Hurts Me More Than You: A Poem by Jessica

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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.

Additional content warning for Jessica’s poem: intense descriptions of emotional and verbal abuse towards a child.


“Daddy Loves You,” a poem by Jessica

“Bless us, Oh Lord…” we all sit to pray,
But you neglected to do it well.
She scratched her nose and you opened your eyes.
Children like you two are going to hell.

Now you may eat, but just as I say.
Don’t take a bite so big!
If you stuff your face you’ll end up like mommy,
A nasty, big, fat pig.

Don’t clack your fork. Don’t smack your lips.
Don’t finish your dinner too fast.
But don’t still be eating by the time I am through!
You’re a fat, ugly cow if you’re last.

You are mean. You are nasty. And so full of hate.
You are retarded and dumb.
None of your friends actually wants to be near you.
Nope. Not a single one.

You make stupid choices, and I know you’ll end up,
Marrying a loser who will bail.
Oh, you’re going to be a horrible mother,
And your children will end up in jail.

You are rude. You are mean, and a horrible person.
So full of anger and hate.
You should be ashamed of all that you are.
I don’t care that you’re only just eight.

You’re retarded.
You’re lazy.
You’re going to hell.
You’re a liar.
You’re a loser.
You’re going to fail.

You just disappoint me and make me recoil.
I don’t even want you in sight.
Now come here and give me a kiss on the cheek.
Remember, Daddy loves you.

Hurts Me More Than You: A Poem by Merritt

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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.


“Disagreement,” a poem by Merritt

Our eyes do not meet
As eyes seldom do in disagreement
You choose to revisit an old argument
I merely listen

There can be no discussion
Since you start out by ending it
“We have to stand on the Bible,” you said.
And that, as they say, is that.

Frustration wraps its strangle hold around my tongue
As words like “context,” “history” and “interpretation”
Die before they can be spoken
Because I know they cannot be heard.

“We have to stand on the Bible,” you said,
And nothing I can say will convince you
That the words you stand by were penned by an evil king
Whose wisdom turned to rot.

“If you beat them with a rod, they will not die,” said the king.
I wonder what the dying thought of that.

And I wonder why we revere this king
Whose evil counsel would have us beat our children
Until their skin splits and their spirits crumble
This is not the voice of God.

“We have to stand on the Bible,” you said.
And there is nothing more to say.

Hurts Me More Than You: Charis’s Story

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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.


Charis’s Story

Our physical abuse was defined as love.

I used to think that there was only one thing that was not ideal during my childhood. What I remember as isolated incidents, the times that my mom was not ok with my dad’s behavior. I’m now seeing with different eyes the methods of ‘discipline’ and ‘training’ that my parents used. Realizing that what was abusive, I considered normal.

When it came to “training” or “discipline” there was no doubt my parents believed it was for our ultimate good. That it was an expression of their love for us. They “chastised” us because they wanted to keep our souls out of an “eternal lake of fire.” We were told many things about how this abuse was actually love, and demanded by God:

“I do this because I love you.” “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” “God disciplines those he loves.” “Parents who don’t discipline their children hate them.”

When I was younger, spankings and time alone were the main methods of “discipline” that I remember. It didn’t really matter how old you were. A first time for one of us, I remember my sibling being around maybe eighteen months. My mom and I came home from the grocery store and my younger sibling was very… subdued? Dad said they had had their first training session, or something like that. No idea what, if anything, had been done wrong.

I know there was some statement by dad on how he had done it while my mom was gone because she would have been too soft.

I don’t even know how to describe what they used to strike us with. It was made of something like leather, very thick and smooth, too big to be from a belt.

There was always a pronouncement of how many times we would be hit. “That’s eight!” or the like. My mom had a penchant for counting, like some parents do when they want you to do something “one, two, three…” In our case each count represented another “spanking”. Before you could be punished, or “chastised”, you had to express absolute submission. This meant not crying, removing your pants and underwear, and bending over the bed.

Afterwards you had to hug them, and usually there was a drawn out discussion about what you had done wrong.

