Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mind Going Blank

My last long weekend with Ludwig featured a lot more spanking action than usual. Unfortunately, I am in a quite vulnerable and aggressive mood at the moment, having a lot of dark and scary thoughts on my mind. In addition to that, or maybe because of that, my pain threshold is very low as well. And so, two out of three scenes sadly didn't go all that well.

I am going to tell you about one of them today. This is a highly emotional and very personal account. I'm curious to hear about your experiences and thoughts, but please be careful with uttering judgements. I think it is wrong to create the impression that spanking play always goes smoothly, though. Sometimes there are a lot of emotions involved, sometimes one finds out during a scene that one is in the wrong mood and sometimes landmines are hit. It happens, it is part of TTWD and to my mind talking about it openly and honestly is the best way of dealing with it. So here it goes:

When the scene started, Ludwig and I had already spent some spanking-free days together and I was really looking forward to getting spanked. Ludwig and I hadn't talked about a scenario for the spanking, he just ordered me to bring him a short OTK-suitable cane and drape myself over his lap on the bed. When the short cane that I found first was the peeled one, I knew that this one would most probably feel worse than the unpeeled one we have.

I have a very ambiguous relationship with canes in general and with peeled ones in particular. Pandora wrote a wonderful post about how great a caning can be if one manages to ride the waves of pain, but how easily one can loose one's grip and drown as well. I love canes for their elegance and the accurate marks they produce. But I hate (and I mean hate, not love-hate) the stingy kind of pain which is the trademark of especially the peeled specimen. Interestingly, severity is not really the point here.

Depending on my condition and the warm-up (if there was one at all), a medium-severe caning can feel as bad as or even worse than a very severe one because the pain is even more stingy. That's why while having made several wonderful experiences with canes there have also been some where I nearly or actually drowned and didn't enjoy the scene very much. And as our more regular readers know, I'm not one of those people who love the feeling of having been caned even if they hated the caning itself. When I feel pushed beyond my limits during a scene, the bad feeling remains.

I didn't want to delay the spanking by searching for our short unpeeled cane, though, and I didn't really see a reason for avoiding the peeled one (after all, my last experience with it had been great), so I grabbed it, handed it over to Ludwig and draped myself across his knee. He started out with a hand spanking and I drifted a bit into one of my favourite fantasy characters and scenarios, a young male goody-two-shoes navy cadet being spanked by the strict but caring commander for having unintentionally broken the rules. But Ludwig had something different in mind.

One outcome of my recent mood had been that I had been very critical of Ludwig's efforts of proofreading my PhD thesis and of helping me with emotional support and suggestions on how to deal with some unexpected changes and new requirements. We are ticking quite differently in some aspects, so Ludwig's ideas of how to handle a certain situation don't always work for me. But my moody state had disabled me to tell Ludwig calmly what I needed. Instead, I had closed down and become quite aggressive. Several days earlier I had told Ludwig that we could probably use that situation for a scene in which he might be able to release some of his frustration and I might be able to let go.

I knew that this would be very thin ice, though, since I'm not into real-life DD and the idea of a spanking under the premise that Ludwig or anyone else might really think that I “deserve” it is a complete turn-off and no-go area. For me, spanking is just consensual erotic play. Nothing more and nothing less. If it can also be used for relaxation or as a kind of make-up sex that helps Ludwig and me to bond again, great. But for me, there is no such thing as a deserved spanking among adults.

Ludwig decided to take the challenge to integrate the current situation into our play, though, and started talking about my recent unkind reactions on his tries to support me. He switched to the cane. The strokes were only medium-severe, but totally unbearable for me. I wasn't prepared for this and instantly started to cry, gripping my hands into the duvet. Ludwig looked after me and suggested that it might be good for me to cry a bit and to release some pressure. At that time I agreed with him. I usually don't use spankings for a cathartic cry, but I had done so once and it had worked well.

Ludwig assumed that only a caning would enable me to cry further, that a hand spanking wasn't severe enough for that purpose. I told him that a hand spanking might work as well, once I was in the right mood (it did the last time). But he decided to stick with the cane. The feeling that this was too much for me increased and I was instantly crying again, plus wriggling and kicking. I pressed my face into the mattress and grabbed the duvet with both hands. Ludwig stopped again after a short time. I was silent, crying and not looking at him. Ludwig told me that I really had my ways of making his anger fade, that he couldn't be angry any more when he saw me like that. I answered that this hadn't be my intention at all and that I wasn't a good enough actor to do something like that on purpose.

