Monday, March 16, 2015

Grateful Surrender


Two and a half years into TTWD, punishment is kind of a rare thing. I remember when I first met a friend of mine – a friend I consider a mentor of sorts – she said something to me like “serious punishment is very rare, but he still finds reason to toss me over his knee all the time.” I think back on that now, as that's pretty much where we are now. 

Some of our rules are things that needed to become habit, as I know I've mentioned before. In most circumstances, the intuitive reaction I have is to obey Jason. It comes naturally to me now, though there are times it's still a bit uncomfortable. For example, Friday night we were at a party, just the two of us, in town, and I wanted a drink. I leaned over and asked permission, and got a response that denied me what I wanted but gave me specific guidelines as to what I could and could not indulge in. I wasn't happy with his response. I wanted to stomp my foot and drink whatever the hell I wanted. The will to do what I want to is still there. But I found it fairly easy to nod and obey him, despite my natural inclination to resist.

Most of the time, that's how it is. Most of the time, I find I'm very much in the habit of doing what he expects of me. Things like safety rules and basic obedience now come as naturally to me as any other habit, and it feels unnatural to do anything else. But there are some things that will quite honestly never go away. There are some things that, because I'm human and imperfect, will never truly vanish. And one of those human tendencies I still struggle with, and likely always will, at least to a certain extent, is my emotional response. 

The other day, I experienced one of those times. I had tried and tried and tried to keep my temper in check with one of my children. It was one of those days. I did everything Jason had asked of me. But I felt my anger rising, and I know now I should've removed myself from the situation, but I didn't. Finally, I snapped. I lost my temper and I yelled. And in the heat of the moment, I swore. I'm not allowed to yell, and I'm not allowed to swear. I knew seconds after the angry words left my lips that when Jason came home, I'd be over his knee.

At times, my natural response to doing something wrong is to find an excuse so I can avoid punishment. I was late! I was distracted and lost track of time! I didn't mean to say or do that! But I know that the benefit of this dynamic does not work unless I am brutally honest. I know that nothing short of humility and transparency will bring us where we want to be – for both me, and for Jason. So when the temptation to run from my mistakes hits me, I try to overcome that temptation, and own up to what I did. 

After I lost my temper, I took a calming breath, removed myself from the situation, and messaged Jason. I told him what happened, what led to my loss of temper, and how I handled it. He responded not by lecturing or scolding, but by encouraging me to pick myself up and do what needed to be done. So I did.

My punishment loomed over me. I knew there was no mercy on this one. I knew I'd violated an agreed-upon rule -- well, two. Feeling emotionally depleted, I picked up the phone and called Jason. I just wanted to hear his voice. But when I called him, he was too busy to talk (which is why I rarely call him at work), and I snapped at him as I hung up the phone. Seconds later, a message buzzed to me. 

Watch your attitude. 

Oh, seriously, I really needed to reign it in. Not only had I broken a rule, but I really didn't need to complicate the situation by violating yet another rule. Yikes. 

I apologized. I focused myself on what needed to be done around here. And when he came home, I had that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach I get before he punishes me.

“I don't have any excuses,” I said. “I know what I did was wrong, and I know we have rules for this.” There would be no trying to talk my way out of it. 

It's hard to explain what was going on with me then. I did not want to be punished. I was nauseous over the thought of facing punishment. But at the same time, I knew I deserved it. So I mostly just tried to work up the courage to take what I knew was coming. When he punishes me, he punishes me soundly. How could a part of me not dread that? 

“Now, wait,” he said. “Before I punish you, I want to hear the whole story. Everything that happened. Tell me what led to you losing your temper.” It's very rare that I lose my temper, and I appreciated that he wanted to take the time to help me sort through it, so I could prevent it from happening again. So, we went upstairs alone, making sure we had privacy. I knelt before him and talked it all out, told him everything I'd done and why. I held nothing back. He sat and listened, as the emotions of the day spilled out, and I began to cry. 

“I see,” he said. He talked about how we'd prevent the situation from happening again. We discussed my calling him, why I did it, and how I responded. He reiterated that he expects me to be polite and respectful when I talk to him, and I nodded, still sniffling a bit. Then he stood, went to the implement drawer, and took out that rubber thing – it's like a rubber paddle, and I cringe when he takes it out because it bites deep and the sting lasts for days. He laid it on the bed, and then his hands went to his waist, as he removed his belt. I gulped. I don't remember the last time I've been punished with two implements. “We have rules in place for a reason, and you know I need to punish you. I want you over my lap, now.” 

I obeyed quickly, overcome with emotion as my belly hit his knee. Regret for having broken a rule. Security in being in my place of submission over his knee. Dread of the punishment I knew would hurt.  

Sternly, he asked me to tell him why I was being punished. I did. He spanked me, first his belt as more of a warm-up than anything, as it wasn't as bad as the belt could be, but when the rubber implement came into play, I could've crawled out of my skin. He held me down as I could hardly stand it, and he firmly punished me. I have no idea how long it lasted. All I know is that when he was done, I lay over his knee in complete surrender. He kept me there for a good long while. 

