Being In A BDSM Relationship Finally Allowed Me To Feel Safe And Loved, Here’s How

This artwork was lovingly handmade by yours truly. Although not a huge fan of the trilogy (other than for the fact that it got people talking about BDSM), this quote for me is particularly prominent. Why? Because an abused man, a man with a sad and dark history, allowed me, an emotionally abused woman, to know what it was to feel truly loved. Allow me to take you back to one of the most painful memories of my childhood;

“I just think you might find it difficult to find love, you know, because of your disabilities.”

My disabilities. The disabilities that an overwhelming majority of people don’t even realise are there most of the time. The disabilities that I manage all on my own 99% of the time. Right, those disabilities.

Can you imagine how I, a smart, witty, caring young 14-year-old girl felt at hearing my mother’s words? I was disabled and therefore undesirable. I was untouchable and so I’d therefore die a virgin. That was my fate decided for me. Meanwhile, my brother was the highlight of the family. He had an amazing singing voice, a talented actor, great grades and a sense of humour and he was popular with the girls. He played a varied collection of unusual musical instruments that family and friends would coo over while he played them a tune or impressed them with his “dog barks”, then there was me- the introverted, awkward, untouchable nerd.

So I gave up trying. I gave up trying to be touchable, because I was untouchable, and the spat of failed relationships fitted that narrative. It never occurred to me that was was off-putting to be chaperoned by my mother until much, much later.

Roll forward about 3 years and I started training in aikido. Of course, at that time, love was the last thing on my mind. I was, after all, unlovable. I trained hard, fought hard and gave up on femininity. There was no point to grace and elegance anymore, I was a mere existence, and always, always below my brother. If the limelight was ever on me, he’d pop off and return with one of his instruments then sit down and play. Of course, my collection of fossils and minerals would be far less interesting at that point.

That Christmas, I met Matt. Something about him clicked with me straight away and he saw something in me. It wasn’t love and it wasn’t beauty, but it was personality. We watched my brother perform at the Christmas party and I could see something in Matt – my brother’s need to be in the spotlight frustrated him, too.

Finally, I wasn’t alone.

As our friendship blossomed, I could see more and more of Matt’s frustration with my brother. He never hated him, but he definitely hated things about him. He hated the way he’d suck up to my mother and he hated the way my mother would cheer and applaud for him. At the same time, I was attracted to Matt and I began to try again for him. Progressively. Matt saw that I could be attractive, that I was smart, witty and spunky. I was thoughtful, caring and attentive, unlike the other girls he had dated. Slowly. we fell for each other.

Over time, Matt opened up to me. He opened up about the abuse of his childhood and some of the things that he had been through. He told me about the loss of his mother to septicaemia when he was four years old and he told me about being raised partially by his Nan. He told me how his father tried to break his arm when he refused to buy him cigarettes and he told me how the bullies put him in hospital and how he had a fear of black men because of it. \he told me how “dinner” at home with his Dad usually only consisted of banana sandwiches and how visits to his Nan would always see him properly fed. Finally, I realised, this was a man who was just as messed up as I was.

I told him how my mother had always told me that I would never find love and that she told me she would have aborted me if she’d known I’d be disabled. I told him how popular my brother was and the bullying I’d been through. I even revealed to him that my mother threatened to beat me after I wrote to an agony aunt and that she took my belongings after she read a conversation from over my shoulder. He needed someone who would help make sure that there was food on the table and electricity on the meter, and I needed somewhere safe that I could stay and feel accepted and slowly, that became the beginning of our relationship.

Sure, it was unhealthy and codependent at the time. I needed him to love me and accept me as much as he needed me to lend him money to power up the home and keep him fed, but it worked, and over time we realised that we were unstoppable as long as we had each other. We developed a sexual relationship and I introduced him to kink soon after. He was hesitant at first, but with a little encouragement and some persuasion, he was able to see the many benefits of stepping into a world that he had never considered before.