I remember being maybe five years old. It was after my dad had spanked me, and I was crying. I didn’t want to touch him, so I was backed up towards the wall away from him, and really didn’t want to hug. He was explaining to me that just like I was backing away from him, my sin separates me from him, and hurts our relationship.

Conditional affection, love defined as chastisement, and the blame laid to me for problems in our relationship.

I distinctly remember a “training” moment when I was a small person, at whatever potty training age was. I remember being given specific instruction to go in the toilet and not my underwear, or else. It seems like mom and dad left me alone to play for awhile, because I remember the moment when they came to my door and discovered I had gone in my pants. It seems like the reasoning was that I was rebellious or lazy, but I couldn’t say.  “Sins of omission” and all that. I was in big trouble, was given a lecture and spanked. I also remember that I was wearing orange.

I have a memory of playing in my room with a doll that cried if you turned it over. I was spanking the doll with the leather instrument my parents used on me and making my doll cry. My parents discovered me and I was in big trouble. To this day I have no idea what was so wrong, I was a child emulating my parents.


There is one term my dad uses to this day that concisely defines the picture of God I was painted.

“God’ll help you with that.”

Seemingly sanguine, it was used as a threat or condemnation. It meant something along the lines of: “If you don’t get your act together God will make your life living hell until you shape up.”

Similarly, if dad said “I can help you with that” it was meant as a threat. Figure out how to obey on your own, or the consequences would be severe.

Around eight I have fewer and fewer memories. The bottom dropped out of life and everything was hard, for all of us. Never got easier after that. From age eight until I moved out life was a constant stress. You never knew when something was going to happen, when someone was going to get hurt. Sundays were the worst because dad was home all day. There was plenty of ‘discipline’. I have no idea what was deserved and what wasn’t.

Something must have happened to the leather thing, because my mom adopted a sturdy wooden spoon. She broke a few of those with use. Dad, I think, used his hand for a bit because I remember his graduation to a board due to the strain on his hand.

I was around ten or eleven years old when dad made a board with a handle and put work into sanding and finishing it. I remember it being 2+ feet long and five or six inches wide. I only have the memory, nothing exact, and of course everything is bigger when you’re a child.

There was a big to-do about the whole thing. Dad talked about a board from his childhood that had holes in it and two separate layers along with a handle. One of those -you’re so lucky I had to walk to school uphill both ways- kind of things. I don’t even know if the story was true.

The existence of this new form of punishment was a big threat. I had no doubt dad would use it on us. At this point I was already afraid of hearing his truck in the driveway. I remember cleaning my section of the room immaculately. The hangers in our closet were so straight that looking at then made me dizzy.

The very first time dad pronounced punishment with the new board it was for me. We were getting groceries as a family. My younger sibling started to walk away to go be with dad. We got in trouble for being between parents alone in the store, so I grabbed my sibling’s sweatshirt and told him to stay. He went to dad and told him what I had done. Dad got in my face and said he was going to punish me with the board. I fell apart right there in the grocery store, absolutely hysterical. My parents herded us out of the store, I was screaming and crying the whole way home. My dad told me to shut up, no more noise on the way home. I couldn’t stop crying. Mom suggested to my sibling that we take the punishment together, split it or something. He would have been around five ears old. To this day I don’t understand why she said that. I don’t remember any more of what happened. It seems like mom and dad started dickering (maybe about her suggestion that I get less) and then dad left angry, for a long time. I don’t know for sure.

I figured out that if something mattered to you, they’d use it to punish you. If you did something wrong, they’d take it away. If you didn’t do something right, they’d tell you that you might have gotten what you wanted back, but now you wouldn’t.

I made it my mission in life to care about absolutely nothing.

If I didn’t want it they couldn’t use it against me. I didn’t care about eating. I didn’t care about spending time with them. I didn’t care about being alone. I had no friends after eleven, so they couldn’t keep me from seeing anyone. One sibling was particularly hard to use the method of removing “privileges” on. I remember my mom saying in exasperation that there was nothing that mattered to him, how was she going to take it away? Removing meals or no food for a day was an oft used punishment.

I remember distinctly the moment when I realized I could never be good enough. It was never going to stop.