Aftercare comes and goes. Sometimes I need it, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes he thinks I deserve it, and sometimes he'd prefer the harsher punishment of sending me to bed to think about what I've done. But this time was different. He knew I'd done something I shouldn't, and he knew I deserved to be punished. But he also knew it was not easy for me. He knew I disliked what I'd done, and I was repentant. He knows how hard I've tried to be patient with my family, and respectful toward him. He knows the progress I've made. And he knew what a trying day I'd had. 

His hand over my bare skin, he caressed me, over and over again, as he told me he loved me and that he knew I'd do better. Sometimes I need stern. Sometimes he has nothing to give me but stern. But sometimes, it's more complicated than that. Sometimes, my needs are many and varied, and that night was one of those times. 

I lay over his knee in surrender, in my quiet place, accepting the consolation he now gave after punishment. And I cried. 

I cried because I dislike being punished. But there was more than sorrow in those tears. There was thankfulness, and a cleansing cry that released the emotions of the day and brought me back to my center. There was a quiet acceptance of his leadership, of his discipline, of his sternness and his understanding. There was the certainty of our partnership, the mutual self-giving we partake in every time we come together. 

We had commitments to attend to, so after a while, we went about doing what we needed to do. I had an outside obligation, and the entire time I was away from home, all I could think about was coming back to Jason. I felt the separation more keenly than I normally do. I wanted to run to him. I came home. The house was quiet, as our kids were asleep and he was sitting in his chair watching something on tv. I sat on a cushion by his feet and lay my head on his knee as I waited for him. 

We went to bed, and I didn't say much of anything. I wasn't sure what I wanted to say, just that I needed to be with him. But as he tucked me in by his side, I whispered a thank you. 

Thank for this. Thank you for helping me, for taking the time to understand, for teaching me and keeping me on track. Thank you for helping me heal, for keeping me calm, and for helping me move past my frailties. Thank you for listening, and for making me so precious to you. Thank you.

18 comments:

  1. Once again the closeness and understanding between you and Jason is beautiful. It's nice to hear of an Hoh who is firm (or consistent), but takes into account each situation and adapts the emotional aftercare. Sometimes I struggle with not raising my voice or yelling and just wonder if all parents don't do that occasionally. I know it is good to avoid it and work on that skill. Does Jason have a knack for calmness in dealing with kids or is he just very good at self control? I struggle with it at times.

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    1. Thank you, Kate. I do think that all parents struggle with losing patience from time to time...and I don't think that Jason's expectations for me are necessarily what's right for everyone. Here, I've struggled with a bad temper...and it's worth both my effort and his, to curb it. Jason does have a knack for dealing calmly (but firmly -- no surprise there lol) with kids. He's the oldest of a very large family, and was very experienced with handling kids when we began having our own. He was the one who showed me the ropes! lol He's also just very good at having self control himself. It's part of his personality. He's the "cool, calm, and collected" kinda person, slow to anger. I think most of us do struggle with it at times.

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  2. Such a sweet post!. I admire your honesty in coming clean with Jason. I still struggle with that with Gabe. I can so identify with just being thankful that Gabe is willing to do the hard work it takes to make our marriage so much better.
    Megan

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    1. Thanks, Megan. Coming clean is part of what works...it's difficult to do, but so worth the effort! I love that you're grateful for the effort he puts in!

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  3. I have a few questions.

    Are you at home all day with the kids? Are there many of them? Do you get a break from them? I ask these questions because we were both fairly strict with our children, and I kept a wooden spoon on the kitchen counter as an 'aide' to discipline. I also had a loud voice - and used it. But not swearing. If anything, Dan was stricter than me. And it has paid off with interest. We have two happily rounded adults and delightful grandchildren, who are now learning that they, too, cannot cross the line.

    Why do you think Jason has given you this rule? Is it because he is worried you will let your temper get out of hand? I know my shouting at the kids was a release valve for when things got tough. And as Dan often worked far away or even overseas, I was in charge of the home quite a lot.

    Also - do you think this type of 'punishment' does you good? Do you need it? The reason I ask is because I am, as an adult, expected to make reasonable choices and judgements. I understand the 'attitude' issue wholeheartedly, but wonder whether in some ways Jason is being a little harsh? What do you think? Are you acting like a child and being treated like one as a consequence? What do you think you ought to do to turn these unpleasant 'punishments' into more constructive and less harrowing 'discipline' sessions where lesser adjustments can be made? Did you, for example, discuss why the children wound you up so much and what could be done to alleviate it?

    Sorry. None of this is meant disrespectfully, just that I am a mother and grandmother, and also a well-spanked wife. Luckily, mostly pleasurably. And sometimes I like to question things as I am not able to chat face to face over coffee. LOL!

    Finally, is Jason good at self control? If he is, can he give you some pointers? I used to find that especially where the kids were concerned, I needed breaks from them. It was very useful to be able to get Dan's input.