As time went on, my mother hated Matt. She absolutely detested him. When I dressed in opaque black tights, a black top and a denim skirt for a date, she told me I looked like a whore and I could get raped. She wrote me a four-page letter telling me how Matt wasn’t welcome in her home and, on another occasion, told me that her Christmas wish was that we’d break up. She put so much emphasis on how bad our relationship was that when I, in a height of confusion, said I did give up, she fist-bumped the air and took me to collect my belongings from Matt’s home. At the worst of the abuse she hurled towards him, she wouldn’t even acknowledge him by name, nevermind his gender. He was just “it”. “Is it coming down tonight?” “What time will it be here?”. Needless to say, at that point I realised just how damn immature and cruel my mother could be.

For many of my young years, my mother insisted that I was autistic. She’d been told once or twice by people who weren’t qualified psychologists and that became a label for me from there on out. Anytime she could, she would insist medical experts considered a label of autism. Any time I was to be supported at school, it was to be considered that I also had autism. When I filled out benefit forms, she’d want to read them to make sure that they gave a “true” representation of my disabilities. The worst days weren’t just sometimes, they were to be more often than just sometimes. My Mum spent a life on benefits, even though she could have easily worked from home. Matt pointed out to me that I wasn’t being loved, I was being exploited, with extra labels being applied on top to try and increase the award. When I proudly marched into the doctor’s office aged 18 and told the doctor (who also agreed with me) that I didn’t consider myself to have autism, she stormed out of the office and screamed at me on the way home that I should get a job. I was so terrified for my safety that I went home, grabbed a strip of my contraceptive pill and some underwear and left for Matt’s. On my way out, I told my brother that I wasn’t sure if I would ever see him again. Once I got to Matt’s flat, he held me in a duvet and allowed me to cry. He told me that I was safe with him and he wouldn’t let her get to me. If she called my mobile phone, Matt would answer it. I fell asleep for an hour in his arms, and for the past thirteen years, it’s been my favourite place to rest, my favourite place to sleep. Matt’s arms aren’t abusive, they’re protection, love and safety.

I must say here that I’d never say that my father abused me, ever, not once. my father loved me and idolised him, However, while he was never guilty of the abuse, he definitely enabled it, quite possibly fearful that he too would be attacked if he intervened. Although I never blamed him and I’d never want my parents to divorce, I do wish that, as someone who worked in childcare, he’d pointed out that some of my mother’s techniques were unhealthy. Never once did I face the vitriol and judgement from him that I faced from my Mum, and he made sure that I knew that he loved me.

Not long before we married, I needed to buy some new clothes. I flicked through three different black tops, deciding on none of them. Defeated and feeling like giving in, I asked Matt which one he preferred.

“I think you should go with the navy with the flowers, actually. I think it will look good on you.”

Me? In navy? With flowers? That’s never happened before.

But he was right. And what’s more, far from my usual tomboyish couldn’t-care-less attitude, I became graceful, I became elegant and feminine. Before our May wedding, he told me that he thought I would look better in lace instead of satin, and lace suited me to near perfection. He told me that I could write, that I had a talent, and here I am, writing for you. Today, I couldn’t care less about my mother’s words, thoughts and actions. I can come home, I can come home to safety. I see my mother now once a fortnight for a dog walk and coffee, and that is usually more than enough for me.

In a BDSM relationship, the relationship is never about abusing or bringing your partner down. It should always be about supporting and strengthening them in some way, whatever that way is and whatever that looks like for you. It could be like mine, based on bringing your partner up from rock bottom, or it could be providing them a space in which they can explore their innermost desires without shame or judgement. Maybe it’s both, or something entirely different, it’s whatever it looks like for you.

Of course, sometimes there is pain and intensity in what we do, but I trust Matt. I trust Matt explicitly and with all my heart. Pain is never about punishing or abusing, and I know that anything he gives me is only ever intended as sensation. Matt loves me and doesn’t want to change a hair on my head. Maybe help me lose a few pounds for the betterment of my health, but then that really is absolutely all, and he wouldn’t try and help me if I didn’t want to improve myself.

