Which punishment (either real or imagined) sounds "light" or "not a big deal" at first, but is actually horrific to experience?

  1. As a kid, when I did something wrong I'd have to write a sentence 100-500 times as punishment. I remember having to sit in the car at a family reunion at probably 7 years old writing "I am a bad girl." 500 times because I'd taken a granola bar without asking. Writing I am a bad girl that many times, repeated for minor infractions and sentences like "I am a liar and no one likes liars." Or "I ruined the day for my family." Just sticks with you and becomes internalized. I'm 31 now, it's been a good 15 years since I've had to write these, but I still think them about myself.

  2. School made us do that as a punishment, copying pages and pages of quotes from the bible about bad people. Or lines of ‘I’m not worth educating’ ‘my actions and life will amount to nothing’ Yeah wonder why bunch’s of students are anti Christian and struggling with depression and a career 10-15years later. Got to the point I refused. Not wasting paper or my sanity, so alternative was To go pull thistles and prickles and goatheads (sharp pronged thorny things) out of the grounds barehanded. The crime? I’m allergic to the incense used in church and my coughing disrupts service every Friday and Sunday.

  3. How did you manage to pull that off? I would say I'm impressed how you managed to let that torture rain over you, but at the same time I don't want to commend it either.

  4. Now this is cruel. It baffles me how such a simple idea is so malicious. It kind of reminds me of a coffin. I believe china or maybe korea did something like this to bears. When they finally freed them, the bears walked around like people. It was so sad.

  5. Holy shit, that truly sounds horrible! And people have been kept in it for weeks at a stretch, according to Wikipedia.

  6. This one doesn't even sound "light" for me. Not only because of standing, but also because of this horribly limited space. Absolute nightmare

  7. Peeling salted sunflower seeds with your bare hands. Had the choice between that and getting my butt beaten with a cable when I screwed up big time when I was lke 6 years old. Chose the peeling and I regretted that immensely.

  8. Having to play with chicken. My grandpa always told me, when the neighbors kid would missbehave (100 years+ since then) his parents would lock him into the chicken habitat and put some liquid and/or meat on his feet. The chickens would peck at his feet and he would have to flee constantly until he was too tired to. Then he would be released.

  9. Since this form of torture doesn't cause any lasting damage (except nerve damage in intense cases) it's often used in the BDSM community as a form of consensual torture.

  10. My dad told me about a punishment that was given in schools when he was growing up (born in 1954) which was you had to go to the side of the aisle of desks and squat down (into like the Asian/Russian squat stance) and hold it for the rest of class. He said it never sounded bad but after a while your muscles and knees would lock up and at the end of class in order to get out of the position you had to fall onto your side or back to the floor to let your legs relax enough to allow you to move and use them. He told me when I was super young but its always stuck with me cause I was so surprised that something that seemingly small would cause so much pain and loss of control. You essentially got insane Charlie horses when you dropped out of the position.

  11. Read a story once that a Russian soldier was forced to squat for four hours/ a really long time as part of a hazing ritual, and afterward due to a loss of blood to his lower body they had to amputate his legs and genitals

  12. Goat licking. In medieval times you would get your feet strapped between two wooden boards and theyd be sprinkled in salt (or similar) so animals (mainly goats) would lick them.

  13. This was a punishment my dad enforced after bare bottom spankings stopped working (to get out of those I would laugh even though they hurt like hell because I knew he would get pissed and stop). I would have to stand against a wall with my hands in the air for hours and if they moved down the punishment would get longer.

  14. This is a very common punishment for children in Korea. Source: my mom is Korean and she used this as a punishment when I was a kid. We had to kneel on the floor with our hands straight up in the air, they ached so bad after even just 5 minutes, sometimes had to go up to 30 mins at a time.

  15. Lol, one of the punishments in boot camp was to hold a piece of paper directly out in front of you with both hands holding it. After a few minutes, everyone would get tired, and the drill instructors would just start berating us for not being able to hold up a fucking piece of paper. classic.

  16. "Getting away" with a crime by pleading insanity. Instead of a definite custodial sentence you get... an indefinite custodial sentence! In an underfunded and terrifying medical facility! Maybe for the rest of your life! Yay!

  17. Going to point out, while its not uncommon to see someone try to use the insanity defense in the media, it's incredibly rare (1% of defenses) and unlikely to be successful with a 25% success rate.