Maybe I should have stopped the scene right at that point but I was already quite confused by now and of course I didn't want to ruin the scene or look like I wanted to back out. The thing was that I didn't cry because I felt sorry for my recent rude behaviour towards Ludwig. I cried because the spanking felt unbearable and because it brought up very dark thoughts and aggressions. I already had been in a state of anger the days before but hadn't really let it out.

Ludwig of course didn't know about the storm that was brewing and continued with the caning. He lectured me (in character but with the background that he had really been annoyed) that this might help me to remember not to be so rude to him the next time he wanted to help me. Around that point I completely lost my grip and drowned. The severity of the caning (which left only very few marks that were still visible the next day) felt completely over the top and it felt unjustified and wrong. A wave of anger, frustration and fear came up and my mind went blank. I got stiff, I was crying again, wriggling and kicking, but I neither tried to get away, nor did I say a word.

Ludwig realised that something was going wrong. He tried to remind me that using these real-life incidents as a premise for a spanking hadn't been his idea (and that therefore I didn't have to be scared that he really thought I deserved a spanking). So, he asked me whether I remembered that I had come up with that idea. I should have answered him that this was true, but that it wasn't working this way because the spanking was more than I could bear and therefore the scene felt like a real beating and not like consensual kinky make-up sex any more. I should have told him that I couldn't feel sorry for my behaviour right now because new things had come up and I was angry and scared. But my mind was completely blank and I didn't manage to answer at all. Ludwig asked me whether I had lost my voice and I silently nodded.

Still Ludwig assumed that crying would be a cathartic experience for me, since I had told him so at the beginning. A few strokes later I was crying heavily again, though, and Ludwig made a new try to find out what was wrong. He asked me whether I was afraid that he wouldn't love me any more because he had been angry, and reassured me that this wasn't the case. Unfortunately, this didn't work either, because a little voice in my head screamed: “I don't give a damn whether you are angry upon me or not because I'm f***ing angry and I'm f***ing scared because of these dark thoughts that have flooded my mind!”

After some more strokes Ludwig decided to stop. He softly touched me, having come to the conclusion that the scene didn't really work for me at that time and that care and pleasure might help me more than pain. But when he tried to caress me at more intimate places, I shook my head. Ludwig's comment that he liked that OTK cane because he was able to provoke stronger reactions with it without having to beat me severely and causing too many marks didn't lighten my mood, either. Ludwig invited me to cuddle up to him and to lay my head on his chest. I did so, but not without snapping at him that he didn't get what was going on. Ludwig became very sad: “Okay, what have I done wrong this time?”

I couldn't answer him. My mind was blank again. So, we lay there silently side-by-side for a long time. My thoughts became darker and darker, but I couldn't give a clear rational explanation of what was going on. And I was deeply scared of saying a wrong word, scared of loosing my partner when telling him about my fears and doubts, but also scared of lying to him when trying to downplay my state of mind. After a while I managed to talk about my fears about the future and how they dominated and scared me and made it nearly impossible to think clearly and to know what I felt. When Ludwig asked me whether I still loved and wanted him, I broke down, repeating again and again that I didn't want to loose him.

Ludwig held me and calmed me down and now I really felt the catharsis of having let it all out. And there was indeed also pleasure a bit later for both of us, mine including a few strokes with the riding crop which I appreciated very much.

Of course strong (and not completely unfound) fears about the future aren't something that can be solved in one day. It takes time to see where they really come from, what they tell us (because fears are a good alarm system that tells us a lot about our needs) and what course of action they imply. I had a light bulb moment a few days ago and now understand a bit better what is going on with me. That doesn't mean that (Ludwig and) I have a solution, yet, but at least the whole situation isn't so scary any more for the INTJ-me. I just wished I would already have been able to communicate my state of mind better during the spanking because then the scene might have turned out differently.


Pandora Blake said...