    I wonder - might it be better not to rush straight to the phone or texting service? After the children have gone to bed at night is a good chance for quiet time for the both of you, to discuss the happenings during the day, on both your side and Jason's side, and to work out strategies for dealing with them. Maybe talking face to face will stem that outflow of 'attitude'? I don't know. But it is surely worth trying.

    Hugs
    Ami

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    1. Hi, Ami
      Your post reminded me of why I usually refer to my infractions rather vaguely. I'm only giving a very small glimpse into the way things run here, and it's easy to give the wrong impression, or cause concern in my readers. It probably would've been best to gloss over why I was punished in this instance.

      In any event, I'll answer your questions. Just to clarify, I don't think any of the questions you've raised are disrespectful. I think your comment is kind, it just indicates to me that there are things that are not very clear from a post like this (my fault, not yours).

      Yes, I work from home and I'm here with the kids. We have what most would consider a large family. My issue is not with discipline or parenting strategies. Jason and I have a good bit of experience now, and have come to a place where we have parenting strategies that work well for us (for now!). My issue is that I am a recovering angry person. I used to yell ALL the time. Not just raising my voice. Not just the occasional flare of temper. I was raised in a home where temper was the norm, and I adapted those coping mechanisms. I used to scream. I HATE that I used to yell. It is very rare that I ever lose my temper anymore, but occasionally it happens.

      Why did he make this a rule? I *asked* Jason to make this one of my rules. I hated that I lost my temper. When I initially asked for this rule, he said no, he was afraid it would be too difficult for me and I'd be in trouble frequently. Over time, he decided I was ready, as I'd already curbed my temper quite a bit. Then, he gradually increased his expectations.

      We both occasionally raise our voices, but both strive not to do it in temper. We just believe that for our family, better methods are available.


      You asked: "Also - do you think this type of 'punishment' does you good? Do you need it?...Are you acting like a child and being treated like one as a consequence?"

      I absolutely think this rule is necessary, and I've benefitted immensely from it. I mean no offense, but the reality is, if I didn't benefit from it, we wouldn't have it in place. I also am expected to make reasonable judgments, etc., which is why Jason and I discussed the entire situation before he punished me. So no. I don't think Jason was too harsh at ALL. I think he was absolutely in the right to punish me. No, I don't think I was acting like a child. I think I was acting like someone who lost her patience, and has agreed to take steps necessary not to do that, but lost my head in the heat of the moment.

      As to your other questions, I would not call this a harrowing discipline session at all, but very constructive, actually. I felt cleansed, renewed, forgiven, ready to do better next time. I was emotional, yes, but as I explained, it was a release of many emotions. I was also punished for several infractions, not just the loss of temper. We did indeed discuss what caused the issue. For privacy reasons, I won't get into details as to what happened and why, but I took every step I could think of to hash out why I lost my temper and what I could do to avoid it happening again in the future. Jason and I did discuss it at length.

      Regarding your other suggestions, Jason is excellent at self control, and gives me pointers routinely. He also gives me breaks all the time. He does bed every night, the bathtime routine almost every night, and I get out by myself reguarly.

      "I wonder - might it be better not to rush straight to the phone or texting service?"

      Jason's expectation for me is that I tell him immediately when I've broken a rule. That said, we have an evening check-in every single night in which we discuss our days, etc.

      Again, I don't find your comments disrespectful. I hope my answers alleviated some of your concerns. It's very difficult on a blog like this to give "the big picture." This is only a small, narrow glance into who we are and why we do what we do.

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  4. Hi Jason's girl:) I completely understood where you were coming from... But I've read a lot of your old posts and prior comments and I understand where your coming from and where you've been. The connection between you and Jason is wonderful. I'm so happy he was able to give you what you needed<3

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  5. The build up of stress always leads me down that path as well. Good thing my Jim is there to set me straight. It seems your Jason does the same for you.

    Hugs,
    Kathy

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    1. I am very grateful Jason is here to set me straight! Thank you. I'm glad I'm not alone!

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  6. HI!!! It's been a long time since I read your blog!! Missed your stories!

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  7. This was wonderful. I struggle with how to report my offenses respectfully. I have a hot temper and sharp tongue. I don't want that in my home. It's a zero tolerance rule because we both hate the depressing cycle of self-loathing I go into when I do explode. TTWD is great because it's so flexible, you make it work for your relationship. Thank you for your honesty in sharing part of your journey with us.

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    1. Thank you. I can completely relate to what you said -- my dislike for my temper and the damaging affects of the aftermath, and how grateful I am that Jason helps prevent me from going down that road.

      I agree that the beauty is in the flexibility!

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  8. Hey girl I have missed you so much. I respect that fact you have let go of a few things but I have missed our talks and your smartness when I was down. Just now got back into my blog and realized that you was still blogging. I how all finds you well and hope to talk one day more.

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    1. Hello! It's been a while, and I've wondered how you were. I hope we can stay in touch! My email is jasonsgirl001@gmail.com, if you see this.

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