Monthly Archives: August 2012

Commentary on BDSM and Mental Health

I was over at another WordPress.com blog, “You know You’re Borderline When . . .,” when I saw a section on the juncture between BDSM and borderline personality disorder. Borderline is something I’m learning about because I used to have a friend whose ex-wife was diagnosed with it and I try to keep up on what’s going on in the psychology community. It’s a good way of figuring out what therapist is going to work with me and what illusions/delusions she may be laboring under that I need to watch. After reading an article re-posted from another blog, I wasn’t completely convinced that Jaen really understood what BDSM is all about, so I wrote a rather long comment. I am reposting it here since I think I touched on some complex issues.

Like tinyfrogs, I don’t have a BPD diagnosis, although I do recognize certain behaviors that I’ve left behind. Instead, I’ve got major depression and a couple of anxiety disorders to deal with. Consequently, mental health issues are not at all unfamiliar to me. Also like tinyfrogs, I am a submissive/bottom. However, tinyfrogs, if I’m reading correctly, is a switch. That means she can take on either the submissive or dominant role. Me? I HATE being dominant. The only times I’ve enjoyed it somewhat were when I performed CBT. I must admit that it’s terribly fun stuff. *smirk*

I am a rape and incest survivor. I remember reading posts on Usenet back in the day that posit there are many sexual abuse survivors in the scene because we are used to being abused; we are re-enacting our abuse, and/or; we have low self-esteem and feel we deserve the physical pain. I can’t begin to tell you how I wanted to scream with each and every line. The authors just didn’t get it at all. There’s a teeny tiny scream in my head after reading some of your posts/comments too. It’s not your fault. I think you simply need to be educated.

I’ll go out on a very strong limb and admit there are, indeed, a number of female subs who have been sexually abused. However, I believe the context in which you and others have placed us–people re-enacting abuse–is just plain wrong. Most outsiders see BDSM scenes as subs/bottoms giving power to a Dom/Top. I understand why. It’s based on the way vanillas grok the roles because of the labels. However, the labels are misleading. Submissives are really the partner with the power. We *choose* whether to give our power to a Dom. Not only that, we can stop a scene AT ANY TIME if we are uncomfortable physically or emotionally. Safe words are wonderful things. They can be used to mean “slow things down” or “STOP NOW!!” A Dom who doesn’t respect safe words will usually get drummed out of the community because, as tinyfrogs said, they then become assailants and not Doms who take great care not to injure their possessions, the subs. If anything, many subs are spoiled rotten. Their partners adore and admire them, know them like the back of their hands, (although that closeness takes time to build), and understand how to push the right buttons to make a sub reach the pinnacle of their being.

I was introduced to BDSM through my first experience with the man who turned out to be the love of my life. We were just kids. He’d seen a few things in clubs in NYC and wanted to impress me with his prowess. It took me ten years, but I learned that there were really a great many people who liked some of the same things I did. I began reading the Usenet group alt.sex.bondage way before the general public knew there was an Internet. Let me tell ya, nerds are often the kinkiest people to ever walk the face of this earth. And engineers are GREAT partners. They love to build their own equipment. I’m salivating just thinking about it!

Enough of that.

Soon, I found the IRC channel #bondage and asked for an invitation since it was a closed group monitored by a bot that wouldn’t allow just anyone on the channel. It was nothing to sit on the channel and watch virtual scenes. Honestly, those beat out anything people think they’re doing with virtual sex now. I learned a great deal watching and participating in those scenes. In fact, that’s where I found my first and longest Master. He became the second love of my life, but was, I do believe, struggling with his own demons. It got so bad that he really should not have been playing at all, but I didn’t know how to tell him that. By asking for advice from a third person, all of our business got spread around and he caught a lot of flak he didn’t deserve. He was a pawn in a game of revenge played by a very twisted and bitter individual.

I am attracted to BDSM because of the power exchange. Trusting is an incredibly difficult thing for me to do. Even when it appears that I trust someone, I usually don’t trust them at all or only in a limited capacity. My therapist thinks that limited trust is actually good, but I doubt she thinks my strict limits are so healthy. BDSM is a safe place for me to open up and trust completely because of the peer pressure the Dom/Top faces should s/he mistreat me. If I tell one person of being mistreated, it will get around faster than a brush fire in Oklahoma.

