I can’t go too many posts without writing about my thoughts on submission. What prompted this one was a discussion with my sisters (See Post 116 re my “coming out” to them).
By the way, I still refer to my lifestyle as Domestic Discipline, but I recognize it has evolved to be more aligned with a Dominant/submissive lifestyle. Once you name something, it is hard to change it. DD is in the name of my blog and I am sticking with it. Oh, back to my sisters…
My sisters continue to ask me a lot of questions and I often am the one soliciting their questions. I like to hear their thoughts and comments. I know they will be unfiltered as we have a way of being totally “brutally” honest with each other. I believe it is because we are all so secure in our sisterly love for each other that we know how to communicate tough issues very well. We can be critical without condescension, and at no time make each other feel bad. We share our feelings so that we are better understood and so that we can better understand each other. So everything we say always has the underpinning of love.
I’ve also shared before (Post 2. The Backstory) that growing up there was a strong sense of “woman empowerment” bestowed on us by our mother. Being a submissive wife was never in my future as far as my mom was concerned, or my sisters, or even me, until submission found me.
My sisters keep coming back to the same question, “Why?” It isn’t that they didn’t listen to my answers or that they didn’t believe my answers. They admit that my answers were touching, heart felt, moving, and well articulated. But still, it’s like, “Can you tell me ‘why’ again?”
The analogy I use is that it is as if they are learning a foreign language and haven’t retained the knowledge to understand it. And like learning a foreign language, they need repetition. So I repeat, and I repeat. I think it is slowly sinking in, but this time I realized I needed to change my approach.
Understand before being Understood.
I fell back on some of my counseling background and a simple communication axiom of “Seek to understand before being understood.” In our previous conversation I was providing my sisters with a lot of information, but it was about the things that were important to me, that motivated me, that justified to me why I made the decisions I made. I finally realized I needed to understand them first.
I asked them what they thought submission was and what they thought my reasons were. In those answered, I found the biases that society conditions us with and the loving concerns they had for me because of those preconceived notions. Thus, I finally understood our conversation needed to be about what D/s WASN’T more than it needed to be about what D/s WAS.
In their minds, submission is
Their actual list was longer, but I consolidated it into those three themes.
First of all, I agreed with them. Submission COULD be any or all of those things. Just like “Love” could spiral into any or all of those things. The potential for those things should not be dismissed or taken lightly, but the fact is, I believe healthy D/s relations are devoid of those things. Then we talked about each one.
In their minds it was degrading to allow myself to be under Mike’s authority. We then talked about authority in a household setting. They agreed that in their own relationships there were things that naturally evolved where they defer authority to their husbands, or their husbands to them. We talked about the process that got them to that point. That process was full of arguments and conflict and even some lingering resentments that years later could be called to the surface in a moment. In fact, there were several issues where “authority” was still in dispute and a source of anger or resentment. One of my sisters even said, “It still burns me today to think of….”
So I told her, “So, you feel disregarded by your husband about that issue, don’t you?” She agreed she did.
“And are there things that you have assumed responsibility for where he may feel disregarded by you? She agreed that this was very likely the case.
Then I said, let’s look up the definition of what it is when you disregard something that should be taken into account, such as someone’s feelings. We quickly got to words like contempt and, sure enough, degrade.
To me, the degrading isn’t about the person. She wasn’t degrading her husband, nor he degrading her. What was being degraded was their happiness and love. Sure they still loved each other. The issue didn’t rise to the level that it destroyed their love, but, it still made it less than it could be and provided less peace and fulfillment in their relationship. To this day, years later, there was lingering resentment. I told my sister I have absolutely no lingering resentments, nor does Mike. That’s the power of submission for us. It allows our love to be the greatest it can be, no pock marks or degradation anywhere.
One other aspect of “degrading” to them was the notion I was being treated like a child. Well, I never spanked my kids, nor did my sisters with their kids, so no connection there. But forget the spanking, yes, Mike is the disciplinarian, much like a parent would be. I can’t argue that. His role has some similarities to that of a parent but D/s goes way beyond a parents role in disciplining a child. Also, I not only fully consent to him being the disciplinarian, but I asked for him to be that. I’ve found I can better meet my commitments to myself and to him and have greater self control and happiness by submitting to his discipline and deferring to his will. I don’t find it degrading, I find it uplifting.
I shared with them that accepting his discipline was a journey within our journey. That is, initially I only accepted it on my terms, explicitly laid out in our contract. And there would have been nothing wrong with it if it stayed that way, but, I changed and my needs changed. I wanted more discipline and developed an unquestionable trust in Mike. To me that is when our dynamic became D/s versus DD. I am not just subject to his discipline, I am simply and completely “his.”
