Tag Archives: pain

Pain and when the fight is over

In October of 2011, I was in a terrible car accident that almost killed me.  I was at a dead stop on the highway and a driver in a work van was not paying attention and struck me at full speed – probably close to 75 miles per hour.

I was physically broken by that accident.  Emergency responders had to cut the door off of my car to get me out.  I was concussed, suffered a minor skull fracture, a fractured clavicle, three fractured ribs, an avulsion fracture of my cervical spine, and countless soft tissue injuries, the scar tissue from which still causes me pain today, almost every day.

I can still count the number of pain-free days that I have had since October 2011 on two hands.

But I don’t have to be pain free to function, and I’ve developed a staggering tolerance for pain.

Recently I was in a conflict where I broke my jaw (hence the photo in my entry from earlier this month) and I walked around with a broken jaw for more than a week before I realized that it was broken.  Sure, it hurt, but nothing more than I go through almost every day.

Physical pain and I have been traveling companions for a long time now.

I am only now beginning to realize that emotional pain and I have been traveling companions for most of my life.

Just in the past two years, I’ve been working hard to peel back the layers of my mind and access the deep hurt that has been buried there.  I have developed emotional scars as well, and where I have learned to tune out the physical pain and walk on in the past 5 years since my car accident, I had also developed ways to tune out the emotional pain, I just didn’t realize it.

This is where things start to cycle back on themselves, and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s helping me to function again, so I’m just going to live with it for now and examine the consequences later.

I can’t take my anxiety medication right now because of my closed jaw.  The capsules cannot be broken and there is no liquid variant available, so my psychiatrist gave me a different liquid medication instead.  It doesn’t really work for me, so I’ve just stopped taking the meds altogether.

This is dangerous, I know.

This is probably not the right way to go about things, I know.

But those wonderful drugs that opened my viewpoint to allow me to experience more of the emotional spectrum and to be more emotionally available to my partner.. they appear to be a crutch, and it’s possible that my already developed and natural coping mechanisms – while not ideal, perhaps – may actually be more effective in letting me live a somewhat normal life than the drugs have been.

I took them, and I went to counseling, all in an effort to save my relationship and fight for the one that I love.  But my counselor betrayed me and my girlfriend left me and now I’m physically broken again, emotionally vulnerable, and heartbroken in a way that I have never been before.  I rarely leave the house, and there are days when I do not speak to anyone.  Not one word.

But you know what – despite that.. despite the depressing canvas that I’m creating upon, despite the lack of medications, the lack of contact, the isolation from my family, the lack of any available friends, the severing of the best and worst relationship that I have ever had… despite all of this – I’m getting better.

I’m hardening again, and that may ultimately not be a good thing, but the funny thing is that I’m finding that the further I hold the world at bay, the easier it is to deal with.

I’ve cocooned the pain away, and it becomes easier and easier to deal with every day.

I was fighting hard for something that was probably hurting me more than helping.

The fight is over for now, and I have to find a new way to move forward in the world.  Oddly enough, pushing away the pain has led me to be more present and patient.  Or maybe it’s the lack of drugs that has restored my patient nature… either way, the fight is over, and I’m finding new ways to deal with the pain.

I am strong like the Oak.  Pretending to be a willow does not suit me.

 

  • Rant

Pain vs Hurt

Pain is part and parcel of the BDSM lifestyle, but there is a difference of nuance in the meanings of pain and hurt in this context.  As practitioners of this thing that we do, we are no strangers to pain.  As human beings, we are no strangers to hurt, but while those words are synonyms, the English language has different words for similar concepts because those concepts are separated by subtle differences.

For the purposes of this entry, I’m going to define these words according to my own terms.

Both pain and hurt are used as verbs, though the use of pain as a verb is somewhat archaic.  One might say, “my arm pains me” to mean the same thing as, “my arm hurts.”  At the end of that second phrase, there is an implied “me,” but it is not usually explicitly stated in modern language.  Usually pain is a noun – it is a state of being, a thing that is being experienced, while hurt is a verb.. it is an action word and like all action words it requires an actor and intent.

However, while these synonyms can pretty much be used interchangeably if you so choose, I like to think that they have evolved to have subtly different meanings.

