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Raise up a child in the way they should go

A man in the shadows for a post about childhood and my father

And when they are old they will not depart from it.

Who we are is in no small part built from how we were raised. When I look back over my childhood (as much as I remember, parts of the 70’s are a bit of a blur) I remember an odd child, not socially accepted and very different, not just from my peers, but also very different from the rest of my family. My Father had an especially hard time understanding this odd, bookish, very introverted child that was his first born. He tried to “make a man out of me” and did indeed teach me very useful skills, my aptitude with machinery and computers can be traced directly back to him. It was also my Father who taught me to cook, a skill (like the others that I treasure to this day). He taught me other things too,  some of those things were what not to do.

My Father was amazingly smart and gifted at math, so much so that it was all easy and obvious to him. This made him a terrible teacher on this topic. He would look at a problem and say “The answer is obvious” and then become insanely frustrated when I didn’t see it. My Father is to this day the least happy person I have ever met, and I know that he was very disappointed in me. I was not the child he had hoped for, to be fair my Mother felt the same about me, right up until near the end of her life.

Now I don’t share a lot of my Father personality (even though I do look very much like him) except for one thing. I am as stubborn as he ever was. This did not lead to a harmonious relationship. This combined with how he was raised and disciplined lead to a fair few confrontations. They always ended the same.

I got a beating.

Now they didn’t happen everyday, but certainly several times a year until I reached my teen years. Once I filled out a bit and wasn’t the scrawny, weak youth I had been, I stopped allowing him to hit me. The real turning point was when I stopped him from using the same “discipline” on my younger brothers. I flat out told him.

“No, hit them and I will beat you” and he never did.

Why, you might ask, are you writing about this? Is this experience what made you enjoy hitting Molly?

And no matter what I write some of you will point to this post and say “Aha!” He was abused and so has become an abuser. To that I can only answer with a resounding no. Sometimes what you learn from your parents is what not to do, and I never did to my children what he did to me, and as far as D/s and BDSM goes it was a real challenge for me to overcome that lesson. It really was Molly helping me learn that consent made the difference between abuse and what we practice. I will mention here that if you are thinking that Molly must also have been beaten as a child to enjoy all of this, I can tell you that isn’t the case at all.

Our kinks stand apart from the way that we were raised, and while our journey from children to sexual beings has been influenced by many different things, childhood abuse was not one of them.

What prompted this post and revelation was a comment I got on the post Tough Enough. Dawn wrote:

Thank you Michael. I don’t see myself as enjoying a whipping. My mother used to hit me with a thick leather belt until the welts bled. If that wasn’t causing enough damage, she’d flip it around and slice me open with the buckle. I read a lot of erotica, and I just don’t get the idea of being aroused by these beatings/whippings.

What she wrote makes perfect sense to me, and for quite some time I would have said exactly the same. Many are informed by their personal experiences and no matter how much we explain that what we do is loving and with fully informed consent, they will never get why this turns us on. Just like I will never get all of the kinks that don’t work for me.

I am very sorry for the things that happened to Dawn and me and all the other people who have suffered in this way, but what impresses me most is that Dawn didn’t tell me what I and Molly are doing are wrong, she merely related her experience and how she has trouble understanding why it works for anyone. We don’t expect anyone else to get what works or us and we shouldn’t. We only want the respect to live our lives the way we want and to show as much as possible that while we might be different, we aren’t wrong, or evil, or immoral.

Practice your expressions of love however you want that are not illegal or non-consensual and do your best to understand that others will do the same and I think the world could be a much better place. While writing this I was reminded of the words from the Wiccan Rede

An it harm none do what ye will.

A philosophy I think I can live with.

Please do feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. I like the discussion and opinion!


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