D592: hello, what are you doing up so early on a weekend?
Mac: Resisting the urge to kill my partner. I spoke to you a few days ago?
D592: Yes, it's me. You're the one in the new relationship?
Mac: The one rapidly giving up on the whole idea.
D592: Why? What's happening now?
Mac: this isn't going to work. I don't know why I ever thought it might
D592: Wait a minute, calm down..... Want to talk about it?
Mac: I'm just not sure either of us know enough to be trying to do this anyway.
D592: Let's start at the beginning? How did you two decide that discipline was needed?
Mac: It was his idea. From the start. I was anyway- older than him, naturally - pushier than him I suppose. I know we found more and more I was shouting at him about things- stupid, careless things. Eventually he told me about this discipline idea and started giving me things to read.
D592: So it's safe to say that your partner was more interested to begin with than you, right?
Mac: I didn't have a clue. Adam did.
D592: So you read what he gave you. Did you then sit down and draw up a ....."contract".... on what was appropriate/inappropriate behavior, and the consequences?
Mac: Not really. We talked about it for weeks, morning noon and night, and I agreed I thought it probably would help him. And it was support he wanted from me and wasn't getting so we talked about it some more and agreed we'd try.
D592: But it was clear what you'd call him on, right?
Mac: what do you mean?
D592: That Adam knows BEFORE THE FACT , that what he wants to do or has done, will earn him punishment.
Mac: we talked about a few things we both had a problem with and a few I had a problem with - we agreed I had the final decision and I could say no if I felt it was necessary. Like he works all hours and forgets about everything else.
D592: So has he balked at the actual discipline? One particular instance?
Mac: No, not really. He's incredibly good really - much better since we started this. Its little things- like every time I try and talk to him about anything he sort of slides away and neither of us end up agreeing on anything.
D592: You mean any sort of sticky situation. One in which you may or ARE putting your foot down, and Adam doesn't want to hear that, right?
Mac: Like at the moment he isn't fit to work. If we try and talk about it, we end up talking about something else. Or he gets upset and slips off to do something else. And if I do try and pin him down he looks so panicky I back off and that isn't right either.
D592: I've got a question for you. Are you comfortable in the disciplinarian role?
Mac: I don't know. I thought so. I'm actually far less authoritative with him than I was before we started this.
D592: If you are less authoritative now, then that is a BIG part of the problem. Look....Adam looked to you for support, and as part of that, wants discipline. In the BIG picture of course, he'll more often than not change his mind in the midst of punishment, I do all the time! .... If you are backing off, or simply NOT asserting your authority, Adam will use that to his advantage. He wants/needs the discipline, but when you are right AT that point when the discipline is actually administered, he'll be WANTING you to back off. To make it work, that is when you need to exert the authority. I speak from experience here. I need the discipline, I KNOW it's made me a better person. But don't ask me if I want it, when I know I've earned some sort of punishment. Then, I'd practically do ANYTHING to get out of it! That's the crux of the whole situation, the reason WHY discipline works. You need to sit him down and work out with him just which of you is the Top!
Mac: I don't know how to go about it- especially when I can't pin down what it is he's actually doing that is making me feel things are going wrong!
D592: You are in the midst of the emotional rollercoaster. Adam will be flying on that, and you keep riding WITH him. In order for things to work, or to be clearer to you, you need to step back with a critical eye. Get OFF the ride. Adam, at that point, can't view you as a friend....exactly, you know? He's looking to you for discipline, and while that can be loving, it's got to be administered with a firm, unemotional hand.
Mac: But if he isn't actually doing anything WRONG? I'm sounding like such a wimp, I know, but I can't pin down what's happening!
D592: What IS happening?
Mac: Its such minor, minor things. Like I sit him down and try to talk to him about not working until he's fit. Somehow we never end up talking about what I wanted to talk about- or he gets quiet and unhappy and slips away and I know we haven't resolved anything.
D592: Not working until he's fit? If I may ask, what's wrong?
Mac: He has epilepsy. I didn't know until a few weeks back. The seizures aren't well controlled at the moment and he isn't fit for much. And miserable. And very frustrated.
D592: No WONDER you're having such a tough time! He's got a lot to deal with internally, as well as with you. He's got to be emotional. Now is the time you need to just......be tough. Not unkind, but tough. He's probably thinking he should work, and that he can work. If you feel it's not the case, you CAN make it easy for him. Sit him down. Be firm. TELL him he isn't working, and why. He will not like it, at least at first. He may very well blow up at you. But if you're firm, it will be MUCH easier for him. You'll take away the worries he has of thinking he should be/could be at work. All he'll need to worry about is whether or not you say yes. You'll worry about that FOR him. You see?
