When I first thought about being in a disciplinary marriage, I imagined Mrs. Lion would use spanking as a kind of emotional pressure release valve. I thought that instead of bottling up anger toward me, she would spank me as a way of letting me know that I upset her and getting the feeling out. That hasn’t worked the way I thought.
I don’t know what made me think that she would change a lifelong pattern of withdrawing when angry because she has a license to paddle my bottom. Talk about a male fantasy! As I wrote in my post yesterday, domestic discipline is more of a game. Catch the lion breaking a rule and paddle him. She enjoys catching me. The spanking is more of a way to keep me from breaking the rule, as well as a penalty for getting caught.
The game works almost too well. I don’t break the rules very often. I guess Mrs. Lion needs to give me more easier-to-break rules to keep the game interesting. So far, she hasn’t thought of any. Domestic discipline still isn’t helping with the more serious problem of expressing anger at me. It was unrealistic for me to think it would help, at least in the beginning. I’m happy to say that Mrs. Lion has made some progress in this area. She sometimes snarls or growls at me when I piss her off.
This is a big deal. When she expresses her anger directly, I am on notice that I did something to upset her. That helps me to learn to avoid that behavior. More importantly, she has an outlet for her feelings. She can feel safe letting me know she is angry at me. She knows I won’t run away or retaliate. I think that adds depth and security to our relationship. I hope that this feeling of safety will eventually let her add my behavioral problems to the game.
Is catching me interrupting her very different than catching me eating before she starts? Objectively it isn’t. Emotionally it is totally different. That’s the gap so difficult to close. Translating that pang of annoyance into an “I caught you!” has the benefit of reducing a difficult, “Am I being fair if I growl?” into the same reaction to discovering that I didn’t set up the coffee pot. Sure, the coffee pot situation has no emotional loading. I forgot to do a chore. I thought that if the annoying behavior is considered a similar slip, dealing with it might be more comfortable.
That doesn’t mean there is no emotional response. It also doesn’t mean that she won’t worry that maybe the annoyance isn’t my fault. That may never go away. It does mean that the rule has nothing to do with whether or not there are other mitigating factors. It’s no longer about being fair. It’s like the coffee pot. I didn’t set it up, and that means I get punished. I interrupted. Whether or not Mrs. Lion was already in a bad mood is beside the point. She caught me, and I get punished.
It’s as simple as that. The way I see it, the punishment isn’t a consequence of upsetting her. Ideally, it should be. But that is just asking for too much all at once. The penalty is a consequence of a specific rule I broke. It is absolutely no different than eating first. There may be a reason why I ate first. My vision isn’t good, and I can’t tell if she started. That doesn’t matter. I can always ask. The same is true of interrupting, for example. It doesn’t matter that I thought Mrs. Lion completed her thought. I could have waited a bit more to make sure she had. The rule was broken. It doesn’t matter why. That’s the entire point of our game. We agreed that consistency works best.
The other strong argument for consistently punishing behavioral issues like interrupting is that I need to be spanked regularly. Punishment for an iffy interruption is going to benefit me even if it isn’t technically justified. It’s a flag on the play, and the ruling on the field stands.