When I'm Angry

It's the thing none of us wants to talk about, but it's always there, at least for progressively-minded couples.

If he is angry with something I've done, I am disciplined, and if the discipline is sufficient, I come to see the error of my ways and am able to apologize. All is peaceful and well. This is the best of DD, when it's working as it's meant to.

But if I am angry with something he's done... well, what then?

I believe passionately in the power of DD to save and strengthen a relationship. But every once in awhile, this issue of me expressing my anger comes up. And it scares me, because it seems like the Achilles heel of the DD power structure.

The common response to this dilemma is to say that a woman in a DD relationship can and should express disagreement respectfully. But I'm not talking about whether or not to buy a new toaster oven. I'm talking about a situation in which he has done or said something that I find genuinely hurtful or disrespectful to me, and I feel the need to express my hurt and anger to him and receive an apology in return.

Ideally, he'd realize his mistake and apologize of his own volition, but much as I'd like him to be, he's not perfect. Sometimes he genuinely doesn't see that what he's done is hurtful, even after I've tried to express it to him.

What then?

In the interest of preserving the overall benefits of our DD lifestyle, I can and have tried to let it go and accept that he's not going to apologize for his behavior. A sacrifice in service of the greater good. But the problem with sacrifice, of course, is that too much of it leads to resentment and hostility. I'm not really letting my anger and hurt go, I'm just repressing it. And sooner or later all those little hurts and slights that I've repressed in the name of love and harmony will explode into a problem that could destroy our entire relationship.

As far as I can tell, there is no mechanism within the rules of DD for handling this situation. The rules by which feminine anger is allowed to be expressed feel unequal and unfair to me.

Consider:

If he's angry with me, he gets to spank me. A clear, specific, and (I imagine) fairly emotionally satisfying experience for him. He can also scold or lecture me in a tone that clearly says, I am angry with you for what you have done. And by the rules of DD, my role is to listen quietly, accept my discipline, consider his position, and apologize. Which, by the way, let's be clear: I have NO problem doing if I've done something disrespectful or hurtful to him. I am grateful for the clean, fair and contained way that DD provides of alleviating guilt and hurt feelings.

But if I'm angry with him, I have no such acceptable outlet. A woman in a DD relationship agrees to be respectful at all times, regardless of her partner's behavior and her feelings about that behavior. If I raise my voice or evince what he calls a "bad attitude" or otherwise indicate in my tone that I'm unhappy, I risk being disciplined for disrespect. Yes, I can go in the backyard and pound on the wall or throw the recycling around or otherwise express my anger indirectly, but that's a world away from the privilege of being allowed to express my anger physically and verbally directly to him.

This part of DD feels grossly unfair and emotionally dangerous. The problem is that I'm not sure how to remedy it without compromising the DD relationship as a whole. And the benefits of DD overall are so great that I don't want to lose them because of a few instances in which I feel unable to express my feelings. But that said, it is an issue. And one that I fear will only get more serious as time goes by.

The good news in all this is that when DD is working for us, there are significantly fewer instances in which I get angry at my partner. Not because I'm cowed into accepting bad behavior, but because we both treat each other more lovingly and respectfully, and so the little hurts and slights don't 't occur nearly as often as they did before we started DD.

But nobody's perfect. No matter how much we love each other and how well DD works for us, there will always be times when something he does hurts or angers me. That's the nature of an emotionally intimate relationship. So the issue is there, brewing beneath the surface, waiting to erupt and tear us apart despite our best efforts to love each other.

I wish I had the answer to this problem. The truth is, I don't have a clue how to resolve it. But I put it out there because I think that I, like many feminist women in DD relationships, often turn a blind eye to this problem precisely because it seems unsolvable and is therefore too frightening to face directly.

31 comments:

  1. Wow. This is my first visit to your blog and hardly my last! Brava.

    And while I wish I had some interesting thought to offer on this dilemma, it's at least gratifying that I'm not the only woman in the world who has experienced it. Thank you for taking the time to articulate this more challenging aspect of DD relationships.