Mac: Ok, I tried that yesterday. He lost his temper and went to work. He had a fit. He's been suspended from work. I tried talking to him yesterday. He looked so distraught I gave up. The whole idea of this is that we'd talk more and be closer- I'm starting to think it's causing far more problems than it solves!
D592: You didn't DO anything when he lost his temper?
Mac: I tried to calm him down.
D592: So he did to your satisfaction, then went behind your back to work?
Mac: we ended up as usual having agreed nothing and with him having distracted me out of the whole conversation
Mac: which is my fault, not his.
D592: Think of it this way. A scale. White on one end, black on the other, all shades of grey between. He's stuck in the middle. He needs the grey cleared up. You need to be firm, even if at first he's mad at you, he'll thank you later. If he isn't fit for work, tell him flat out no. Cut through ANY bull he gives you. If he behaves inappropriately during the discussion, then punish him. You have GOT to make him listen. Tell him NO, and then back that up with punishment if he disobeys. You say no, he should be in the white area of the scale, with one line in the middle to cross. He's either going to listen to you and stay in the white, or NOT, and go directly to black. He then needs to be punished, or the line disappears, and he's back in the grey. Does that make ANY sense at all?
Mac: it makes sense. But at the moment when he's so miserable, and the drugs I think affect his moods- I can't blame him for that.
D592: No, you can't blame him for his moods. And I can understand WHY he's miserable, and that you want to comfort him. You want to make the pain go away. To do that, you need to take charge. Yes, it will very likely be ugly at first. Spanking isn't a pretty thing, nor is taking away privileges or any other form of punishment, but in the end, both of you will be much happier for it happening. You'll free Adam from worries he needn't be suffering. He'll feel protected within your discipline, know that he's got a strong shoulder to lean on for support, and someone to help him find his way.
Mac: Like I said, we're talking less and trusting each other less now than we did before. I KNOW this isn't how either of us thought this would be, or wanted it to be.
D592: He's pushing his boundaries, bouncing around. Grab him from the stratosphere, set him on a line of straight and narrow. When he realizes that he must stay on that line, his emotions will settle as well. Once that happens, and not a moment before, THEN you can decide to end the discipline if you find it isn't what either of you wanted.
Mac: that makes sense. I feel like I could do with a couple of weeks training on this! I want to do it and I want to get it right- I go into each struggle- that's not the right word by the way- full of strong intentions, and it all falls apart when we're face to face.
D592: I don't know exactly how it really feels on your side of it. But my partner makes it known, in no uncertain terms, that whatever I have done is unacceptable. It doesn't matter that I throw him the puppy eyes, crocodile tears or an earful of abuse. He doesn't allow me to "fight" that way. It's always "you've done so and so wrong, and you ARE going to be punished, so cut the dramatics." At the time, he's all business. But I know WHY he's punishing me. He loves me. I know that always. And I also know, if he wasn't firm when he needed to be, the discipline would be a joke.
Mac: That's it exactly. Some of the time I get the feeling this is a game Adam knows far more about playing than I do.
D592: You have to handle it all the same. You have to be in charge, even if you're not one hundred percent sure you're in the right. If he senses a weakness, he'll exploit it....if he's anything like me. And once that happens, you've lost the war.
Mac: And sometimes I don't think he needs this kind of supervision. And then he'll do something and I see a totally different person who needs it desperately. I feel like I'm chasing him at the moment and I can't keep up
D592: You need to establish a framework. Get him within that framework. You'll find out soon enough if he can live there. If not, you expand the framework, but you NEVER let him out of it. The only out is terminating the discipline relationship completely.
Mac: establish HOW? We talk and talk and talk, and get nowhere!
D592: You don't talk! You know Adam, right?
Mac: I hope so!
D592: You know the big things that are the trouble spots, right?
Mac: I thought I did but I'm changing my mind. I think the biggest problem we have is that he's one step ahead of me the whole way
Mac: beyond that are specific things we need to work on
D592: Then YOU set up the framework. Tell Adam how it's going to be. Tell him why. You love him, and you are going to make it simple for him. This is what you will/will not do. We'll live with this a while. If we find we can't cope after so long, we'll change it, but NOT before. Black and white.
Mac: that sounds manageable
D592: As I said, you probably have one huge hill to go over, where he might balk at the new gameplan. After that, it should be smooth sailing.
Mac: I need a crash course in this. Or a couple of armed guards
D592: LOL! I doubt you'll need firepower. I'll be around here if you ....... *$^&&^^....I am usually around here, but since I wasn't supposed to be on here now, I think I'll be absent for a while. My partner just caught me. Later... Good luck.