  18. There's this fascinating TED talk about a journalist who goes to talk to a guy in a mental health facility who'd used an insanity defense in his criminal trial. The guy claims to have been lying about being insane, thinking he could just pretend to be crazy for a bit and then have a miraculous recovery and get right out. Nope. Turns out it's a lot harder to convince people you're sane than it is to convince people you're crazy. The guy started trying to do things to convince people he was sane, so the psychiatrists diagnosed him as being a psychopath, because of course only a psychopath would go through all the trouble of trying to convince people they're sane. He started trying to do things to demonstrate he wasn't a psychopath, like showing remorse for his actions, which obviously just convinced the doctors he was a psychopath trying to manipulate people by faking emotions. Guy spent 14 years in a mental health facility when he could have gotten 5 in prison for the original crime. It's a great listen/read.

  19. Being ignored or ostracised. Might not sound like much, but as humans we need that social contact, and leave it too long and it becomes incredibly damaging.

  20. I remember even as a kid, I got so scared whenever my brother would flat out pretend not to hear me speak, or not acknowledge me whenever I was being an annoying little shit. That was alot more scary to me then anything else. As a person, you want to be remembered, to be at the very least acknowledged. Now imagine that being taken away from you.

  21. Solitary confinement in prisons is cruel and unusual torture and should be abolished. 100% of the time it makes the situation and mental health of the prisoner much worse

  22. This!! I was raised by heavy drug addicts and diagnosed with autism around 10, I wasn't taught "how to human" properly so I was always labeled the weird kid. The kid everyone avoided

  23. This is why being ghosted sucks so bad. Not only do you never get any kind of closure about what you did to make the other person act that way, but it kind of makes you paranoid when you don't hear back from other people that they've decided to ghost you to (even if they're just long in replying). It kind of eats away at your mental health.

  24. Tickling. No joke, the Nazis used this as a form of torture in some cases. It doesn't leave a mark, so it's also used in environments like mental facilities where patients may be restrained and staff go on a power trip. Extreme cases can result in incontinence, vomiting and a loss of consciousness due to the inability to breathe. It's also easier for the torturer to do it for a long time without it wearing away at their conscience because the victim is involuntarily laughing, so it's easy to pretend that it's not that bad.

  25. My sister and cousins did that to me when I was little, they thought it was a joke and wouldn't stop until I started violently vomiting

  26. The fact that we can even be tickled seems like such an evolutionary fail. To be SO easily debilitated in a way that completely fucks you up and you LAUGH ABOUT IT. It's like some sort of sick joke!!

  27. I've heard there's a form of torture where they put someone's feet in stocks, cover the feet in some kind of salt mix and let a goat lick it off.

  28. I had a family friend who used to force me down and tickle my feet when I was little, as an adult I have a phobia of my feet being touched. NO ONE is allowed to touch my feet, not even my fiancè.

  29. my dad used to tickle me for way too long. and he's strong, so not only he would hold me, the tickles would hurt because of so much pressure of his fingers. it was literally terrifying.

  30. Since you said imaginary, there was a punishment shown on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, that Black Mirror copied a couple times, and science fiction has used as a concept, likely before DS9. The concept is time dilation - the idea that time takes place at a different rate in the real world than it does in some other.

  31. There is a short horror manga story called The Long Dream by Junji Ito that has this concept. A man is admitted to a hospital because every night his dreams are longer. Slowly his dreams become long enough for him to experience an entire lifetime in a single night, only to wake up and barely remember what the reality is. Eventually the dreams become thousands of years long and, well, things become very very horrifying. I highly recommend it.

  32. Can't remember where I've read that story, I think it was on another, older, askreddit thread where the person telling it claimed it actually happened to him. He had an accident and fell into a coma. After that he found a wife, married her and had children with her. He had a wonderful life and a family he loved and lived happily for years. At some point he saw something weird* which made him realize that he's still in a coma and finally caused him to wake up. When he woke up only a few weeks or months had passed and his dream life and family were gone because they never really existed

  33. Can you imagine being told in the dream prison exactly what was happening. Being told you’d be there for 25 years and in the real world only an hour would pass. You’d realize that even if your crew made a diplomatic intervention that by the time they got anything accomplished the real world hour would be up.

  34. Worse is when one is placed physically into a place where time progresses faster. They physically age 10 years for every hour that passes in the real world, and come back to find everyone else looking just the same as they did when the sentence began.

  35. Glad this thing did not become so big on social medias that I'd run into it. My hands hurts from imagining

  36. These kids in elementary school did this thing to me at recess where they held me down and took a chunk of ice from the schoolyard and pressed it against my skin right between my eyes and above my nose for several minutes

  37. Oohhh yeah. I remember that. I was 14 or so at a Halloween party and the host’s parents had set out a bucket of salted ice water to keep drinks cold. Being dumb teens, we dares each other to stick our hands in it as long as possible... I think I didn’t even last a full minute. It was horribly painful

  38. This is a problem while working in acoustics, because they use such rooms. For a visit, we went to an hangar room with little holes to prevent echoes. We were more than twenty people making normal noise. For me it was like being in a calm mountain, but others were uneasy after a few minutes.