I had made dinner for the entire family, cleared up and was just finishing washing every dish. My dad came into the kitchen and screamed at me. I remember dad saying that if I thought that was good enough I was crazy. I don’t remember anything after that.

I figured out there was nothing I could do to protect myself or my siblings. All I wanted was to find a way to prove that we didn’t deserve it. That we had done the right thing. We had obeyed even if dad didn’t think so. I became increasingly depressed and suicidal as I faced the reality that there wasn’t a standard of perfect that christians agreed to. Even if I were capable of perfection, we couldn’t even decide what it was.

The years from early grade school and all through my teens are a blur. I have very few isolated incidents that I remember. Screaming and cursing, unpredictable enough to completely catch you off guard.

My brothers definitely got the worst of the punishments. I don’t know why this is. Maybe they thought boys were sturdier or more rebellious and needed more force to make an impression. Maybe my parents had a harder time breaking their spirit. Maybe because they were younger than me and got the worst of my dad’s anger as his stability waned.

My dad beat my brothers. I have no difficulty calling it a beating. If you hit your child with a board using all your force countless times on a regular basis, that is a beating.

I know there was punishment that I never knew of, and sometimes there were things I heard about later. Dad would go into a room with one of us and I had no idea what happened. Most of the time I would intentionally go outside in the yard so I didn’t have to hear the screaming of my sibling.

Every day it shatters my heart to know that I was there, and there was nothing I could do about any of this. I wanted to do something, I wanted to protect my siblings. But I was helpless. I wished I could take it all for them, find a way to teach them how to avoid all of it, to be good enough. In hindsight I know it was fruitless.

This ‘training’ is not what love is, but I was raised to believe that it was.

Hurts Me More Than You: Clay’s Story

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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.


Clay’s Story

My parents didn’t spank in anger, usually.

They were convinced that they were practicing biblical discipline.

They believed that spankings were to be delivered calmly, leave no serious injury (red marks and the occasional bruise were OK), end with reconciliation and a forced hug, and be painful. As a child I was spanked nearly every day. But I got off easy.

Dad said that children in the old testament got stoned to death for rebelliousness, so it was a good thing I didn’t live back then.

Spankings ranged from three to ten swats. I remember feeling really lucky the few times I only got one or two. Mom and Dad both spanked but it hurt more when Dad did it. I think that was just because Mom wasn’t capable of hitting as hard. When Dad spanked he swung with his whole arm like he was trying to hit a home run on our butts. We weren’t allowed to keep our pants on, but usually we could keep on our underwear.

When Mom or Dad spanked it was painful enough to make me see stars. One time after getting spanked by Dad the pain was so much I almost vomited. When I told my Dad this he laughed and said that was impossible.

We were supposed to be still and quiet while receiving a spanking. If we resisted at all we got spanked more. Spankings with our hands in the way didn’t count. If we screamed we got spanked more, and told that CPS would come and take us and we’d never see our family again. We were allowed to cry, but it had to be sorry cries, not angry cries, or we would just be spanked more.

My Dad chose wooden instruments that would leave as few outward marks as possible. Usually something flat like a wooden kitchen spatula. As my brother got older Dad spanked him more, and harder. He started breaking wooden spoons and spatulas on him. Dad made a paddle out of a thick piece of wooden molding or something. It was about two and a half inches wide, half or three quarters of an inch thick, and a couple feet long. He drilled a couple big holes in it so that there would be no air cushion, that it would sting as much as possible.

I always thought I was a bad kid. We got spanked more than anyone else we knew, so it followed that we must be the most disobedient. It didn’t occur to my childish mind that maybe my parents were spanking too much. I remember when I was eight years old realizing that I had gone three days without a spanking.

I thought that was really cool because I had set a record for being good.

Maybe if I had gone on that long I’d be able to be good forever and never get a spanking again. Alas, I got a spanking later that day.

I always wished I could be my cousins. It must be easy for them to be good. I wished it was easy for me to be good. I didn’t understand why it was so hard for me to be good. Impossible, in fact. My parents explained that it was because I was a sinner, but that didn’t explain why I was apparently a worse sinner than anyone else my age. I couldn’t wait to grow up, because grown-ups don’t sin — that’s why they don’t get spankings. My last spanking was when I was twelve, I think, but the threat didn’t go away. Mom would tell me that a teenaged friend of mine still got spankings for rolling her eyes, so I’d better watch myself.

