Discussion, Disagreement and Discord

I was raised in a family that was both loving and, at the same time, abusive.  There was physical abuse from my father which left its marks on me, most of which are long in the past and have been healed by the consensual play I've engaged in with Paul and others.  The ones that left the most lasting scars have been my mother's anger.  Disagreements with her were fraught events.  She never argued fairly and would say anything in moments of heated anger, expecting all would be forgotten and forgiven when the moment had passed.

I wasn't like that and would burn inside at the injustice, thinking of what I should have said long after, never feeling good about myself because of the personal attacks.  At the same time, politics and religion could be discussed civilly with disagreements encouraged and fair debate encouraged.  Needless to say, by the time I reached adulthood, disagreements left me feeling frightened.  Even though I would hide that fear and take on issues that mattered to me, I still felt inwardly vulnerable, wanting proof that disagreement wouldn't mean dislike or abuse.  For the first few years after I came out in the scene I avoided all disagreements with anyone in the scene, carefully sidestepping issues.  This was not easy as we were on Usenet, but I knew with regard to spanking I felt too vulnerable, would be too easily hurt.

Yes, I got past it, kind of.  But the discussion this week here and on Indy's site with Ludwig and especially Kaelah has reminded me my childhood is long past.  That one can disagree with passion and civility.  I appreciated their honesty and their thoughts, even while wishing I could convince them to side with me instead.  We're not close friends (really we're more friends of friends) but I didn't feel there was discord or dislike, rather that we were hashing out our positions, looking at the common ground and the disagreements, marking where each point lay and why it was there.

This isn't much of a blog post except to say that's a big deal for me. And I appreciate it.

3 thoughts on “Discussion, Disagreement and Discord

  1. Kaelah

    Mija, thanks a lot for this post! 🙂 I think we’re quite similar concerning wanting to avoid disagreements but at the same time wanting to convince others about things which are important to us. I think unfortunately I’m not as strong as you are, though. I still feel extremely vulnerable concerning my kink, especially because I’m showing very much of myself on our blog. And discussions like the one you wrote about tend to affect my physically and mentally (pressure on my chest, problems to focus on anything else and stuff like that), although I know it is “just” a discussion. It was much worse during my last discussion about which I wrote a blog post a short time ago because I felt treated disrespectfully. I even lost weight that time and was paralysed for several days. In our discussion I didn’t feel treated disrespectfully, but since I like Indy, Paul and you and the topic got so much to my heart, it was hard to see that we wouldn’t agree on one point of view. Your post makes it easier for me to see that this doesn’t mean that you have any hard feelings towards me because of this and I think that’ll help me to let go. I have to become more relaxed about discussions, though, because it would be much better for my health and it would enable me to fulfil my other duties despite of being involved in an online discussion.
    By the way, it’s 1 AM here and I should shut down my computer. Have a nice evening, Mija! 🙂

  2. Indy

    Yes, this is a lovely post, and I’ll remember it the next time I find myself on the opposite side of an argument from you, Mija!
    While I don’t like it when people I care about are actually angry with me, I don’t mind a bit of argument for sport. I tend not to take those debates personally and sometimes forget that others don’t always have the same tolerance for disagreement that I do. However, I find these kinds of discussion among friends to be very useful, as we usually listen better to our friends than to people we dislike. That way, we come to understand both the opposing view and our own better in the process.
    For the record, Kaelah, your views with respect to ST are pretty similar to my stated position of a year ago about spanking parties. So while my stance is different now, I do understand yours. Fortunately, things seem to be changing for the better with respect to the rules of large spanking groups, and I think we’d all like to see ST treat M/M material more respectfully. It would be nice if we no longer had cause to disagree about this a year from now.

  3. Ludwig

    I found the discussion here (which I read only) and the one at Indy’s blog (in which I took part) very interesting and enjoyable indeed. Precisely because we are all people who are mature enough and classy enough so that we can, if our views differ, agree to disagree and not stoop down to personal attacks and flame wars.
    Not everyone is capable of that. You often meet people who are extremely insecure, irritable and thin-skinned, who take every disagreement as a personal insult and then turn debates into personal slugfests where they have to “win” at all costs and for everyone to see. Yawn.
    I think the art of debating issues in a mature way and voicing disagreements in a firm, but respectful manner has been lost a bit in our society. When you look at public debates today, they either turn ugly very quickly, with much finger-pointing and personal attacks. Or they are politically correct snoozefests where everyone is pussyfooting around and no one dares to voice a contrary opinion because, god forbid, it might offend someone.
    Neither is good for our debating culture. I think it’s important that disagreements and differing points of view are made clear, that they aren’t watered down, while at the same time voicing them in a respectful manner and in a non-accusatory way. That’s what I always try to do, anyway.
    I know that I don’t always succeed. I sometimes come across as gruff or arrogant to people who don’t know me, simply because I have well-defined opinions, I express them in a forthright manner and I don’t hesitate to tell someone when I think they are totally on the wrong track. But, you know, I think that is just good debating culture. I am happy if others treat me exactly like that. I am also always happy when I am shown that I was wrong about something, or when I am shown points which I had not considered. I can live with having been proven wrong about something. I don’t care that much about “winning” arguments. I care about exchanging views and learning something.
    Anyway, it was a nice, interesting discussion for me, and from what you write in your post, you feel like that as well. I am glad about that.


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