  39. Isolation. There's a reason solitary confinement is considered a form of torture. The human mind isn't designed to function in an environment devoid of stimulation or social interaction.

  40. It was cool going to alcatraz and doing the audio tour. You go into one of the solitary confinement cells, with the door closed behind you. It’s pitch black, and while you’re in there, you hear stories from inmates (dramatically read) about what it was like, and how some of them would focus their mind until they could see a tiny speck, and within that they could conjure an imaginary television screen, and see moving images. Helped them to stop going crazy.

  41. Standing at parade rest without being able to talk for 5 hours. In basic training, someone got caught stealing food from the DFAC no more than 20min after we had been yelled at for people doing that. As a punishment, we stood at parade rest from 5pm to 10pm without being able to talk and with at least one DS watching us at all times. I don't know how to describe it, but your brain can only come up with so much to do for 5 hrs while not moving.

  42. Less severe but this reminds me as my time as a host at a restaurant during slow shifts. My boss would lose his shit if he caught you doing anything other than looking at the door waiting for nobody to come in. I would pass the time by counting to a thousand in between glances at the clock

  43. This is the opposite of the white room, but I feel like could be just as bad. Flashing lights, loud noises, itchy clothes,.... absolutely hell. I would lose my mind.

  44. has anyone seen that Black Mirror "White Christmas" episode? Imagine being locked in a room with nothing. Like, really nothing. And all you have is endless boredom.

  45. I can't remember what country used it (Russia or japan I think) but one punishment was genuinely known as the white. You'd be given white clothes, locked in a cell with white walls with no windows and a completely white door. You'd get a light bulb on a white fixture but no light shade. Your bed and its linens would also be white and you would be fed exclusively on white rice in a white bowl with white cutlery and to drink you would get water in a white cup. After a day or two you'd begin to hallucinate because of the lack of visual stimulation.

  46. Vsauce did this for 3 days. He completely lost track of time and was quite distressed halfway through, interesting watch

  47. Wall sits (air chair) are very painful when done wrong. Lining your heel with your knee is the wrong way to wall sit but this was how I was forced to do it. Arms out in front like chair arms so you can't support yourself. 90 degree angles and no sliding.

  48. You’re sorta right. They were blindfolded and leaned back. You were also restrained and maybe had ear plugs or rags stuffed in your ears. They removed all senses.

  49. Solitary confinement. You’d think that isolating certain people can be good for society, but in the end it screws up your mind so bad lots of people come out worse than when they went in.

  50. It's weird seeing it used so casually in so many prison shows (and documentaries), like 'oh you caused some trouble that's a week in solitary for you!' But in a lot of countries solitary confinement is literally banned because of how inhumane it is.

  51. Didn’t Vsauce do something like this, I think there was this experiment they did where people are more likely to get the more intense electrical shock right then and there than to wait like 30 minutes and get the weaker shock. Because the idea of getting the shock was worse than actually shock.

  52. Kneeling in salt. When I was 16 my mother told me if I kept my attitude up I’d be kneeling in salt. Being a dumb kid I was like oh whatever it’s just salt.

  53. First of five. Similar experience. Relationships have been hard for me always, but I’ve also learned a lot and my mom is a lot better now.

  54. Jesus I'm proud of who your mother has become. No words for the pain I feel. My mom "can't remember" any of the trauma she inflicted on me and gets angry when I unbox things like threatening me with a knife or breaking my teeth with a spoon to force baked beans down my throat.

  55. When I was around 10 years old.. Being forced to stand in the corner of the living room with my parents and siblings in the room and stare at the wall for hours

  56. Heard of 'Jim Can't Swim' on YouTube? He does really interesting breakdowns of police interrogations. Has a few on high profile cases. They're all fascinating.

  57. At first I thought painting rocks means creating those beautiful mandala designs on pebbles or something. But this is literally painting rocks.

  58. All the junior enlisted and noncoms at HQ company of my old command had to do this too. I had to drop something off up there when I saw them all wandering around looking for rocks to paint while there Gunny and 1st Sgt looked on. If I remember correctly it was punishment for getting something crazy like 5 DUIs over one weekend.

  59. Drill sergeants come up with some off-the-wall punishment it seems, mostly with no oversight. Sounds like this one took it too far.

  60. When I was in AIT, we had people who screwed up who had to take a sharpie, write a serial number on each rock, then inventory all the rocks.

