tongue in cheek). But if Marla Bates (go read her blog), after adopting a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder can change that child with hard work to a person who still has Autism Spectrum Disorder but who tries very hard to explain her limitations and when she is going to erupt and Marla did that without resorting to corporal punishment, then I have to wonder about hitting six month old babies.
I had a dream last night and in it my father was determining what I was allowed to think, ALLOWED to SPEAK and when the time came to leave, more and more was taken from me (as it belonged to him). In the end, so determined was I to be free, to be me, that I left naked. At which point my father ran me over with the car.
I say that corporal punishment has changed me in that when I see something wrong, and people try to stop me, they speak harshly to me or threaten me, I indicate that they better do better than that. I used to suffer agony to speak my mind when I was nine, I used to be publicly hurt and humiliated when I was 14 or 15; so if they think that anything short of breaking some bones and rendering me unconscious is going to stop me, they are a bit niave.
Linda says it changed me in OTHER ways: my 13 years of an eating disorder, a conviction that I am a “bad person” and that “I am incapable of good.” Plus regularly there is my insistence, which rises to a point of madness. a madness where I have to be restrained, becuase I feel I “must” be hit; because ‘that is who I am.’ and 'that is what I deserve!' And if no one will strike me, I will begin methodically striking my face, back and forth until the face is swollen and bruised, then the body, and still, still I need to be beaten, for that is who I am; a THING to be beaten. She says that THESE are the evidence she sees of my “discipline.” I can say that with three exceptions all before the age of 16, I have never hit another person; only myself. In fact, during one time when a homophobic, probably intoxicated, man threatened to give me a beating, I simply smiled and closed my eyes and said something like, “You’ve finally come.” Which must have freaked him out enough because he didn’t do it.
And yet, I know that my upbringing was mild compared to others. My father never left scars. Never used a wire on me (did on my brother once), and only hit my face once. And the odd thing is I love my father. He did what he thought was best. I just wish we could talk about it and put it behind me. Now days you would never know that was what he taught dozens to hundreds of young couples to do; how to scientifically hit their children.
I do not like corporal punishment. I remember as a young child going back to my room in tears, my face pressed into my stuffed animals in humiliation (I was punished for not coming when called within two seconds; for not barking out “yes sir!” or “Yes ma'am”, for not coming with an “attitude of willingness to obey”) and vowing to myself that when I grew up I would have children. Oh yes, I would have children so then I could BEAT them and BEAT them and then I would finally not be on the receiving end. I was about four when I first made that vow (and fantasy, of endlessly beating these future children) and I kept saying it when I was eight. A good motivation for having children, eh?
So, a wee controversial topic, but I don’t mind, if corporal punishment was the best thing that happened to you, if watching your siblings writhe on the floor as one parent or another lay into them with a piece of wire; watching for minutes as they squirmed to make the blows land in different places was a good experience, let me know. Or if there is some good way to hit, some way it helped you, let me know.
All I know is that I believe my Father was severally physically abused, and that when angered, that side of him came out, and when not angry, his clinical application, the demands of sincere loving at being reduced to tears was in some ways worse. My father was an abuser. And so am I. I have simply turned it inward, so that the only person I destroy, the only one I hit, and the one I reduce for being “bad”, for being 'eternally bad' is myself.
14 hours ago