Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Still Crying: Anne's Experience

This piece is from Anne Moser of QuickSilverQueen. Thank you Anne for your bravery.

Shame. Everybody knows where you're going and what you're going to get when you follow Mom or Dad into their bedroom.
Humiliation. Bending over in front of one (or both) of the people you should be able to trust, waiting for the first blow to fall.
Defenseless. Sometimes they make you pull down your pants and expose your bare buttocks.
Rage. Unjust spankings. Watching Dad spank the 12-24 month old because she wouldn't eat something she didn't like...and then because she was screaming from the spanking.

You take whatever they give you. If you don't cry, you get more whacks. If you scream, you get more whacks. You can't win.

No child should have to go through that.

As a child, spankings were a part of everyday life. We didn't know anything different. We didn't like it, and tried to go a whole day without a spanking, but it never worked. We were never good enough. I'm pretty sure that's not what my parents were trying to convey, but regardless, it's the message I picked up. We didn't try to disobey the rules, there were just so many. Most of the time, we were figuring out ways to get around the rules...and got spanked for that, too.

It got worse once I hit puberty. Fortunately, shortly after puberty, they didn't continue making me pull down my pants, but it became more humiliating. My parents were very black and white in the discipline department: anything you did wrong merited a spanking. If you tried to correct something Mom said and she thought you were talking back, spanking. If Dad couldn't figure out who did something, he lined us all up for a spanking. This happened a handful of times. One time that stands out in particular was the time my dad kept spanking us until my soft-hearted brother "confessed" so the rest of us would stop getting spanked. (Later on, Dad found out he was the culprit, but didn't apologize and just said that we had probably deserved the spanking for something he didn't know about.)

I don't know why they started spanking in the first place. I remember my thoughts and feelings as a child; the one thing I wanted most was to make my dad happy and proud of me. He didn't need to spank me, he just had to show me affection and understanding and I would have stopped trying to get around the rules. I would have felt good enough. I would have moved heaven and earth for him.

For us, spankings continued well past puberty, throughout the teen years, and into our twenties. I didn't know it was abuse. I just knew I hated it, and it was especially unnecessary the older I got -- most of those spankings had to do with something I'd forgotten to do, like I'd said "Just a second" after Mom told me to go do something, forgetting to ask if I could finish whatever I was doing before obeying. Just the most inane, little things.

Now, I'm an anti-spanking, child-rights activist. Spanking is abuse. If you wouldn't hit/spank your husband, wife, or best friend, you shouldn't hit/spank your child.

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  1. I am so sorry for the abuse you have endured. Thank you for speaking up and for breaking that cycle. <3

  2. Into your twenties? That really is sick. I'm so sorry. And believe it or not, some of those men do advocate spanking wives. I wonder what they picture when people talk about "sociopaths" and "abusers"? I wonder if they realize most people are picturing someone like them.

  3. Being spanked into puberty, teens, and twenties is really sick. Did your parents get off on it or something? Seriously, why else do it that long?

    1. I have no idea. In my later years (18+) it was mostly my mom, who had some weird problem with me.

  4. Spanking, properly applied is beneficial as the bible clearly states: Proverbs 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. We can argue the details about age and method but I did notice that you didn't reference the bible at all in your defense. Any discipline, improperly applied, can become abuse. It does not follow that discipline is abuse. The same applies to spanking.

    I am sorry that you still feel pain about your childhood, there are obviously things that should be dealt with directly that, at present, can't be approached that way. I pray that you would be able to let that pain go, forgive, and move on anyway.

    Let me know if there is anything I can do.

    1. Quite frankly, religion isn't going to work on me. I'm agnostic. And in retelling my story, I have absolutely no compulsion to add in verses from the holy book of a religion I don't believe in. If that damages your perception of the content of my message, that's your problem, not mine.

      If you really want to know what you can do, it's to not presume you know where I am in my healing. Also, since apparently I have to talk to you in your language (religion) but you don't have to even recognize mine as a language (agnosticism), here's a few articles by people who have actually studied the Proverbs verses. Please continue with an open mind.

      Christian Child Discipline: Is Spanking Biblical?

      Spanking and Proverbs – Part 1: Context
      Spanking and Proverbs – Part 2: Interpretations
      Proverbs and Spanking – Part 3: Believer’s Behavior

    2. Polygamy, slavery and genocide are all clearly biblical, and so is the death penalty for collecting firewood on a Saturday. This is why I don't consider the bible to be the last word on morality.

    3. Unknown, it does follow that all violence is abuse. Just because Bronze Age tribal people used violence to correct their children (and servants/slaves- you can't overlook that if you are relying on the book of Proverbs for your morality) doesn't make it holy or godly or righteous.

      Jesus didn't strike children. The only time he was ever violently angry was when he confronted people using religion as a means to get rich- just like your everyday evangelical fundamentalist pastor with his false doctrine of tithing to the local church (i.e. him).

      I'll follow Jesus. You go ahead and follow the religion that coopted his name, but please understand they are not the same thing. Paul=Moses=Jesus is apostate doctrine. God made that plain on the Mount of Transfiguration, when the OT writers were taken away, none of the future NT writers were honored at all, and only Jesus was honored, the glorified Son of God.

      Word. :)

    4. Unknown, you are confusing spanking with discipline. I do not believe it qualifies as such.

  5. Unknown, I'm a Christian who believes that spanking is abuse and that spanking is not actually Biblical. Here's some articles I wrote, which come from a Christian and Biblical perspective.

  6. Thanks for writing this Ann. I too remember the shame, the fear, and the anger. You are not alone.