    Blessings,
    Raven

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  2. Thanks for your post, Raven. For those of you interested, Raven has a really intriguing new blog exploring submission and DD from a thoughtful and (it seems to me at least) well-informed Catholic perspective -- Skin Prayers -- you can find the link to it on the "Smart Women" links menu on the sidebar.

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  3. Thanks for an interesting post. It's something I've thought about in the past (from the viewpoint of a dom male who would like to be a good partner as well as a good dom), and have been obliquely considering again of late.

    I don't think I'm any closer to a solution than you are, unfortunately. It's possible to have an accepted way to step outside of the D/s dynamic, and then have your discussions there, but much harder (impossible?) to stay inside it while gifting the submissive partner with the right to really express their anger.

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  4. And of course, the problem is that (at least for my partner and myself) stepping outside the relationship is precisely what we are looking to avoid when emotions are hot -- because that's precisely the situation in which, for us, DD is the most beneficial because it keeps us from doing or saying things we'll regret later.

    Your comment also raises a new perspective for me:

    As the submissive in the relationship, I'm naturally focused on the unfairness of the DD dynamic in terms of me expressing my anger.

    But the flip side is also true -- DD doesn't allow as easy and safe a way for my partner to express his regret/remorse, either. I find it beautifully empowering to have a structured way in which to consider his position and apologize. I'm only just now considering what a loss it is for him not to have the same privilege.

    So I suppose this issue of a submissive's anger has thorny issues on both sides. At the very least, seeing that he suffers from this imbalance, too, may soften the sting a bit when the issue comes up in the future.

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  5. Vivian - thanks for writing this. I'm definitely going to become a regular reader of this blog, you write so articulately about issues close to my heart.

    I had a long conversation about this with my partners last week, after one relationship started suffering difficulties when my anger and stubbornness lead to rebelliousness. We've talked through a conflict management technique whereby each partner can only "invoke" our Dominant/submissive roles when we are no longer angry, or successfully controlling it. He does not have the right to discipline me when he's angry - I have to trust him to be calm, controlled, and reasonable. Likewise, if I think he's being unreasonable, I can enter an explicitly submissive mode and respectfully query him - ask him to consider whether he is thinking clearly enough to act as my Dominant at the moment.

    This prevents yelling matches getting emotionally awful because (for example) I feel like he is misusing his position of power. However, it doesn't solve the problem you articulate. We're handling conflict by moving anger outside the D/s space. But you're right that the D/s space should be the ideal place to manage it. Perhaps that's something which will become possible in the future, once the D/s space and the trust involved with it is more established and secure?

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  6. This is my first time to your blog and I have only read 2 blogs so far, but I am adding you to my favorites list. My husband and I have started erotic spanking again after 6 years of not spanking. In those 6 years, I tried to end our marriage a couple of times. Now that we are spanking, I am considering asking him if he would like to try a DD relationship. Our relationship has already become more loving and much happier since spanking is back in our lives. My fear is what you have brought up in this blog. I don't know if I can handle the injustice of him getting to hurt my feelings or make me angry and me getting punished for getting upset about that. Thanks for bring this subject up. I will keep reading to see if you or anyone else can find a solution.

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  7. I suspect some of what's going on here is the emotional cultural differences between men and women.

    I agree with my partner when he says we should both express even our hurt and anger in ways that are respectful and not damaging to the relationship. (as in, "don't say anything you'll regret later")

    But the problem for us is that his threshhold for expressing anger is much, much lower than mine, largely due to the more emotionally-reserved family he was brought up in.

    For example, he often accuses me of "yelling" when from my perspective, I'm not even raising my voice. Or he tells me I'm being "hysterical" when I'm in my mind just expressing my state of mind in what seem to me to be a reasonable, albeit female, way.

    On the other hand, there are times when I know I cross the line in expressing anger, and then in retrospect, I agree that his discipline is deserved.
    So we both agree on the need for respectful expression of anger; we just don't agree on what that respect constitutes. Perhaps, then, it's not so much a fatal flaw of DD as it is a need to spend time communicating more about our respective definitions of, well, respect. And as a progressive couple, in theory, we ought to be able to do this with reasonable success.

    -Viv

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  8. So why is it that you cannot discipline him if in fact he has engaged in behavior that makes that appropriate or useful to you both?