My parents stated goal in all this discipline was to break our wills.

A child’s will was something evil, something that needed to be eradicated.

They never really explained what this meant in detail, but it had something to do with us never having desires that misaligned with theirs. I can only imagine that the desired result was to condition us to have a visceral reaction to the thought of going against their wishes. It worked very well on me. I learned early on that the best way to cope was just to go along with what they wanted, to say what they wanted to hear, to hold still and not resist, it would be over most quickly that way.

It didn’t work so well on my brother, he would fight. Not fight physically — he’d fight by not crying, or by saying that the spanking didn’t hurt. That’s why Dad had to hit him so hard that wood broke against his flesh.

Yet, I’m not convinced that my strategy was better. It seemed so at the time because it was the path of least pain, but there were long-term consequences. For years into adulthood I wasn’t able to act in my own best interest. Doing something just because it was the best decision for me was so far off my radar I rarely contemplated it. I lived my life with pleasing my parents in mind. It wasn’t even conscious, it just was. When I started making decisions I knew they would disagree with I had physical reactions that were so intense I would sometimes be incapacitated for days. It would start with my whole body shaking, then my throat would close up. Then my heart rate would soar, like my heart was trying to escape my chest. My mind would race, and then I would start vomiting. Even after the vomiting stopped it would take a day or so before I could eat normally again. It would take several to get my energy back.

I’m shaking just writing this post.

My parents always told me that they spanked us because they loved us. It is true that they loved us. But I don’t think that was their primary motivation in spanking.

Spanking gave them a tremendous amount of power over us: power to break and then remake us according to their will.

Hurts Me More Than You: Jennifer’s Story

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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 Jennifer’s story: descriptions of blood in relation to physical abuse during menstruation


Jennifer’s Story

I am 17.

Funny how the majority of my life is a blur; I have very few clear memories of my childhood. I believe this is because my mind is suppressing the worst of the abuse.

But I do know that every day my oldest brother was beaten for mocking  and hitting me and that at least once a week I and my other siblings were beaten.

Rather than talk to my brother about why he felt the need to bully me, my parents used belts which only exacerbated the issue. And of course, I and my two other siblings were  ambiguously “disrespectful” and deserved beatings, no matter that everyone we ever had contact with thought us perfect.

I remember the times we hid from my father when he came  home and read the list my mother kept of infractions the children committed and deserved being beaten for. The four of us were always  found out and told to “line up.” Listening to my older siblings’ screams and being a helpless bystander knowing it would be my turn next was so much worse than the beating itself. Listening was much more psychologically damaging. Thanks to that damage, I was incredibly introspective.

It was a habit of mine in middle school  to sneak out and wander the streets by night, fascinated by the stars, doubting God. One day I was caught by a police officer, who called my mother at 3 a.m. I was  menstruating, but my father beat me anyway, until I had lost about a quart of blood, my legs coated in it. The combinations of cramps and blunt force created the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced.

That was four years ago.

Today, I still recoil when people reach out to me. I still cringe at the sound of a belt. I am still not free from them; indeed, today my sister has healing scabs on her arm from our mother clawing her.

And the worst, most depressing, soul draining thing is not the scars, but how I have no recourse but to watch her cry.

In my childhood, my parents mocked people who used the term “spanking,” saying they don’t call it what it is and they are right. Any form of physical punishment is violence and damaging. Not only to the one being hit, but to everyone hearing the screams.

Hurts Me More Than You: Robert’s Story

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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.


Robert’s Story

I don’t remember anything about my young life before I was 5. They always told me I was a happy, quiet child.

The first memories I have of my childhood are extreme bouts of corporal punishment. As to whether the corporal punishment or the home education came first is as fine of a question as the chicken and the egg.

When I misbehaved as a young child my mother had the belief that “If you spare the rod, you spoil the child” in regards to punishment. In fact that’s what she told me before the belt came out.

The belt.