Since we already were looking at definitions, we then took a look at the definition of “unfair.” Basically there are two. One deals with the principals of justice, the other is in regards to lack of kindness, sensitivity, and thoughtfulness. It was interesting because one sister was hung up on the principals of justice part of it while the other was hung up on the kindness and thoughtfulness part of it.
Justice, in other words, equality. D/s isn’t about gender roles. There are D/s relationships where the man is the submissive and there are same-sex D/s relationships. D/s is not an indictment on women. It is about the two individuals and what works for them. Gender is something that obviously exists, but doesn’t dictate anything. Having said that, yes, I’ve observed most D/s relationships have a male Dom. That simply could be because society has preconditioned too many men such that they would never consider it or would never explore it. Society more easily accepts a submissive woman.
I also explained that for me, D/s is about choosing a leader in the relationship. Granting someone authority to lead you, whether it be a boss, a pastor, a teacher, a doctor, a friend, a spouse, etc., is not a value judgement on someone’s worth. Allowing yourself to be led is not unjust. And it is not unjust when I choose to acquiesce to Mike’s leadership, even on things I don’t agree with.
If you do not acquiesce at work, you can be fired. At church or school? You can be expelled. With your doctor? You can become ill or not get well. With friends, it is a give and take, and when you give authority to them, you aren’t “less than,” nor when they give you authority are they “less than.” With spouses, it can be similar to friends, but there is that risk of resentment over time if you feel pressured to acquiesce on things that are important for you to lead. So let’s agree that leading or following is not a value statement on the person leading or following. Following doesn’t equate to “less than.”
Then I asked them in situations where both they and their spouse wanted to lead, or neither wanted to, what happened? Did they feel joy, peace, and composure? No, they used words like “agitation” and “hostility” to describe how they and their partners feel in those situations.
I asked them if those feelings were really fair? Is it fair for them to feel hostile towards their loved one, or their loved one towards them? And again, let’s not look at fairness towards the individual, but fairness towards their love. They agreed, it was not fair to have their love diminished over such trivial things. I said I never feel agitation or hostility, nor does Mike towards me. So how is it that Mike and I are being unfair to each other or unfair to our love? How is it that a lifestyle that fosters true joy for us ever be considered unfair?
Other words used were “demoralizing” or “dehumanizing.” I took on the “dehumanizing” part first. What is dehumanizing about feeling joy, feeling fulfilled, feeling true bliss? Is the oneness I have with Mike (Post 30. I found my Thrill,) dehumanizing? Just the opposite. These feelings are the pinnacle of the emotions you want to feel as a human. How can that be dehumanizing?
As for “demoralizing?” I am more hopeful than ever regarding my marriage and my life. I am deeply humbled, but not over some defeat of who I am today, but over the defeat of who I used to be. I am humbled to where my pride does not blind me or control me. I am not a doormat. I simply gave up my ego. I am ego-less. I no longer belong to me. I belong to Mike. That excites me, motivates me, fulfills me. Demoralize me? No.
One last point I made with them was that my motives for being submissive are fully and totally personal. It is not because of any society expectations, religious beliefs, or, of course, any family expectations. I state this only to share my motives with you, not to question or belittle those who are motivated by those or other things. I believe that this is one reason I am so happy with this. It is absent any outside influence or pressure. It is of my own making.
As I shared in my first few posts, I was looking for something to provide a more fulfilling life for me, my husband, and family. I stumbled across DD and made an immediate connection with it, and it has worked for me. I was extremely fortunate to have a husband who supported it. Contrary to what people think, I know a lot of men would not have embraced being a Dom. Just like submission is not for everyone (man or woman), Domination is not for everyone.
After this discussion they seem to be getting it. I am sure there will be more talks before they fully reconcile it in their minds. Note that in no way am I trying to suggest they should do this or you should adopt this lifestyle. HOWEVER, I do encourage them, and you, to be more vulnerable to those you love. That doesn’t mean DD or D/s, unless you feel it should. And even then, it takes two, and a good Dom is serious about their duties to nourish, respect, and love, as much as a good sub is serious about committing to constant submission that is always there, even when the Dom doesn’t deserve it.
Just one last thought, also covered in Post 30 but worth repeating, is that achieving oneness with your partner is not about achieving sameness. As it says in my favorite line from my favorite song ever, “We are one, but not the same.” (U2’s “One”). I strongly encourage you to read Post 30. I found my Thrill, if you haven’t already.
Peace, joy, love, and fulfillment!