The endorphin rush is also incredibly attractive. I get a high that lasts for hours after a good flogging just the way I like it. Imagine the greatest back massage you’ve ever had. Weren’t you loose and relaxed afterwards? Personally, my brain more or less stops working and I just smile a lot while cuddling up with my partner or, if at a play party, with whoever happens to be around and receptive. That’s why there is ALWAYS a quiet area at play parties. A scene can get into some very intimate and delicate territory even if it’s planned meticulously. We all have hidden buttons that can be pushed accidentally. Sometimes, in order to disarm them, a couple will purposely approach those buttons. It is the Dom’s job to know how far to go. A good one will sense when the sub is at his/her limit even if that sub asks to continue. I’ve had Doms safe word on ME because I was getting into territory that could have been emotionally too dangerous or wanted even more lashes than they felt comfortable administering. They were right to call safe word. They had a better, more objective, view of the overall scene than I did. It’s part of their responsibility to take care of me even when I insist on pushing forward.

BDSM requires a great deal of open communication. A good Dom won’t do anything with a new sub without having extensive communication with them. Their relationship may not even begin as Dom/sub (or slave). It may begin as two people who are seeing each other and getting to know both themselves and each other over a period of time. The goal may or may not be to find out if they’d make a good full-time BDSM couple or even part-time pair. If that was not the goal, but the couple sort of stumble into the scene in some other fashion, that’s fine too. Still, they really do have to deepen the level of communication and synergy as a couple in order to make the BDSM elements of their relationship work.

If I had to swear to my reasons for being attracted to BDSM, I’d say that it is because I get to control what happens to me when I had no control while I was being abused. Again, it’s that safe word thing. These days, at least from what I’m seeing across the Internet, which may or may not mirror society as a whole, people are doing incredibly stupid things (IMO) like playing without safe words. Um, no. And if a sub manages to get involved with someone who won’t respect safe word protocol, s/he should get the hell out of the relationship quick, fast and in a hurry. There are so many poseurs these days that finding someone online is dangerous. I can’t say that it’s impossible, but I’d be extremely careful. If the person plays within the local community, ask for references or find someone in the local BDSM group you can call on the QT to inquire about the prospective partner.

In closing, I do appreciate your attempts to understand this life I love but have been away from for years due to physical limitations that are now more or less nonexistent (thank God). I look forward to joining the local group in town and meeting new people. I’m trying to find a group for women only. I did belong to one, but it broke up due to dyke drama. I really hate it when that happens, but it’s unavoidable sometimes.

Jaen, would you mind a question? How did you happen to develop an interest in the juncture of BDSM and BPD? The reason I ask is that I have seen so many people try to attribute our kinkiness to some sort of pathology and, I must admit, I’m a bit wary. There are plenty of people who are perfectly emotionally healthy in the scene. I’d say most of them are completely emotionally healthy, but different. I understand a person’s desire to keep themselves away from kink, but I don’t believe it’s particularly helpful to draw spurious conclusions about the participants. I’m really hoping that’s not what you’re doing. Nevertheless, you’ve provided a space for me to consider the issues intellectually. That wasn’t necessarily your intent, but I do appreciate it anyway. *smirk*

Comments on this post are open.

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Sick+Tired=Sick AND Tired

So many thoughts permeate my brain even though I’ve got a riproaring headache of a kind I seldom get. I really shouldn’t feel the headache given that I’ve taken my nightly pain meds. And yet I do.

I’ve been sick for just about three weeks now. I was diagnosed with borderline severe asthma about 18 months ago and bronchitis is hitting me with an unforgiving hammer. Thankfully, the asthma doesn’t seem to be related to my four-legged family. Even if it were, I’d just have to cope because they really are my family. We humans cannot be separated from our other human family members no matter how much we may wish we could. Why on earth should I feel any differently about the four-legged family? This bunch has helped me survive a hell of a lot more than my human relatives. The unconditional love I receive and try to return is simply amazing. I am alive because I could not bear the thought of my girls wondering what happened to me and asking themselves why I’m not coming back. I must live because I promised them a home for life. I have every intention of keeping that promise.

The six month “anniversary” of my mother’s death will be upon me in ten days. There is an enormous part of me that is walled off because I just can’t deal with the grief right now. I’ve only broken down once since Mom’s memorial service last March. Once! I know what kind of pain lies behind that wall and beyond my reach. It is a devastation that needs to pour on to this dry earth that is my consciousness. I know that I am not able to will it so. Nevertheless, please, for God’s sake, pour onto me like the Nile pours its nutrient-rich soil onto the surrounding delta, allowing plants to grow and feed a nation. The most important relationship I will ever have is over because the other half of the pair has died. There is no second chance to get it right in this lifetime. Perhaps, if I am lucky, I will do so in the next. My mother died not knowing whether I loved her. I understand why she would question my love because she really did do something nearly unforgivable. I never got a chance to tell her that I really and truly do forgive her. How do I make this right? I can’t.

