I have suffered enough. More than enough. I have suffered too much. Haven’t we all?
“Suffering is a central topic of this discussion. Ideas and fantasies about suffering and orientation toward it as a state of soul find expression in our personal and collective attitudes toward alternative sexualities. BDSM has adopted suffering as a kind of lingua franca developing a nuanced and sophisticated vocabulary, which is evolved into a true logos of pathos, rather than a pathology. On some level, whether they are conscious of it, or not, people who participate in BDSM activities and relationships acknowledge suffering as an essential agent of paradoxical pleasure and psychological transformation. However, suffering is an integral part of the human condition beyond the confines of the dungeons and playrooms of BDSM’s practitioners. This book will propose that alternative sexualities are a creative response to suffering as an integral part of the human condition. Jung believed that suffering was essential to the individuation process. Hillman regarded suffering as one of the ways soul comes into the world (what the poet John Keats referred to as the vale of soul-making). The pull toward suffering and transgression is something deep in all of us.”
p.XX Preface, The deep psychology of BDSM and Kink, Jungian and archetypal perspectives on the souls transgressive necessities, by Douglas Thomas, published by Routledge, ISBN 978-1-032-12207-6
The Christian Bible says “thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”
I do not personally believe this means we are to kill witches. It means that in order to live a life, we should not put up with the manipulations and administrations of those who can be described as witches.
Remember how in proto-English the letters W and B are the same. Our modern re-interpretations of these words and concepts say more about the mentality of our era than they do those of the past whose remnants affect us today.
One could draw comparison to this with the same way an individuals trauma from previous dysfunctional relationships is often carried over into the next, unless as Jung suggests, it is channeled safely through specific activities.
“My ex used to beat me up.”
“That’s terrible. I’m so glad you got away from someone like that.”
“No you don’t understand. I provoked X into doing it. I like it. I chose someone I knew would do it. When X felt guilty I felt powerful, to be able to control X. When X was assaulting me, I felt important. I felt wanted and loved. I know people say it’s psychotic. It was the only way I knew, to feel that. The bruises reminded me of it. It felt good as they were healing.”
I have replaced name and gender pronoun with the letter X. Don’t jump to conclusions. Domestic violence is not exclusively gender prejudiced.
Such behaviour is not dissimilar to those who cut themselves for release of sexual tension, an activity most commonly seen in teenagers. The association between pleasure and pain is a core principle of BDSM culture.
As an NVQ2 qualified counsellor this was one of the more extreme cases who I referred to more professional help. Like most people who know how it works, the client told me if that was available or any good they would not need to be opening up to me about it.
My experience as a counsellor and therapist goes beyond my academic qualifications as a counsellor. The limitations imposed by ‘doing it professionally’ which means ‘for money’ or doing it voluntarily through state approved channels.
I was an outreach worker. I worked with homeless, drug addicts, sexual assault victims, suicidals, bereavement, depression, a range of various psychiatric disorders, every shade and tone of the narcissism, some other ‘dark triad’ spectrum disorders including murderers, rapists, pedophiles and other less antisocial sociopaths, psychotics and psychopaths.
All of this outside of the restrictions imposed by the ‘professional’ arena and the academy.
What enabled me to cope with all that is a firm belief that as a sentient species, our humanitarianism should not be limited to dehumanising others but rather to encourage all people toward greater empathy.
The exceptions, those who have done inhumane deeds, are nevertheless interesting to interact with. My conclusions about such people is that their overt lack of humanitarianism is directly linked to their lack of empathy for others. Mental states ebb and flow, are rarely if ever permanent. Abnormal mental states are induced by abnormal experience.
I also believe there is nobody alive beyond the age of puberty who has not experienced some level of trauma to cope with. Most of life is a process of coming-to-terms-with-what-happened-to-me.
If this does not resonate with you, you’re lucky and you’ve had a blessed life.
I’ve lived all over both sides of the River Severn in England and Wales, 23 years each side of the Millennium at time of writing. 80% of my counselling clients have sexual abuse related trauma, usually from childhood and teenage years. In addition to whatever else they’ve been through (typically lost love attachment depressive disorders which develop from sexual withdrawal).
“Desire is the cause of suffering.” Buddhist insight. What they don’t tell you is it’s not always your own desire which results in your suffering.
Increasingly, since I first read Clive Barkers novella the Hellbound Heart, from which the movie Hellraiser, the culture of what used during the 1960s to be called ‘S&M’ has evolved in parallel with the LGBT movement into BDSM.
The knowledge-base is beginning to become advanced sufficiently that it is a useful framework for therapeutic counselling because it gives an easily learned reference system, not only for understanding normal relationship dynamics but also as a safety outlet for a wide range of healing and developmental experiences.
The problem for most people is connecting with others who share the same and similar desires while avoiding abusers inevitably attracted to any open discussion on the topic.
“In our western world we look at trauma as a thing which messes up our brain. The post traumatic brain. Trauma can be the greatest purifier of our lives because it causes us to question and refine everything in a way which nothing else really can. It becomes putrid energy when we hold onto it. Are you going to take that shit and make it fertiliser or make it putrid? It’s up to you how you take it and transmute it.” Layla Martin, moving from sexual trauma to liberation.