    I am Dominant in a fMF heterosexual polyamorous V intentional family that identifies its sensual/erotic orientation as bDDsm connoting the practice of domestic discipline within the overarching context of a BDSM lifestyle.

    While it is rare anymore for any of us to engage in behavior that requires sincere disciplinary intervention,if any two of us feel the third is in need of discipline he or she will in fact be disciplined, usually meaning some form of seriously severe spanking, regardless of their position status and innate control needs in our relationship.

    I've always found it paradoxical in the "DD Community" that the accepted wisdom is bottom partners are to be disciplined whenever warranted, and there are myriad benefits touted for the outcome of that experience....both for the bottom partner and the Top, but if Top's are "imperfect" in their lives, they are denied the benefits of loving discipline. I am not sure if that credo seems more inconcsistent, or one sided and exploitive...not exploitive of the submissive partner...but of the HOH or Top partner.

    If DD is in fact a loving nurturant, and/or exciting relationship dynamic, why should any partner in a relationship be denied its benefits?

    Tom

    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

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  9. Thanks for posting, Ratheretic, and for your interesting suggestion.

    The idea of having DD go both ways seems like a fair solution, but for me and I suspect for most women in DD relationships, the idea of disciplining my male parter would feel so archetypally wrong that it would virtually destroy the benefits of DD (and our relationship as well).

    I haven't had a chance to write a lot about male/female archetypes yet, but the short version is that even as a feminist, I do believe there's strong psychological, cultural and myth-based evidence that natural feminine energy is receptive and male energy is proactive. Note that receptive doesn't mean weak, inferior or helpless -- the tree that bends in the storm rather than remaining inflexible survives the wind.

    While of course, we ALL have a combination of both male and female energies inside us, for me, what satisfies about a relationship with a man is embracing within the relationship what often cannot be embraced in the outside world without a high cost -- in the privacy of our home, we're both free to claim our respective authentic energies, which is why DD is such a great way to live a relationship.

    It was both of us trying to claim the procative, dominant role in the relationship that almost tore us apart in the first place! In particular, my refusal to see that feminine energy was fundamentally different, more receptive, less proactive. When I back off from that and relax into a more receptive place, the natural love and trust between us flows, well, naturally!

    In short, while I know there are a small number of couples of benefit from mutual discipline, disciplining my male partner is not an option for us, and I believe, ultimately not for the majority of women, as it violates what we're looking for in the relationship in the first place! -Viv

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    Replies
    1. A-Non (Jenn)13:45

      I agree with your assessment of receptive and proactive natures of women and men. Women have considerable power in a relationship. Men have tried to convince us otherwise, especially by taking our rights as the government. We need to have equal legal rights, but different private goals and ways of being.

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  10. Mary19:28

    Funny thing - We must have got lucky and slipped into something quite by luck. If it is a deeply emotional issue and truly deserves his time and respect - I e-mail. This helps me to truly express what it is that I feel hurt about. The subject line usually says something like, "warning - emotionally laden" or "I am very hurt" or "please read so we can talk" This has worked wonderfully for us. BY knowing what is coming and having the option to read it when he is in the right frame of mind, he takes his time to consider my feelings and oh so very often says the magic words I need to feel better. Usually something along the lines of, "I am sorry, I didn't consider it from your point of view." He deserves his in charge status because he is so truly caring, consistant and truly tries to be understanding. Then there are those time when all those "little girl" hurts and insecurities rear their head and it really feels quite silly to express my feelings out loud or in a serious e-mail - but I do feel ever so pouty and upset - and the grown up me knows I am being unreasonably upset - but that other part of me really IS upset. On those occations I simply say, "I feel real pouty about something silly." He knows then that I am reacting to some button he has inavertantly pushed -and knows that I am trying not to overreact - but really need to be heard in order to let it go. Then he actually just says "Okay?" and lets me vent - poutiness and all. The only time I get spanked then is if I need a light one to open up - or I am just aching for a reason to stomp my feet and let my frustrations show - but this is a sweet spanking - never more than I want or need at the time- always caring and lovingly given - always looking for the moment when I spill my heart out and finaly feel better.
    Lastly there is the "clarification method" where I am mad in the moment and really feel justified in laying into him - but really do not want to ruin the night or sit on a bruised bottom. Then I ask, "Can I clarify something with you - becuase the way I just heard that - or such and such action today really upset me - I felt you didn't care about my feelings about..." This works because, first I am clarifying and not accusing and second usually he either was busy and didnt mean to be insensitive and will say so - or he forgot sbout an issue important to me and appolizes or he says, "you are not considering" - and then he tells me his side- which then clarifies that it really isn't an issure worth getting upset over. I am lucky, I can always feel safe being me and expressing my feelings - even pouty ones. He will hear me out quite readily as long as it doesn't start with a temper tantrum or accuasation. When it does - he will hear me out - but my bottom is sure to get his perspective too!
    Hope any one of these may work for you. I visited for the first time today - saw the plug on Bonnie's site. I really like your blog. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Lauren07:41