For the uninitiated a real leather belt taken off of a shelf can be a colossal terror for a small child. I suspect it was a 36″ model, the same size I wear now and that my father would have worn in his 30s.

My mother had a philosophy, that I assume was if I didn’t scream the neighbors would be less likely to intervene. Her exact words “Take it like a man”. Usually the beatings would be 10 at a time unless I cried or screamed, if a murmur came from my tiny mouth the count would be reset.

I cried a lot.

The beatings would continue until I was 13 and larger than her, at which point I took the belt from her by force and never allowed her to strike me again.

The “Education”.

As my young life continued I did not proceed to go to school with my friends across the street (we played their Atari and I found shelter in their house). Instead I found myself at home 24/7 with an abusive mother who decided that school wasn’t for her son. In my later years I found out that this was for religious reasons and to keep me from worldly things.

My childhood coursework consisted of whatever books she chose for me. I excelled in subjects I had interest in which led to much bragging among friends and family by mother about my proper education. Reading, biblical courses, basic math, American history (redux in a christian slant, obviously) and spelling were my highlights.

The Fallacy.

When I was in my teens I hit a glass ceiling in my education. The coursework – Algebra, Trig, advanced courses were all above my aptitude levels at that time. What’s the problem? a person might ask. You have a teacher right? Unfortunately this is where my truth and many of others comes out.

I was alone, in my room, studying without a teacher.

This was my home education. I was taught core basics in my early years, in my teenage years I taught myself as I had the basic skills needed to learn from a book. For me – it was a personal shelter and I was able to avoid most verbal abuse by keeping my head inside of a book and not admitting that I didn’t know what I was doing. This continued until I was 18 years old, I failed multiple courses of advanced subject matter and at the end my mother simply stated that I wasn’t good enough.

My mother attempted to kill my father and myself when I was 16 years old because “God told her to do it”. Somehow she avoided jail time, instead going for mental evaluation. My education did not advance past that point. PTSD took over my teenage brain and I lived my next two years in fear.

Growing up.

I removed myself from my parents home at 18 years of age after acquiring a GED (this was my way to graduation according to my mother and her home school group). My father filed for divorce from my mother less than a week after I left. He is a good man. He stuck around to make sure I was able to get out.

I didn’t know anything about the world and I didn’t have any experiences to fall back on. I immediately joined the wrong crowd, drinking and smoking at 18, smuggling large quantities of weed when I was 19 until I was ripped off, drunken driving in my 20s. I never went to jail and I deserved to so many times. The thing about homeschooling is that you just don’t fucking know what to do because you have no experiences and no peers. My family lived in the country for almost all of my childhood and had contact with others at church and small home school gatherings only.

I never grew to learn what not to do or the consequences of my actions.

Getting lucky.

Today I’m in my mid 30s. I am married to a beautiful woman who showed me true love. I have alcoholic, abusive tendencies that have gained me some trouble in my 30s along with depression and PTSD. Fortunately I am stable and with the help of my loved ones I am conquering my past.

If anyone is reading this story feeling alone in their struggle I encourage them to find peers that have been down the same road. We need each other.

One last thing — regarding “spoiling the child.” I am a strong atheist who has had no need for any gods and have been since my 20s. The rod will always fail you.

~ Robert, class of 1996

Hurts Me More Than You: Jace and Jocelyn’s Stories

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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.


Jace’s Story

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.


Jocelyn’s Story

“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”.

Hurts Me More Than You: Warbler and Laralyn’s Stories

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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.


Warbler’s Story

I was a “liar and a thief” growing up. AKA: I would take saltine crackers out of the cabinet and eat them between allowed meals and then I would lie when I was inevitably caught and told to fess up. I got spanked at least once per day for a couple years.

I don’t know were exactly my parents first learned about spanking, but they read and promoted the Pearls out the wazoo.

Over the years they spanked us with hands, paint stirrers, and lastly with 2-by-4s. My mom had a 2×4 custom made with a handle. If we tensed out butts, or put on extra layers we were spanked for avoiding the pain and made to take the layers off and be spanked over underwear. We were usually taken to another (private) room, but our walls were thin and every *thwack* echoed through the house, along with the eventual crying and the “I love you and this hurts me too.” Afterwards we were expected to say in explicit language exactly what we had done wrong, that we were sorry, and that we loved the parent who had just beaten us.