When I say that I am in pain, I mean that I am experiencing the physical sensation of pain.  When I say that I don’t want to hurt you, I mean that I don’t want to cause you unintentional distress.  For submissives under my care, I will often say, “I have no desire to hurt you,” and then proceed to slap, smack, spank, flog, whip, bite, and toss them into furniture.  In the absence of a way to properly distinguish my meaning, this would seem to be a case where my actions are not in line with my words, and yet, no one in this position with me has ever given me any indication of being confused on this point.

How is that possible?

I will attempt to elaborate by way of example…

The other day, I was in bed with my girlfriend, post-coitus, and she was expressing some concern about an interaction that we had has previously that day.  I failed to pick up on some of her emotional cues and created a situation where my lack of action caused her emotional turmoil.  I didn’t intend to hurt her in this case.  We do not have a TPE relationship and even if we did, I am not the type of Dominant partner who would ever want to create an emotional rift like that.  So in our discussion of what happened and how to best avoid similar situations in the future, I said to her, “I never wish to hurt you,” and then had to pause and chuckle, following up with, “well, you know what I mean…” and of course she did, but it brought to mind for me the unvocalized nuance that followed with that statement.

The words do not support this notion natively.  We have to imbue them with subtlety of our own.  And yet, because she is a smart woman and because she knows me rather well by this point, she understood my meaning without the need to elaborate significantly.

Hurt is a part of every relationship.. mistakes happen, people will fail to live up to our expectations, especially when those expectations are not vocalized – perhaps because the effort of so doing is extreme.

Pain is not a part of every relationship, and for most people, it really ought not to be.  I’ve said it before and I’m certain that I will say it again, but without consent, what we do is abuse.  For most relationships, there is no desire for pain, there is no discussion of appropriate applications of pain, and without the acknowledgement and discussion, the infliction of Pain is no different at all from Hurt.

Pain is a part of most BDSM relationships, but while we can revel in the pain, use the catharsis that follows, have a release of endorphins and emotions, we usually try to avoid Hurt.  Pain is part and parcel of the lifestyle that we choose to lead, but Hurt is abuse.

For my girlfriend, for my friends, even for my family, I try very hard to avoid Hurt.  I have felt Hurt from my family.  From some members of my family, that hurt has never abated.  We so very often hurt those that we love when we are, ourselves, hurt.  But I try very, very hard not to do so intentionally, and for those I love, this is especially true.

If you put yourself under my power, I will cause you pain with intent.  I will willfully bind you so that the bindings are tight enough to cause you pain.  I will willfully flog you with enough force to mark your skin and leave behind reminders of the experience.  I will bite you hard enough to leave a bruise that lasts for weeks.  But I will not intentionally pull the rug out from under you or cause you to question your trust.  I will not intentionally belittle you or put you down unless that is a specifically negotiated arrangement and executed at specifically designated times so that you can understand the difference between my words and my beliefs.

I respect those that I encounter, and even for those that have hurt me in the past or continue to hurt me now – I try to be respectful and forthright, but make no mistake, I will not idly sit by and continue to take the abuse, nor will I suffer it as you apply it to others.  I will at the least ostracize you and may even confront you, depending on the situation.

I have often said that I think I’m more of a masochist than a Sadist, and perhaps that fact is informing my opinions here.  I make no broad statements to say that a majority of Dominants feel as I do, nor do I necessarily think that they should, but this is what works for me, and it is a continuing part of my education and growth in this wonderful and scary world we inhabit.

I’m not sure at what point in my life I started to make this distinction, and I know that I’ve never successfully conveyed the nuance before, but I suspect that this is the kernel that exists behind my personal difficulties in causing pain in those that I love.

When you look back at me and say, “please hurt me,” this is the difficulty through which I have to process before I can act.  Like my grasp of other languages, I have not yet (despite my advanced age and position) been able to completely internalize these things and so I must go through a process of translation and change this to, ‘please render pain unto me,’ in my own particular and rather archaic idiom.

But my life, my experience in BDSM, and my experience in relationships is an ever evolving process and this is yet one more thing that I am refining and will probably further refine again over time.