Kaelah, I know how this one feels, I think. It can be so hard for either top or bottom to tell what emotional difficulties can be "pushed through" and which ones can't. But I also know how it feels when you are so overwhelmed and frustrated that you shut down and lose the ability to communicate.

In my experience this sort of thing has been worst at the times in my life when I have struggled most with anxiety. I'm very reluctant to try and do an amateur diagnosis over the internet but I wonder if the same might be true for you? It sounds as if there is a lot of stress, turmoil and uncertainty in your life at the moment and all of these things can trigger acute anxiety. It is fixable though - you can get beta-blockers from your doctor, or release some tension by doing yoga or exercise (going for a long brisk walk somewhere pretty works for me).

Anyway, sorry if that's not relevant and comes across as presumptuous. Whatever you do, please be kind to yourself and accept that it is okay to struggle when you have a lot on your plate, and it's okay to find edgy scenes difficult to cope with at this time. It doesn't make you a failure or a bad communicator, it just means you have a lot to deal with right now, and it happens to everybody. Maybe look to Ludwig for non-complicated care and support right now - the kinky stuff will return when things are easier and you are more relaxed.

Kaelah said...

@ Pandora:

Thanks a lot for your comment and don't worry, it didn't come over as being presumptuous!

Luckily, I'm not suffering from anxiety, though. I had phases of anxiety several years ago and have learned to accept and appreciate feelings of sadness as an alarm system and to let them out. I assume this is one reason why I usually don't use spankings in order to cry – when I'm sad I don't need a spanking in order to let go. And like you I love to go for a walk when I'm feeling anxious, and I do other things that make me feel better, like talking to Ludwig, my family and my friends, taking a hot bubble bath or listening to some good music.

But there is another emotion with which I can't deal at all, and that is anger! I'm always afraid of hurting someone when showing anger, so I mask it with silence, crying and sometimes short snappy comments.

Unexpected bigger changes which destroy my plans and my schedule are something that can make me not only sad but also extremely angry. And it takes me some time to deal with these feelings of anger before I can go on. My rudeness towards Ludwig when he tried to support me with my thesis was a result of that problem.

When Ludwig realised that I was upset about the new requirements that had come up and destroyed my original plan, he tried to support me by being honest, providing constructive criticism and trying to prevent me from falling into the trap of self-pity. But I wasn't ready for rational suggestions, yet, and just wanted him to tell me that it was okay to be angry. So, I felt pushed. Instead of explaining my frustration and telling Ludwig that I had to find my own way of dealing with the situation before being able to listen to any suggestions, I became snappy. I'm very self-reliant and feeling pushed is something that I truly hate. Ludwig on the other hand thought that I wouldn't appreciate his efforts to support me at all and that I was ungrateful. People who are ungrateful are one of his pet peeves.

This issue is already solved, though. I've got a new plan for my PhD which is indeed better than the old one (so, the new requirements were justified). Ludwig and I talked about the situation and how it felt for both of us. I explained to Ludwig why I reacted so rudely and that I indeed appreciate his support very much. There are just times when I have to find my own way, and I hope I'll be able to communicate that earlier the next time.
(to be continued...)

Kaelah said...

@ Pandora:

The topics that came up during the spanking are more difficult to handle, though. They are real, they are threatening Ludwig's and my partnership and they are partially beyond my control. And that made me very angry! Angry upon the situation as such, angry upon myself and angry upon Ludwig as well. During the spanking all that anger came up, especially the anger upon Ludwig and also mistrust against myself and my own emotions. I wasn't prepared for these strong emotions and that was when my mind went blank.

What scares me about anger is that it is a very strong and overwhelming emotion and that it can go against people who aren't really responsible for the situation that caused it. Anger isn't always just. Not something an INTJ like me feels very comfortable with. That's why I'm scared of letting it out.

As I already wrote in my post, I have a picture by now about what caused that anger. That makes it easier for me because now I know what made me frustrated, angry and also scared and what these strong feelings wanted to warn me about.

But I think I have to be more careful about potentially edgy scenes when being in such a mood. I definitely have a desire for erotic spanking when I'm under pressure, but I guess I have to be a bit careful about the scenarios and my mood right at a certain moment.

Oh, by the way, Ludwig and I had a great scene two days later. :-) I'll write more about that one, soon!