  61. That "Farm Pit" punishment they used to use in eastern europe. Where the criminal is made to stand in a pit on a hog farm for a day, which starts out empty, but then the hog manure pours in with them as the hogs produce it...

  62. Sounds similar to the Chicken Poop Prison in Thailand. You’d end up in severe respiratory distress due to the ammonia, people rarely survived a month and former inmates were left with chronic lung disease and PTSD.

  63. It's important to say just how little you got from working on the roads/walls too. The man in change of this sort of thing (I've forgotten his name) spoke telling people they could blood their knuckles on a rock and suck on the wound in place of food

  64. White room torture. Everything White, tasteless, no sound, room temperature kept at body temperature (if I remember correctly), just a bed, toilet, Water and food, nothing that could be used in any way to alleviate the boredom. It doesn't seem that big at first, just nothing to do for a while, but it's in truth some of THE worst torture one can experience

  65. There are a couple of Black Mirror episodes that rift on the theme of boredom as the ultimate punishment. The Christmas episode was horrific when you think about it.

  66. There was a Vsauce video on this a few years ago where Michael put himself in this exact scenario for a few days to investigate the effects of isolaiton on the human mind. Really opened my eyes up to just how delicate the human mind is when it comes to social connectivity with other human beings and just how much isolation can throw us off.

  67. My cousin, 10yo, quite agile never sits still. Once he troubled my aunt so much that she punished him. His punishment was to sit still on the bed and do nothing. No tv, no playing either on phone or with his toys, not even speaking, no one was allowed to come to his room so that he even can't watch others. He asked her to read his textbook as he thought studying would lessen her anger but she denied even studying! He had to sit completely still. Initially that punishment seemed quite simple to me but what impact it had on a small child was huge. This punishment tortures you by boring you which a small child can't take. At last he broke down crying after which he was pardoned.

  68. I had to go "sleep" as a punishment. So shutters down in the middle of day so it was extremely dark, I could only see my alarm clock and I had to lay still in my bed until the next morning, that meant for about 17-20 hours. For a child this feels like eternity.

  69. My dad used to make me sit on the couch and not let me read for hours (my only real hobby) whenever I did anything that vaguely annoyed him. It was fucking awful.

  70. That’s really interesting. I just watched a great movie called O.G. about a man who’s about to be released from prison after 25 years. I never gave sentence duration much thought and then it hit me during the film that ppl actually do spend DECADES in prison and then have to re-enter a completely different world. but u right, even just one year in societal isolation can really make it tough on ex-cons once they’re free. Like imagine someone who went to prison in February 2020 and just got out now...

  71. When visiting Africa, we learned that some places have their own form of "lethal injection" for criminals - by snakebite.

  72. My dad is the king of cruel and unusual punishments. He forced me and my brother to drink pint after pint of water without allowing us to use the toilet. Made me run up and down stairs when I was 9 for hours on end until I confessed to something I didnt do. Doesnt sound bad until you actually do it.

  73. No no, it sounds pretty bad, we don't have to try it. Behaviour like that as a punishment is actually pretty abusive. Preventing a child in any way from accessing a bathroom as a punishment is abusive, I definitely isn't normal.

  74. You can get a kidney or urinary tract infection from drinking a lot and not peeing. Your bladder could have burst. Some people have died from that.

  75. I’m stretching the definition of light here by a long way, but when I heard of death by 1000 cuts I thought I would be someone giving you a bunch of cuts until you bleed out. Painful, bit extreme, but the reality is so much worse. Turns out cuts is a bit of a mistranslation, and it should really be slices. The executioner slices big chunks off your body systematically, up to muscles and whole limbs, with the aim of keeping you alive as long as possible. There are a handful of pictures of the process being done which are just about the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen.

  76. I read about Vlad the Impaler, who impaled 1000s of people, most drawing has the person sitting on a spike (up the ass) and your weight slowly moved it until it showed up outside your body again

  77. Geez, that is horrible. It would be even with small cuts. Ever accidentally scratch yourself or something happens where you immediately cover the area with a hand because it really hurts, and you think, "That definitely is bleeding" - only to look at it and realize not only is it not bleeding, but the skin wasn't broken at all? Now imagine how badly it would actually hurt had the skin been broken enough to bleed... x1000. Just yikes.

  78. I read somewhere that there’s a spiritual side to this as well. I think it’s Confucianism, but id have to double. Basically, this punishment also effects your soul, making it so your soul can never find completion and so you can’t find peace or reach the after life. Something like that. So not only is it horrifically painful, but people believed it also ruined their after life. Edit: corrected Buddhism to Confucianism.

