Sadism, intimacy and self-doubts

I absolutely ought to go to bed, but this is bugging me:

I read on many blogs by ACONs about the connection between (malignant) narcissism and sadism. And here´s the issue: While I´m starting to understand that my own family might be toxic, abusive, and probably also sadistic – I know that I, myself, am a sadist as well.

I already mentioned my masochistic streak and my encounters with the BDSM scene. And I´m alright with the way in which I act on my sadism. I see nothing wrong with playing mind games with a person who enthusiastically and explicitly consents to them. Heck, I would never have gotten into playing the dominant role if I hadn´t been asked to!

When I did, though, it turned out I was a natural. I simply knew what to say and do to achieve the greatest effect. I knew how to crawl into my partner´s mind. Much to their delight.

I feel so tempted to keep on justifying myself. Apparently I´m not so alright with it at all. While my actions may be entirely acceptable, given that I engage in them on the basis of consent, I still can´t help but wonder if maybe in those moments I show my true colors. And very ugly ones. Maybe I´m generally emotionally twisted. My run-ins with Dr. Stoneface and psychoanalytical literature seem to confirm that, which increases my self-doubts each time, as much as I try to prove him/it wrong. So maybe I am the villain, after all. Or a very deranged product of my upbringing.

The latter would excuse me to some extent, but I still don´t want it to be the case. Why? Because I like my sadistic side. I like what I can do to and for people. I like how my fine-tuned my perception of my partner gets, I like how I my focus and my voice sharpen, I like how high and pleasantly exhausted I am afterwards. It is a state which feels pure, and clean of the general feeling of shame, ugliness and inadequacy that otherwise clouds my life. A feeling which was probably largely inspired by my family. And now I shall connect this good, pure feeling with the very people from whose influence it helps me escape? Is that the horrible, merciless, ironic truth?

It doesn´t feel like it. A lot of horrible, merciless, ironic voices in my head revel in the idea, though. Thinking of it that way evokes a nasty, scornful response in my head that sounds a lot like “serves you right”. It feels like the ultimate confirmation that I don´t deserve to feel good, powerful, skilled. Ever. These voices, too, are sadistic in their own way. “They” want me to be miserable. I feel like they are much rather the heritage of my family and other people involved in my life.

And yet. And yet.

I keep on telling myself that I´m different, that I´m not generally twisted. I have an on/off switch for my sadism. I can be cruel and laugh about it until my partner has a cramp in her leg and suddenly I´m back to normal and massage her toes. It´s not the action that makes me normal. It is the attitude. I´m not revelling in my partner having a cramp. There is a very limited level of pain I enjoy in others. I can carefully construct humiliations for our mutual entertainment, but if I hit a sore spot and my partner is truly hurt I feel horrible. I don´t enjoy that.

Then, I don´t feel any aggression in this state of mind. I feel intimate with and affectionate about my partner. I´m not putting her down in order to aggrandize myself. These sessions have no effect on my real life self-esteem other than that I think: “Hey, I´m good in bed.” (At least for like-minded partners.) Which is something. It doesn´t affect other areas, though. I´ve been doing this for several years and look at all the “whining” on my blog. There are situations when I rant about someone or types of people in order to feel better about myself. But that feels entirely different.

And yet.

One time when something had gone wrong (though I believe it was a minor problem), I wanted to offer my sympathies to my partner, saying “Oh man, poor you!” Unfortunately, though, I was still in the process of switching back and it came out all in the wrong tone. That soft, but hard-as-steel purring voice. There was something predatory about it.

I apologized and my partner was cool about it, but I was sitting there fairly dumbfounded because, holy fuck, this is exactly how my mother always talked to me when I came to her for comfort!

I described a while ago how my mother always sounded a little weird when I was little and I came to my parents´ bedroom to sleep in their bed after a nightmare. I talked about how I always felt slightly disgusted. I had to take the comfort she had to offer, but something about it was gross. Icky. Made me feel bad about myself.

Well, here we have it.

The thing is: She might have felt like a good, caring, affectionate mother!

I. Know. The. Feeling.

It just disgusts me to no end that my own mother could feel like that about me! I don´t want that kind of intimacy with her! It is a kind of intimacy that is reserved for much later in life (if at all), and for people who are not family!

Again, I´m wondering. Is it normal, maybe, and I´m just a pervert who therefore feels there is something indecent about my mother´s tone and behavior? Am I assuming she is like me, everyone is like me?

Can´t be. This realization came much later than the icky feeling I associate with seeking comfort from my mother. And everything else about her behavior, the sometimes less subtle, less “innocent” (in the sense that she really perceives herself as loving) sadism points to my perception being correct.

But am I any different from her, then?

I like to think so, yes. I´m definitely different in terms of 1) awareness and 2) how I handle this. I behave that way towards consenting adults for a limited amount of time, and I hope that I have more to offer in terms of comfort than my mother. This is something I have awful, nagging doubts about, though. Then again, few people are really good at comforting someone, at least in my experience. It´s probably fairly difficult if you´ve never really learned or experienced it.

But I think there is one thing that makes a difference which goes beyond consent, and that is transparency. My partner knows I´m being cruel on purpose. My partner lets me crawl into their mind; I don´t force the intimacy on them. I have as much power as they give me, and I don´t try to maintain or expand it by gaslighting or otherwise damaging them. The intimacy goes both ways. I don´t deny what I´m doing or what I get out of it. I might sometimes turn myself into an impenetrable facade, pretend I have no idea what I´m doing  as part of the game, but as soon as my partner told me to quit I would. I can be reached, and my partner knows it. My normal self can be communicated with, it is only, to speak in a Dexter image, sitting in the back of the car momentarily.

I never found that “off” switch on my parents. They, and especially my mother, always keep up their facade and deny they are wearing one. Which is why my mother, honestly and naively, might feel like she is very intimate with me, while I feel like I´ve never really had any genuine, authentic contact with her.  Why I never experienced any intimacy with her that didn´t somehow feel obscene.




2 Responses to “Sadism, intimacy and self-doubts”

  1. vicariousrising Says:

    I think I’ve heard a lot of sexual fantasies are a way to take back control and power from our helplessness. Turn it into something different.

    I’m not sure I’ve seen it in myself, but I think it makes sense.

  2. I might have read that somewhere, too, yes. I don´t know if it applies to me, either. I only know I´ve had those tendencies and fantasies since I was little, though they usually involved me as the victim.

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