Anonymous said...

My Dear Kaelah,

I read your touching account with much interest and compassion, but let me first apologize for my long absence. I had several difficult personal issues with which to deal.

Perhaps in our respective cultures women are not encouraged to feel and express anger the way men do. Certainly, the change in plans affecting your Ph.D. program requirements would be upsetting to most, and at first glance may even appear arbitrary; they may even seem like a deliberate roadblock to your future success and happiness.

Knowing Ludwig to be a highly intelligent, forthright, discerning, and problem-solving individual, it does make sense that he might rush in with suggestions or solutions when what you really needed was an opportunity to react to the situation by expressing what you were feeling at the time, which was anger. Having requirements changed and expectations dashed does, indeed, elicit anger in most of us. But to have our feelings of anger placed aside before we have had an opportunity to express them can make the situation worse even though a perfect solution may have been given to us.

In any relationship of emotional depth and commitment, there may be times when we need to step out of our usual role and be ready to take on the torrent of emotion that may leap forth from our partner’s heart. This has certainly been true with my marriage with Tigger. There have been times in which Tigger has gone absolutely ballistic over past hurts involving her alcoholic and abusive father. Lucky for me I saw her emotional tsunami coming so I turned myself into a nearly limitless sandy beach in an attempt to absorb the emotional turmoil coming my way. It’s amazing how countless grains of sand can absorb the froth of an ocean of anger and grief.

In my own case when words evaporate in the face of overheated emotion, I’m much less resourceful than either you or Tigger; I simply fall into a hopeless catatonic state of disassociated images, sounds, and sensations until the underlying emotional storm subsides on its own.

I’m not at all sure that what I have said is of any value or even relevant to your current situation. But let me say this: I wish there was something more useful I could do to make your life just a little more pleasant.

Ursus Lewis said...

It's very interesting to read about such personal and emotional experiences. I also like to read your blog entries because your mindset is so different to mine. Hopefully writing about bad experiences helps you to process them and to learn how to avoid similar situations in future. For me at least, it seems like it does.

Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:

Sorry to hear that you had a rather bad time, I hope you are feeling better now?!

“I turned myself into a nearly limitless sandy beach in an attempt to absorb the emotional turmoil coming my way. It’s amazing how countless grains of sand can absorb the froth of an ocean of anger and grief.“

Could it be that kindly absorbing strong emotions from one's female partners is a typically male thing? It is the same between Ludwig and me. I expect him to be sensitive, I expect him to be kind and gentle and I expect him to deal with my emotions and to support me. And that is what Ludwig does and what he did during my anger as well. He is kind, he is gentle and he is encouraging. I have to admit that this is not always true for me. Usually I'm supportive as well, but especially when I'm angry or sad I can also be very critical and unkind. I wonder whether that's just me or whether women are generally a bit more critical then men?

By the way, Ludwig didn't only come up with rational ideas about how to go on with my PhD, he also offered emotional support. But, first of all I had asked him for practical input as well before those changes which made me so angry came up, and secondly Ludwig was afraid that I might drown deeper than necessary in that angry mood if he didn't offer some positive perspective as well. That's why he also came up with some rational suggestions. As a matter of fact, the changes really weren't all that bad and they improved my PhD as well.

But since the J is the strongest part of my INTJ personality, I need to take a step back and to let out my anger about unexpected or unwanted changes first to clear my head in order to make up a new plan. I've reassured Ludwig that I won't get stuck in my negative feelings and that focussing on them might even help me to process them faster. Which also diminishes the risk of me being unkind to Ludwig just because I'm in a bad mood. Next time I'll try to communicate my needs better and Ludwig knows that he doesn't have to protect me from my anger and can instead encourage me to let it all out (but not on him this time, maybe on a punching bag instead).

@ Ursus:

Thanks a lot for your comment! Writing indeed helps me to sort out my mind and to develop new ideas about how to deal with certain situations in the future. :-)

Rich Person said...

First, I always admire the depth and clarity of what you guys write. It seems like a very fearless journey into your inner life. So, I think it's very valuable.

You talk a lot in this about anger. There are a couple of things that I've learned about this that help me deal with anger. And, I can say that I'm extremely prone to it, in a lot of ways. So, I'm casting no aspersions.