  79. Any punishment where, even if it doesn't physically harm the person, you make them do it for a long time, I was punished at a very young age (somewhere between 7-10) for not being "manly" so my stepfather, bastard of all time, decided to toughen me up. He sat me down on the sofa, and told me, under no circumstances was I allowed to leave the sofa, if I needed the toilet I was to tell him and he would let me go to the bathroom, but if I took longer than a few minutes, he would come in, to make sure I wasn't "Hiding" now that doesn't sound "so bad" sitting on the sofa? psh. That wasn't my punishment.

  80. When my grandmother was in Auscwitz the nazis used to make girls sing for them. Being forced to sing for the very same people people that threw your mother, father, sisters and brothers into the gas chambers is a horrific thing.

  81. It's kinda lost it sting from overexposure. But crucifixion is one of the most agonizingly deaths human kind has ever come up with.

  82. Dont forget that your instinct to offset the pain in your muscles is to stretch putting even more stress on the nailed bits.

  83. My friend once proposed a punishment for animal abusers, sort of as a joke: They'd be locked in a small cell for a few days, which is then pumped full of the heavy smell of dog breath.

  84. Whiteness. Literally being surrounded by nothing in a pure white room listening to white noise all day. It seems calm, peaceful after a while, right? Well no. After a while you lose sence of other colours, emotions, you forget who you are, and its very hard to recover. You never get used to it, its very hard to be in the real world afterwards after being stripped of all versions of reality for months on end. This is what they did in the middle east for a while.

  85. Seeing how many of you have responses like "Yeah I had to do that, it was horrible" in response to comments talking about literal torture methods... worries me

  86. ITT: OP asks for punishment that sounds "light". Commenters: Whipping, Bamboo hammered under your nails, waterboarding, literally having your body chopped up while you're still alive.

  87. So thanks to my abusive dad. When i got in trouble i would have to get down in a seating position without a wall and chair with my arms out for at least 1 HOUR. Now doesn't so bad until your legs start to hurt, soon your arms will start to get heavy. Sweat could get in your eyes and its just an aching writhing pain that just gets worse and worse. All the while you could not get up once to rest. Too high or too low, arms not straight out then i would get hit. Add to the fact that my dad was never satisfied with anything about, i was put in this position alot.

  88. Apparently, being volunteered to work at a zoo. It is bad enough for regular employees, and they know exactly how to make you wish you were sent to prison instead.

  89. I had to do this. I got out of jail and was only supposed to do 60 hours at the zoo but ended up liking it and I’ve been volunteering there for 3 years now.

  90. I remember that Mythbusters did an episode on that to see if it would work.... it does work. And is would be a slow but steady death too.

  91. Biting both index finger tips with enough force to be painfull but not draw blood, then hook those freshly bit finger tips and pulling hard against each other.

  92. Kneeling on uncooked rice. As a small boy this was a punishment I faced multiple times. Go ahead, try it. Bare knees. After the first few minutes let's see how long you can do it.

  93. In my home country, the penalty for rape and drug trafficking is whipping. With no limit, specific number to be set by the judge.

  94. Did this on the school bus when I was younger because the seats were so damn small and I had large legs so I just curled them up with them squeezed between me and the seat in front of me. By the time I pulled my legs out of that position they were entirely numb. It felt like walking with wooden legs. Idk why I did it I guess I thought it was just an interesting sensation or something. It wasnt really that painful and after several steps the feeling of having the bloodflow return was actually pleasant, There was also a 3 second period where I nearly passed out one time with my vision going completely dark. It was a stupid thing to do.

  95. I don't know if someone has mentioned it in here before but, silent treatment/stonewalling, especially coming from a loved one. Creates a terrible imbalance in the relationship and a serious psychological trauma on the stonewalled individual. No one should ever choose this method to punish the other.

  96. My parents did this when I brought home bad grades. They'd explode at first and yell a lot, then pretend I didn't exist for the next few days. They'd still feed me and drive me where I needed to go, but just the bare minimum for communication. I would always dread hearing the garage door open when my mom came home because I knew I would be greeted by her silence. My dad got over things quicker because he was the one who always had to drive me everywhere.

  97. Wonder how similar this is to "grey rocking"? That's a tactic used against narcissists who feed on your reactions/emotions and use them against you.

  98. There were bamboo cages built for POWs that were submerged in water. The water level was high enough that you couldn’t sit down and the cage was short enough where you couldn’t stand up. They were also small enough so you couldn’t allow your own buoyancy to help you float - but your body fat percentage after being starved for a few weeks probably wouldn’t allow that to happen anyway.

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