In months gone by, I allow my family much less involvement in my life. I still speak to my mother regularly online, but I’m much, much more select about what I tell her now. I’ve come to realise that my mother has never truly loved me like she loves my brother, that there was always something wrong with me and I, sadly, can’t fix that for her. My mother has a long history of chronic anxiety and that has long shaped her worldview. She is negative and neurotic and, now that I am far more positive about my life, I find that I can only handle her pessimism and negativity in small doses. She was even labelled “neurotic” by my headmaster when I was at primary school and told by my senior school sociology teacher that she should let me live a little. She threw a book at her – literally. I have sought therapy for the impact my mother’s attitude has had on me, I quit it when my therapist asked to meet her. The risk of a therapist-shaped hole in the wall was not worth the trouble.

My brother still annoys Matt. It annoys Matt that he is so pretentious, that he has a need to be liked for what he can be and not who he is. My brother is chronically depressed and still living at home with my mother, though our father is no longer with us. I’ve tried to reach out and offer my support mental health know how on numerous occasions and each time I’ve been turned away. My mother, too, has little desire to know and still, in spite of repeated dismissals by medical professionals, believes that “there is something there” in my alleged autism diagnosis. It saddens me that as life goes on and she gets older, she will never fully love me and I will never fully be loved by her unless and until I’m diagnosed, but I have to accept that and perhaps one day, if I’m ever rich and successful, she will be able to look back and realise how wrong she was. She always said that I would be the last to fly the nest and I would struggle to manage a home, but here I am, married six years, writing and inspiring people and with all of the housework done. I’m “made” to write by my husband. I mean, not really, but he loves what I do so much that he almost tasks me to write. He supports me and encourages my work and loves that I help people explore our world. My brother, meanwhile, has gone from a talented juvenile actor and a family musical star to a still-living-at-home, 29-year-old mall cop and merely a “best friend” to most women, yet my mother still thinks I’m the one with the problem.

Do I believe that I’d have this without a BDSM relationship? I’m not sure that I believe I would. My husband protects me, and I respect him because of it. Our love life is not typically candlelight and rose petals and nor would I want it to be. Even at the time of writing, even in spite of feeling loved, cherished, accepted and protected, I’m still quietly cooing over the wonderful bite mark on my breast.

4 thoughts on “Being In A BDSM Relationship Finally Allowed Me To Feel Safe And Loved, Here’s How

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  1. This makes me smile! Not the hurt, of course, the love shared by two people who couldn’t need each other more. Daddy and i fit into that same category. Both of came from violent, alcoholic families with some serious broken parts. We met later in life… Him 51 and me 45. Our needs in life and our personalities fit like a hand-in-glove. BDSM is where i found the support and safety i’ve needed all my life. Daddy is just that… Daddy. Strong, protective, gentle, fierce. He loves me to bits and i get to be little with Him comfortably with no shame. We have some of the roses and romance… but like you, my favorite times are feeling His hands around my neck long after play has ended. It’s true love!!! i’m so happy you were able to find love like you did!!! i count myself fortunate.

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    1. Succulent Savage I’m so happy to hear of your happy story! I think relationships like our really break up the narrative that BDSM relationships are really just going from one abuser to another, that we need to be abused, that we crave it, and we seek it in order to thrive. Nothing could be more wrong! When you find each other, when you find security just as much as or Dominant finds purpose, it’s really, truly magical. The romance side of it all happens but, to be honest, it’s like I said to my husband recently; why do we NEED to be romantic? And what IS romance? Romance is candlelight, bubble baths, champagne and rose petals to one person, and that’s great and fine, but if you add some red rope and some wax play, then that could appeal to a BDSM enthusiast, too. A hand around the throat is just as physical as a great big bear hug if it’s meant with affection. It’s still love- it’s just love done different!

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