In any case, one aspect of anger is hormonal. Quite frankly, testosterone is linked to anger (and aggression). You might think, "we'll, that's a male problem," and it is. But women have testosterone, too, just in a lesser proportion to estrogen. And, I will tell you from experience that these things go up and down. So, at times I feel more rage coming on and I wonder if that's not related to a change in testosterone. (In men it goes up and down on a daily cycle, BTW.)

My girlfriend had testosterone supplements for awhile. I can tell you that there is a direct correlation between testosterone and anger. But, of course, it also promotes libido, so there's a consolation.

The other thing about anger is that it's an emotion. I will tell you my thoughts. I think that emotions are all based on beliefs. So, what happens (usually unconsciously) is that we experience an event or situation and we filter that through our beliefs. Based on our beliefs we experience feelings and have an emotional reaction.

A lot of what happens to us personally is immediately compared to what we want and what we think is good for us. If it seems that what is happening is good for us, then we go into a happy state. We might be satisfied or feel energized or whatever. But if we evaluate it as bad for us, then we go into a depressed state or get angry or sad or whatever.

And these emotions sometimes come from very basic core beliefs and beliefs that are hidden in our subconscious. We may not recognize them. We may find ourselves furious for what appears, objectively, to be little provocation. This is because the event triggered a very deep-seated belief.

So, in dealing with anger, it is my premise that we need to go into these core beliefs. We may need to reevaluate them. We may need to change them, if they are not appropriate.

Of course, not every belief is inappropriate just because it's a belief, and not every instance of anger is unjustified. There are some things that are just objectively bad. If you see someone treated cruelly, for example, that is objectively bad and it is therefore appropriate to get angry about it. There is totally appropriate anger. It may not even be functional, but it may be appropriate.

And, finally, the one thing that I often find associated with anger is a sense of responsibility that we don't want to face.

Ugh. That hurts, doesn't it?

Because what that means is that we often get angry at others because we sense that we didn't take the steps necessary to avoid what we are angry about. Our minds, which want to survive and be right, look around as quickly as possible for someone else--anyone else--to blame.

And then, we are off on an anger binge. One reason is because if we are angry at them then they can't blame us for our responsibility!

I guess I'm telling you this because I think that understanding the dynamics of anger can help deal with it. I think it's helped me to deal with my anger. It allows me to put it in perspective.

Whether I can do that when I'm confronted with an opportunity to be really, really angry is another story. Understanding that I can choose to be angry because I have the power to change my beliefs or to take more responsibility doesn't make it easier. But it can help.

So, there you go. One dissertation on anger, in case you need one!

Kaelah said...

@ Rich:
I agree with you about the connection between anger and beliefs! I often get angry for one of the two following reasons: 1) The feeling of having been treated unfairly or carelessly (because I believe that one should always try to treat people fairly and to listen to what they have to say). 2) Incidents which make me feel helpless, which destroy my plans and which I believe could be critical for my health, even if the changes finally turn out to be good.

The latter was the case with the changes of my PhD. I somehow knew that the new requirements made sense and I knew that it was my job to deal with them (so your point about responsibilities one doesn't want to face could in a way be fitting here as well). But at the same time I knew that I'm not good at changing plans (especially at times when I'm occupied with a lot of different responsibilities and a tight schedule, anyway) and that this can cause a lot of stress which isn't good for my health. In addition to that I was angry about myself because I had the feeling of having screwed up. Making mistakes is one of the worst things that can happen to me (although I rationally know that our whole life is trial and error). In cases like that a lot of anger comes up and I need some time to adjust myself to the new situation and to deal with my frustration before I can go on.

The anger about the things that cause the insecurities for Ludwig's and my future frustrate me for quite similar reasons. They are partly beyond my control (I hate being dependent and having to react instead of being able to make plans and put them into action) and I'm afraid of screwing up because not everything can be solved with rational plans. My responsibility in that case is to learn how to deal with insecurities and to trust my emotions and my instinct more than I do. Actually, I'm working on that for quite a long time and I've already become much better. But the fact that this isn't only about me but about Ludwig as well is something I'm not used to and that heightens the feeling of helplessness and anger.