I have found that I am becoming an adult at the ripe age of five decades. (I put it that way because I just can’t believe the actual number.) My mother infantilized me by never taking me seriously as an adult. I couldn’t possibly be right about anything in her mind. Unfortunately, I was right way too often for either of our tastes. I don’t know how to describe the financial mess she left. I am only scratching the surface. There’s a whole file cabinet filled with things I haven’t had the emotional energy to peruse. She needed a guardian badly. I tried to take some of the weight off but she lied to me about financial matters on a regular basis. It’s my fault. I just couldn’t stand seeing this woman who’d shrunk about five inches due to osteoporosis fold in on herself and plead, in the most desperate and quiet voice, not to wrest control from her. At that moment, she was the one infantilized. I hope and pray that I didn’t make her that way. I’m not sure I could forgive myself.

Still, my mother regularly threatened to throw me out of her house when I insisted on thinking and acting in a manner that suited me, an adult woman, and not a five-year-old child. I constantly had to watch what I said around her because, in her mind, anything short of kissing her ass was a lack of respect. So, because there was no way I could support myself on a disability check alone, I did what I had to do: anything short of ass-kissing, although it came within millimeters. She could be mean and spiteful. Indeed, truly hateful. She tried to tell me that my father tried to molest me when I know for an absolute fact that he would never, and did never, lay an inappropriate hand on me. No, that task fell to her second husband and she let it happen. That’s the thing that was unforgivable. She knew and she allowed it to go on due to her own pathology.

I feel guilty because there were times when I had to verbally smack my mother down. About every six months or so, she’d work my last nerve and I’d retreat to my bedroom–the only room with a lock on the door. She’d often follow me and call me names you’d call a whore in the street when she rolled a date. I don’t miss those arguments at all. In fact, I don’t miss the near-ass kissing either. It feels so good to be an adult for the first time in my life. I’m pretty sure that my maturation stopped around 35 years old. I feel like a 35-year-old most of the time. At other times, I feel like I’m a 30-year-old. I have more empathy now with transgender people. They look in the mirror every day and are astonished at the face looking back. This shell of a body that doesn’t work properly can’t be me. I am so completely disconnected from my physical self that I am a stranger. There’s a song I heard on, of all places, the daytime drama General Hospital. It’s called Stranger In My Skin and is sung by Christine Dente. I was lucky to find it on iTunes. It’s quite haunting, as though Evenescence had a hand in it.

Finally, I come to another sad end. For the first time since I was 16 years old, I don’t want Glenn. It is at once freeing and isolating. Loving him was so much a part of who I am. When he made the choice to marry someone else, then keep seeing me (with my blessing, I might add), and then doing something so vicious, cruel and inhumane to me I can’t even write it, he changed both of our lives forever. In reality, he changed our lives when he chose to marry Dr. H. Bitch instead of me even though I didn’t realize then what a profound affect it had on us both. He’s trapped, whether he wants to be or not, and; he and his wife inflicted a wound that has festered for approximately seven years. It was intended to be one of their mindfucks. Instead, it was no less than a mindRAPE! It was toxic, but it, too, became a part of me.

Removing Glenn from my emotional being leaves me with a hole I have no idea how to fill. As an adult, I can go out to bars (something I’m not really into) and enjoy the drag king/queen shows, meet people and socialize. I can even bring someone home now should I choose to do so. I’ve tried Match.com only to end up with some guy in Nigeria who claimed after a week that he was in love with me and could I please send him money so he and his son could eat because, see, he was over there in Africa building a road and, like, he’d stay up late to chat with me while his son slept in the other room and, so, somehow, he wasn’t getting paid enough by his employer and he was afraid because, like, he didn’t know how to feed himself and his son. Yeah, right! Keep movin’ buddy-boy! I just can’t wait to see my next phone bill because he sent a ton of international texts. OY!

The fact of the matter is this: Right now, at 5:35a Eastern, my body is in pain; I’m emotionally and physically exhausted; I am empty of any illusions about Glenn (really Faux Glenn) and why he and his wife did such a horrible thing that nearly cost me my life in the nuclear emotional fallout that followed; I both miss my mother and feel guilty because, for the first time in about 30 years, there is peace in this dwelling I’ve hated for so long.

I want to ask something I don’t think I’ve ever asked on this blog. I am in dire need of good energy. I don’t care if it’s in the form of a prayer or if you visualize fireworks. I really, really need positive energy to flow my way so that I can absorb it and be replenished.

I can’t write anymore. I am so very tired. I am going to sleep and hope like hell my body and mind begin to heal. Thank you for reading this rather long and rambling post. G’morning!