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

Raise up a child in the way they should go



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!



11 responses to “Raise up a child in the way they should go”

  1. Rose Bliss Avatar
    Rose Bliss

    Thank you for including the Wiccan Rede…. and I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. While I was never beaten or even spanked (and I now crave spankings), I received terrible mixed messages from both of my parents and always felt I was a disappointment to them both. I also was the oldest child; the practice child, the one that it didn’t matter if mistakes were made and my brother and sister were the golden children. I was instructed to be “the leader”, to never make mistakes and yet still be as submissive my mother. My mother was frustrated with me because I never looked like her and no matter how much I dieted and lost weight I would never gain the addition height or body type that would make me look like her. My parents let me know I was a total failure in that area as well as other. While I got along fairly well with my mother, I spent my whole life trying to get my father’s approval and praise and in 65 years, it’s never happened. I have finally given up. And he hasn’t even noticed that I’m no longer a part of his life. Or maybe he has and just doesn’t care. Because of this, I have huge “daddy issues” and it’s why I’ll never be able to address my Dom as “Daddy” or be a little or babygirl. I’m very glad he doesn’t have that need.

    1. Thank you for the comment, yet another example of how our childhood influences our present.


      1. Rose Bliss Avatar
        Rose Bliss

        This topic intersects three areas of study for me… sexuality, human behavior and kinks and fetishes. I’m convinced that a lot of our sexual desires (as well as other basic ones) are great influenced by things that happen to use (good and bad) from ages 3 to 12.

  2. steve Avatar

    I like you Michael have taken what I never got in my childhood to raise my daughter. Whilst I didn’t do it alone I did MY part mainly alone. It’s not an exact science and am reasonably happy with the result. In regards to kink again I think what I wasn’t taught shaped me more than what I was. They did their best with a difficult child and to be fair I still am. I don’t always know what I want but I do know what I DON’T. I was a submissive until I met someone even more submissive than me. And although I’m not as good as I should be (health issues) I do try and push her boundaries a little each time.

    I realise I’m rambling so will just say thank you for ALL the posts and tweets you do.

    1. Thank you Steve, I know we are about as far apart politically as is possible, but I like how we manage to look passed that to what we have in common and deal with each other respectfully. It is interesting to see where your life has led you and thank you for your thank you (I think we might be getting a bit recursive here) and isn’t it great that there is space to be different in this world?


  3. Like it or not, we’re all products of our upbringing. Too often the cycle of abuse continues from one generation to the next, so reading about people who have stopped the cycle is always heartwarming.

    I’ve written about being sexually abused as a child and the effect that shame has had on my sexuality. It’s literally taken me decades to be able to accept that some of my kinky desires are not a product of my abuse. I’ve made a ton of progress with that in the past year, but I do still struggle with it at times, in part because I worry that my husband will view the desires as a product of the abuse.

    Thank you for sharing some of your past. It is comforting to me to know that others who have abuse in their past have struggled with and overcome abuse.

    NDG xx

    1. Rose Bliss Avatar
      Rose Bliss

      I can relate very much to what you said here. I’m just now coming to terms with my own abuses and how it affected my sexuality and I’m starting to write about them too. I finding it’s really helping with the healing of the anger and hurt from all those years ago.

  4. Having been beaten as a child by her mother and escaping an abusive relationship my mum was very anti hitting. Her punishment of choice was silence, sometimes I wasn’t even sure what it was I had done all I knew was I she wasn’t talking to me to me so I must had been bad. Being an only child to a single parent it was incredibly effective and made for a very long day or two depending how angry she was.
    Having three children and a husband I doubt my own silence would have the deafening effect it had on me if I were to try it with my own children but I also find it impossible. I’m too much of a talker, at times my kids probably wish I would just give them the silent treatment rather than the thirty minute lecture that will follow their misdemeanours.
    The only time words seem to fail me is during sex and I am most comfortable if the ability to speak is taken away from me. I do however crave someone to talk to me especially if that involves being admonished or degraded so perhaps that’s my way of righting the balance of all the telling offs I wished for as a child.

  5. I can see both childhood and present in here. I was never spanked, with exception of one time when I was on a home visit, stayed out too late because I walked the boys home after a fight at a party and tucked them into bed. Their mother was a person that drank a lot, I was Wendy with the lost boys of Peter Pan. At 13 it was a little too late to start spanking. Most recently (a few years ago) I punished myself when I lost an important person from AU. I misbehaved and a Dom punished me. I acted out more to be punished more. Until I realized what I was doing wasn’t healthy. These are are all things we come to terms with and act accordingly.

  6. Being sexually abused hurt me too. My father killed himself when I was five. That’s when my mum started using the belt on me. It’s also when my grandmothers husband (only grandfather I ever knew) started abusing me.
    So my choice was the belt with her or the bed with him. Not that I had a choice.
    It’s definitely left some scars.

  7. Wonderful post with heartfelt comments.

    We are all a product of our upbringing and life experiences.

    Velvet x

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