The truth is, I can be rather obsessive.
Fortunately, most of my obsessions are short (and thoroughly) lived. Some however, I am destined to bear for the rest of my life.
My greatest obsession has remained the same for about a decade.
In the context of relationships.
Fear turned inwards. Dangerous. Loss of control. Weak. Wrong. Abusive. Disrespectful.
Just some of the things I hear almost every time I bring up the concept. Perhaps they are all true. Perhaps.
Here, in our world, there are few things we absolutely abhor. Few things that threaten the foundations of the pillars on which the precarious balance of our complicated relationships rests. But I find, most of us tend to agree, anger is bad.
The number of times I have heard tops, doms and sadists (TDSs, ha) say things like, “I would never strike anyone in anger,” is more than the number of men I’ve been with.
I believe you. You wouldn’t strike anyone in anger. Well done. But forgive me, I am preconditioned to taking things apart.
Let’s just state, right off the bat that despite all the safewords and protocols we may have in place, there are relatively few boundaries in our relationships. We can negotiate scenes and even guidelines for relationships but the living reality of relationships is more fluid than that. We cannot spend our lives negotiating and renegotiating. Unless you have a proclivity to legal principle or a serious contract fetish, it’s tedious.
In any other relationship, striking someone in anger seems plain wrong. But here where we routinely strike each other out of love, respect, disappointment, need, desire, arousal; is anger just as great a departure from right? But more than that, given that we’re so conditioned to the gestures of violence, that a momentary loss of judgment should lead to what we call abuse is not so farfetched. It’s plausible. To me, it is even understandable. It’s baffling that I don’t hear about it more often.
Then there is the issue I take most issue with.
The loss of control.
I see this as a heinous double standard. Sure, in some of our relationships there is the partner(s) that assumes control, and the one who relinquishes control. But the physical representation of of these relationships? When there are endorphins flowing, adrenaline rushing and pleasure dominating the entire scene. Who is in control then?
Aren’t sexual arousal and activity inherently designed for the complete and total abandonment of control? Then why is it that on the one hand there is loss of control we relish, while the other we deem plain wrong?
The lack of control is the same.
The things I do out of mind-numbing arousal and anger are the same, in expression and intensity.
Scratch. Bite. Strike.
Ribs have been cracked. Noses have bled. Scars created. Vaginas traumatized.
All of this, with and without anger as the motivating emotion. How have we decided then that violence borne out of anger is so much more dangerous than violence in the quest of pleasure? I had undergone more physical trauma chasing pleasure than I have as a victim of anger.
Perhaps then the issue is not as much physical, as it is emotional. Anger is scary. It is terrifying. Things are said, threats are launched; unspeakable becomes the order of the day.
I (at least) enjoy being scared; resisting and succumbing. And while that can be accomplished devoid of the anger, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that anger is the most effective path to that end. It’s almost the same with emotionally scarring talk. Minus the anger, I enjoy a good amount of verbal abuse. I know a lot of us do. My vagina doesn’t know how to make the differentiation between various kinds of emotional motivations. It doesn’t care if the harsh words are being spoken with careful deliberation or primal Id-centered debilitation. The effect is the same.
We seem to associate the idea of angry assaults with loss of love and care.
“If s/he loves me, they wouldn’t want to break me.”
But the possibility of breakage is just as real even when we take all the physical and emotional precautions we might. In fact, I often feel we desire it. It’s hard to fall apart all on your own, so much easier when someone window-dresses it and does it for you.
We seem to associate anger with nonconsent as well. Technicalities and consenual nonconsent aside, we still violate consent all the time in our relationships. We dress it up in pretty names, but that is what we do.
Do it for me.
Try it once.
If not that, both giver and receiver, can get carried away in the moment. I know because I have.
We also seem to associate anger with weakness.
Perhaps it is. At least as much weakness as giving into any overwhelming feeling is. But be true to yourself, they say all the time. What we feel and think is who we are; so if I feel angry and do not express it, does that make me strong? Or just moral? Does going with it (because I may be inclined to be true to my feelings) make me weak? And what if my natural method of expressing anger is physical violence? If it is all I know, am I still weak for being me?
I don’t think or espouse that anyone should be aroused by anger. I don’t even think it is something I would rally behind for us to be more accepting of. I know it turns me the fuck on.
Anger, in itself, conceptually and emotionally, is extremely attractive to me.
So I wonder, can I consent to being a victim of anger? And given that I do, does that nullify my right to call myself a victim? I know that I believe that even if a victim of rape displays physical signs of having enjoyed the rape, I still consider that an act of sexual violence and consent violation. Does the same principle apply here then? Regardless of whether I enjoy it or not, I am being abused?
I confess that the emotional ramifications of anything that feels like abuse (which is a hard deduction to make in itself) are neither joyous nor pleasant but I cannot deny that they are stimulating.
Does that make me an abuse victim convinced that violence is the only manifestation of love? Or a self-aware individual with a tendency to damn the consequences when in the pursuit of desire?
I have been trying to answer these questions for a decade. I’m not closer today than I was at 14, 17 or 20.
I usually measure notions I have about right and wrong (as we all do) based on any guilt i may feel (for partaking). At the same time I am not immune to social conditioning. The dangers and the downward spiral on the path to rage (both as victim and perpetrator) have been hammered into me.
Therefore, the truth is, the only guilt I feel on the issue stems from the fact that I feel no guilt about relishing and chasing anger.
Perhaps it is kryptonite.
Perhaps it is my kryptonite.