Stress And Discipline

moving mess
This isn’t our house but it gives you a good idea what things are like right now.

The stress level here is rising rapidly. We move a week from yesterday. Both of us are very concerned that we can get everything packed in time for the move. If, for some reason, we can’t quite complete it, we have time to stage a second trip. Of course, this will cost extra money but it offers us a safety net. Neither of us is good at handling a move. For me, moving is in the top three stressors I can experience. I’ve always had trouble organizing stuff. Mrs. Lion is considerably better at this. It’s a good thing she is.

In a way, this incredibly stressful time is a good thing. Mrs. Lion expected lots of opportunities to growl at me for annoying her. So far, that hasn’t happened. She has a long history with her prior partner of anger and upset coming with every change. I think she’s waiting for the other shoe to drop with me. I don’t think it will.

We just don’t relate to each other that way. Yes, things can happen that upset one or both of us. But so far in 17 years of living together, we don’t turn the anger on each other. No matter how difficult the situation, our love comes first. I’m not saying that it’s perfect. It isn’t. Prior to our Female Led Relationship with Discipline (FLRD), Mrs. Lion had developed the destructive habit of avoiding conflict. When her ex behaved badly, she would stuff her feelings and act as though everything was okay. This is a recipe for disaster. Sooner or later that emotional volcano would erupt destructively. In the past, when I did things that upset her, she would avoid reacting. If she was upset enough, she might stop talking to me. It was all very passive aggressive.

One of my most important reasons for asking for a FLRD was to avoid this kind of situation. I figured that if Mrs. Lion learned that it was not only okay, but also desired for her to react appropriately when I did something that upset her. Obviously, making a change like that isn’t as easy as simply agreeing to have the power exchange. We both understood that. That’s why Mrs. Lion selected some simple and easy-to-break rules that weren’t emotionally loaded for her. They were: I was not permitted to spill food on my shirt. I had to wait to start eating until she began first. There were a couple of others that turned out not to be viable.

We both focused on those small rules to help us establish our disciplinary marriage. It was surprisingly difficult. It took us months to get to the point that Mrs. Lion consistently observed offenses. It took longer before I was punished for each offense. More time went by as Mrs. Lion became comfortable administering meaningful discipline. In fact, that process is still ongoing.

I’m happy that we were successful building the positive habits that now form the foundation for the more meaningful application of our power exchange. Mrs. Lion has started letting me know when I do something that annoys her. I have two new rules in that category: I am not allowed to interrupt her and I can’t act like a know-it-all.

She has started observing these infractions. It’s difficult for her because breaking these rules represent upsetting her. This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s very difficult for her to let me know when I do something that actually upsets her. It’s also challenging to take the risk of upsetting me in these real-life situations. Prior to this, enforcing the original rules was almost a game. She knew that when she observed an infraction it wouldn’t upset me. You see, the problem wasn’t punishing me. We built that disciplinary habit long ago. The problem was expressing her feelings and taking the risk of upsetting me.

We are in the baby steps phase of this now. My medical hiatus turned out to be more of a blessing than a problem. During those weeks Mrs. Lion couldn’t punish me, but she could growl and snarl. A few times she did. It brought me up short. More importantly, she said that she missed the ability to punish me and could only growl.

This is a really good start. Now that there’s no reason to hold back, she will have to put her paddle where her growl was. I don’t think this is easy for her. I also think it will take a long time for her to build the same consistent cause-and-effect offense/punishment pattern with these more meaningful offenses. I don’t know how I can help. I want to. I’m not going to intentionally interrupt her or upset her. Given the stressful time we’re in, opportunities should present themselves fairly often.

I know this is bothering Mrs. Lion. Her post yesterday lamented the disruption of our routine. She took considerable pains to say that she is punishing me for annoying her. I’m glad she’s thinking about it. So far, my bottom hasn’t seen a paddle for pissing her off. At this time it is particularly important for her to take the time and energy needed to spank me when I upset her. She has enough stress without bottling up feelings I cause.

There is a big problem. Taking the time to observe and punish an offense is a distraction from the monumental task of moving. I know that Mrs. Lion isn’t sure she should take the time and energy away from moving to discipline me. That’s a fair concern. She’s mentioned that she can’t necessarily interrupt packing to spank me. She only has a limited amount of energy and she has to make decisions about where to apply it. I agree that it’s completely valid to move the focus away from my behavior in order to get more packing done.

I’m okay with this if it doesn’t cause us to revert to the old and destructive pattern. Since we’ve learned that suspending rules and enforcement creates a hole in our relationship, I think it may be important enough to take the time needed to sustain our disciplinary activities. Speaking for myself, there is a kind of release and rejuvenation after I get punished for an offense. One reason I remind Mrs. Lion I’m owed spanking is that it feels uncomfortable when we don’t follow through. Similarly, I feel badly when I realize I’ve done something to annoy her and she let it pass.

I’m not a religious soul. I never had a lot of interest in organized religion. However, what we’ve been doing has taught me the value of absolution. Those spankings absolving me from doing things I know made Mrs. Lion unhappy. I can’t speak for her, but I imagine that there’s a sense of closure and resolution she gets after completing a punishment.

Maybe this is a little bit like sex can be to a couple where both partners are sexually active. It’s possible and even at times, desirable to suspend sexual activity in favor of more pressing needs. From my own experience, when sex has been de-prioritized, I feel some emotional pain. It isn’t just that I’m horny. I am feeling the loss of contact on a deeper level. I suspect that both of us get similar feelings when we suspend our disciplinary activities.

We’ve both realized that there is a lot more to this than rules and punishments. In a very real sense, spanking is an expression of love. At least that’s how I am beginning to think about it. It represents an emotional and physical investment for Mrs. Lion and for me a strong emotional validation of how important I am to her. I think this is why I continue to encourage her to be more severe when she spanks me.

It’s not the pain. It’s a combination of my willing acceptance of what she knows hurts me just to communicate my acceptance of her love and control. It’s a truly nonverbal form of communication between us. She’s letting me know how important it is to her that I honor my boundaries and rules. A severe spanking tells me that she really cares about my behavior and is willing to do whatever it takes to help me correct it. I’ve discovered that the stronger the spanking, the more I believe she is serious and connected with me.

That’s the difference between play and punishment. Play is designed to provide sensation and satisfaction. Punishment is a strong communication of caring and love. She demonstrates her love by letting me know how much she wants me to improve. I let her know by willingly accepting something she knows I don’t want. I suppose this is the essence of negative reinforcement. I’m not really sure of that. All I know is that I feel a lot better after being punished. If I feel the punishment is serious, as opposed to light, guilt melts away and I feel we’ve reconnected on a very deep level.

This relates very strongly to how we are managing our move. Even though we have a way to go in terms of our disciplinary relationship, we are far enough along to constructively use it to avoid turning on one another instead of realizing that we have a common task that makes both of us stressed and more likely to lash out. The flip side of strict discipline is strong guilt-free love. We are learning to put things that could separate us into a disciplinary container that allows us to resolve any issue without threatening our relationship.