My mother was usually the one to do it, but she would spank us so often that her hands started hurting (blood vessels breaking, etc) that she had the 2×4 made, or she left us to wait in dread for daddy. His hands were tough and he hit hard. The paddle sometimes hit the tail bone as well, and that was the worst.

I usually cried.

As much as I tried I was “weak.” Sometimes if the boys didn’t cry they were spanked till they showed “proper” repentance. If we were stubborn, refused to say we loved them, or did not properly state our transgressions we were spanked again. 5 spanks was the bottom line, then ascending in number by units of 5.

As for me, I never got more than 40 in one sitting (that I remember) because I was (as stated) weak and timid and disliked getting spanked. My older brother was rebellious and would often get spanked for hours. I can still him yelling defiantly over the strikes, refusing to back down even when being punished.

As we got older (teens), our parents decided that spanking was not working and we were given leaf-raking jobs, cleaning jobs, or extra writing assignments. They thought that we were either so bad, or so old that spanking still hadn’t done well, and it was time to try something else. I once heard my mom say something about “decency” having something to do with it, but I have my personal doubts.

Our younger siblings were spanked much less because the “other” punishments on us older ones seemed to be working (or as we got older we didn’t take so much food and hid things better) so they got some similar punishments and spanking was reserved for serious, extra bad transgressions. With the sidelining of the spanking it got worse, though. They were reserved for daddy and he often beat far longer than needed because the younger siblings were not used to being contrite, crying enough to get out of it, and say the right things. I remember the 8th child had a problem at dinner and shouted at my mom or something. My dad had just gotten home from working and it seemed like the height of sin to be making noise and disturbing his dinner. My baby was taken to his room and hit for about 5 minutes long, screaming up until the last minute or so. He was either 4 or 5.

My mom also got more into slapping or hitting as we got older and talked back to her as older teenagers. It was like the ultimate shame because you could never hit back. Those were some of the times that I “saw red…” Brilliant shades of red color everything as you focus in on one person with all the hatred and anger in your tortured soul. Your body shakes and you blink, but still see the color. Nothing else is, or ever was. The only two things in the world are you and the face screaming at you in red waves…. and you wish you had a knife in your hand…. Sometime later you awake from your dissociation, you can’t remember the past 30 minutes, but you feel guilt for your feelings.

After all, you were the one in the wrong. You deserved punishment for your sins…

I don’t know how common spankings are now, as I “ran away” from home 4 years ago. I do know that if my mom had access to plumbing line or glue sticks one or more of us might have fared worse. The wood was solid and “just” bruised.

And we learned how to hide our transgressions in order to avoid it.


Laralyn’s Story

Spanking. Even now I don’t know what to make of the term.

It feels so wrong to apply it to how our parents punished us. I initially assumed I would always spank my own children. After all, it was Biblical and right according to so many Christian parenting books. I didn’t want to have horrible children, so of course I would spank. As my first baby became a toddler, I found I couldn’t stomach the idea. I tried to spank her once and the attempt was half-hearted and I cried because I knew deep down it was horribly wrong. The moments I was tempted to spank were when I was angry or I didn’t know what else to do and that to me said more than any Christian parenting book ever could. I decided then and there that I would never physically punish her or future children in such a way.

I wish I couldn’t feel my stomach turn when I remember my parents disciplining us. The angrier they were, the worse it was. A belt was the most frequent tool and almost all spankings accompanied the remove of clothing below the waist. I still feel humiliation and shame when I remember it. We were spanked for nearly every infraction – my parents knew no other mode of discipline.

However, the moment I remember most vividly is when I was spanked for being afraid of the dark.

I had horrible fears as a child (of hell, of the house burning, of dying) and refused to sleep alone. One night, after repeated attempts to settle me, I was still crying uncontrollably. My parents, frustrated to the point of losing control, marched into the room. My dad ordered me to turn over and with my head buried in the pillow to muffle my crying, he hit me several times across my bottom. He yelled at me to shut up and then they left.

I was still crying. I was still afraid.

