Trigger warning for Hurts Me More Than You series: posts in this series may include detailed descriptions of corporal punishment and physical abuse and violence towards children.
Extra trigger warning for Jace’s story: reference to family sexual abuse.
I believed my parents when they said this hurts me more then it hurts you. At least when I was young I did. I knew I was bad and needed the rod to drive the evil from me. The things my cousin did to me made me bad. I knew that. I was bad because I let him do those things to me. He always gave me the option, do as he said or he would just go get my little sister. So I done as he said. I was so bad.
When my father asked if I understand that I deserved the beating. I always said yes even if the reason he gave was false I still knew I was bad and deserved the spanking. My father loved me. God was using him to drive the bad from me. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child.
Then the day came when someone in the family had committed a crime in my mother’s eyes. She was going to get to the bottom of it but no one would confess. So she put me in one room, my sister in another. Then she went back and forth spanking us and asking for a confession. I remember wishing she would just ask if I knew I deserved the spankings. I could say yes but to confess would be a lie.
I did not know what to do. I sat and listened to my sister’s screams when it was her turn to be spanked. I heard mom say this hurts me more then it hurts you. I knew that was a lie! I had suffered for years at the hands of my cousin so my sister could be safe. I loved my sister and I knew I could never beat her and hear her scream in pain even if God commanded it.
How could my mother do that? The spanking did not hurt mom more then my sister. I got up went in to the other room and confessed to a crime I had not done.
Mom beat me and for the first time I did not believe her when she said this hurts me more then it hurts you.
“Spanking isn’t abusive in and of itself.”
I used to say this when I heard someone say they would never spank a child. In my mind, you would have a bratty child if you didn’t spank them. Because that’s what I was told. Every time the wooden paddle came out, it was accompanied with a reminder that this was for my good, that it was because I was loved, and that God said it was the best way to discipline.
“My parents spanked in the right way”, I argued.
I was never spanked to the point of bruising. It was always with clothing on. It was not a daily occurrence. But recently, I have been becoming more in touch with my childhood, seeing it for what it was. I see fear. And anger. And confusion. I see a disturbing fascination with violence, even sexual violence, before I was ever exposed to much of the outside world or knew what sex was. Where did those feelings and thoughts come from? I am beginning to think that they came from being spanked. Spanked “in the right way”.
Which urges me to reconsider that there is a “right way” to hurt your child.
The violent and disturbing fantasies I had as a child have not gone away yet. I’m thinking of having my own kids soon. I won’t be spanking.
Not even in “the right way”.