I started injuring myself when I was five in response to anger and overwhelming emotions. This behavior continued and worsened into my teens and young adulthood. My parents shamed me and blamed bad influences.

I blame their shaming and willful crushing of spirit.

Hurts Me More Than You: A Poem by Sam

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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.


“Love?”: A Poem by Sam


A child naked, helpless, letting himself be hit.

If he resists he will be hit more, if he doesn’t stop crying on command it is the same.

Every time he doesn’t obey unquestioningly,

Even if he just doesn’t want to finish his lima beans.

“We only do this because we love you.”

But is it love, or something very different?


Parents talk of all day spanking sessions till “they” are black and blue

After work a father continues what his wife did all day.

They talk to their pastors who tell them to continue to achieve the desired outcome.

Unquestioned obedience the only apparent goal.

“We only do this because we love you.”

But is it love, or something very different?


“You can only have friends over if the house is clean.”

But the house is never clean enough.

Friends do things differently, to dangerous to remain friends.

Xanga blocked. E-mail monitored. Mail read. Checkmate trapped.

“We only do this because we love you.”

But is it love, or something very different?


Behind in logic when it is reviewed the first time all semester

Upset mother. Tension palpable. She grabs coat to leave.

Son begs her not to go. “Tell your father I’m leaving.”

He comes home, begs forgiveness, and searches.

“We only do this because we love you.”

But is it love, or something very different?


I awake.  I can smell dinner in the kitchen.

We’re all there, we smile and eat. No one explains, no one questions.

Three months later I burst into tears at what was swept under the rug.

“Why do you bring things up that happened so long ago?”

“We only do this because we love you.”

But is it love, or something very different?


Of course since you are a Christian, you believe this.

What that means in practice varies by the day.

Questions are dismissed. Opinions can change,

But only if it is a parents thought.

“We only do this because we love you.”

But is it love, or something very different?


Son fails out of school, a perfect trophy no more.

Explosions from minor things. Parents are impossible to please.

He works hard and returns to finish what he started.

Professors see a success. Parents still only see a failure.

“We only do this because we love you.”

But is it love, or something very different?


Gorgeous woman. Incredible friend. Determined to treat her right.

Hugs and dancing leads to consternation.

Forced home. Cut off. Will Broken.

Why do I feel forced to agree to every demand?

“We only do this because we love you.”

But is it love, or something very different?


They try to sabotage and marry smile as we say “I do.”

We leave and cleave and start an incredible life.

Married children are not to be respected as adults.

If they think differently, they can not interact with younger siblings.

“We only do this because we love you.”

But is it love, or something very different?


I awake.  This is not right.

“You may not keep treating me this way.”

“Son, stop being bitter, get past the hurt.

“Why do you bring things up that happened so long ago?”

“We only do this because we love you.”


But this is not love, this is very different.

Hurts Me More Than You: The Stories of Five Sisters

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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.


HA note: These five stories are the perspectives of five sisters, with psuedonyms taken from the seven sisters from greek mythology. They have previously guest-blogged at Becoming Worldly.

Maia’s Story

My parents were very zealous about raising us right.

They read the Bible, joined the groups, read the books. When I was very young, I was punished in a way that I think was very typical of the late 80’s (and still common now): a slap on the hand, a swat on the bottom. But after the books and the groups, it became more violent, and included hitting us on a handy body part, pinching and squeezing handy body parts, and formal spanking.

My father accumulated spanking implements, and he enjoyed hearing about new materials that could be used to spank his children.

He insisted that it be called the rod, as a matter of respect to him. His favourite stick was a think branch from our woods. He cut it off the tree himself, trimmed off the little branches with a knife, and sanded the nubs down.

It still had most of the brown bark on it, and over time, the sanded nubs started to look shiny and polished from use. It seemed to me that my parents thought that spanking had magical properties. They thought it could be used for anything from attitude adjustments to ensuring instant obedience to helping the memory when we had a hard time reciting the Bible verses we were supposed to memorize.

When my father thought we had a rebellious attitude, he would spank us, and then talk to us about having a better attitude, which was difficult to process, especially on those occasions when we weren’t having rebellious thoughts to begin with. If we failed to respond to a command immediately, or did it with the wrong attitude, or not thoroughly enough, we were spanked. We were spanked until we cried, because they felt that resisting tears was a rebellion of its own (it was). But we became disconnected from our own reaction of crying, so sometimes we would start crying right away, trying to do what was expected, and we were spanked until we stopped the rebellion of crying.

They told us that they didn’t want to hit us, but they had no choice because the Bible made it clear that they would be punished if they didn’t spank us.

Being spanked and hit and pinched made me flinch around sudden movements from my parents, but, you guessed it, I was punished for flinching. I became very fearful, and tried to completely control my behaviour and reactions to avoid being punished. I became a very silent and somber child, trying to show respect and obedience all the time, even though inside I was extremely angry. I learned to try to avoid punishment, not to do things well from any internal motivation, and this was something I have had to learn to overcome as an adult.

I do not support spanking as a discipline method.

Electra’s Story

I was spanked when I was a kid.

The spankings went on from when I was about 2 to when I was 12. Sometimes the sessions would go on for hours, and they usually took place at least once a day. Even the slightest offense, such as taking an extra piece of fruit, or “having a bad attitude”.

I remember one event, when I was about 8, when my parents decided I was possessed.

This was at bedtime and the beating and praying went on till the early morning hours. Usually I would get a forced hug after a spanking session, along with a prayer and a guilt trip for “causing them this pain”.

I feel that a lot of my social skills were hindered by this abuse, and I think that spanking is an unnecessary and brutal use of force that should never be used.

Alcyone’s Story

As a child, I was spanked by my dad and my mom. Most of the time it was for pointless and unimportant things. My dad would spank me until I cried. I don’t mean whimper; he would spank me till I cried loud and in pain. He would spank me with a rod that had the diameter of a quarter.

My dad justified his spanking methods by saying that God showed him that it was time to spank. He once spanked all of my siblings and myself, with the reason that he had to test out his new spanking implements. I got spanked because I baked cookies for my dad as a surprise, but I burned them. I got spanked for climbing out my bedroom window. I got spanked for dropping a watermelon because it smashed on the ground.

The actual spanking didn’t hurt me psychologically. It was the reason and the criticism that the spankings were served under. I was scarred by my dad’s spanking physically; more emotionally though. My dad once beat my sister with a broomstick in front of me because she missed a spot on the floor. That scarred me.

Spanking is wrong in many circumstances. When a spanking is meaningless for no reason, then it is wrong. I don’t know if it’s wrong all the time, so in my children’s lives, I have chosen not to. I can’t justify hitting child, no matter what they did.

Taygete’s Story

I was spanked when I was growing up. And it definitely affected me permanently. I was spanked for everything; it was extremely inconsistent and never for the same things. I  was spanked and it hurt. I was spanked anytime my father wanted too. He spanked me so often that I thought it was just the normal way of life.

My parents instilled fear in me at a young age. As a child the one thing I feared the most was my parents; no matter what I was doing ( playing the piano, playing lego, or even playing in the yard ) because anything could set my dad off.

This not only hurt me as a child but followed me into adulthood as I went on to parent my own child.

I developed bipolar as a result of this and multiple other mental issues. It made it hard in relationships because I couldn’t even tell I was being abused for the longest time.

This is only a very brief description of how child abuse affected me forever.

Celaeno’s Story

I was spanked by my parents when I was younger. Each spanking wasn’t very long (as I can remember), but it is hard to remember how often I was spanked. I was often spanked with grey patterned tent rods, and I was never spanked for a reason (as far as I know). Each Sunday, we were taught at “church” that spanking was normal and a fine way of discipline so I didn’t realize that the living situation I was in was a horrible one.

Later on in life I got counselling which I probably had needed much earlier but from counseling, I learned so much more about spanking, how wrong it was, and how illegal and inexcusable it was. There are many wrong things about spanking especially when you aren’t given a reason for it. It hurt me physically and psychologically. I will never spank my kids when I have them, hurting them physically won’t be the answer. Kids don’t realize when they’re doing something wrong unless you tell them.

There are alternatives to hurting them.