    Your blog is like a breath of fresh air! Thank you!

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  12. I have struggleswitht is issue inmany a DD relationship and it has endedup causingdamage that cannot beun-done. My DDparnterand I have entered into anagreement that is similar to the Spencer Spanking Plan inwhich I do have the opportunity to paddle him for offenses that are angering to me within a prescribed fashion. It has made a world of difference and I can honestly say that I am now in a DD relationship that truly works for both of us. Of course, I know this does not mean it would work for everyone. It has somehow allowed me to work through by feelings that would at
    times boil over at not being able to express my own anger and disappointment in him.

    Thank you s o much for this blog! It is truly a beautiful thing.

    Veronica Daniels

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  13. I have struggled with this issue in many a DD relationship and it has ended up causing damage that cannot be un-done. My DD partner and I have entered into an agreement that is similar to the Spencer Spanking Plan in which I do have the opportunity to paddle him for offenses that are angering to me within a prescribed fashion. It has made a world of difference and I can honestly say that I am now in a DD relationship that truly works for both of us. Of course, I know this does not mean it would work for everyone. It has somehow allowed me to work through by feelings that would at
    times boil over at not being able to express my own anger and disappointment in him.

    Thank you s o much for this blog! It is truly a beautiful thing.

    Veronica Daniels

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  14. The comment below is posted for Ollie, who for reasons known only to Google and Blogger, doesn't seem to be able to post it from his account. -Viv


    Thanks for the opportunity to discuss this issue. I must say up front that I have no first-hand experience of DD, I am just commenting as an interested outsider.

    A major difficulty which we all face is that we find it difficult to admit that we are in the wrong, and to apologise. Elton John had it exactly right in his song “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”. It is hard, humbling, and we don’t want to do it.

    Do men find it harder than women ? I don’t know, perhaps so as a result of our more proactive nature as you call it. Many men feel the need to maintain a strong image, not to lose face,and to apologise appears to counteract this. Certainly anecdotally one often hears that men are the more stubborn sex, but I suspect this may be no more than misanthropy (in its specific sense) and a generalisation. We are all on the stubborness spectrum somewhere.

    When you then put a man in in a situation where he has the casting vote in any dispute, and when he is free to interpret the actions of his partner however he chooses AND HE IS RIGHT by definition because that is the rules, there is a clear danger. He can define who is in the wrong in any and all situations.

    We are all weak imperfect souls. DD is supposed to give a structure for improving the behaviour, and yet it is founded on the premise that one partner doesn’t need improving, or that its tools can only ever be used in one direction. This is, as you say unfair in two ways, firstly the obvious one, and secondly that the man in this situation has no opportunity to reap the benefits which may accrue from formal resolution of errors made. All he is left with is being able to say “Sorry” to the one whom he is free to punish at his sole discretion were the roles reversed.

    Both partners in a non-DD relationship have only apology at their disposal, but without the added element of one-directional punishment, and that is crucial.

    Where respect is formally offered only one way, and the interpretation of that respect is in the hands of the recipient, where is the spur for reciprocity? Any man entrusted to administer this half of the DD equation may find in time that he actually BELIEVES himself to be always in the right, and that she is weak and needing correction all the time. The temptation must be great to take on a mantle as disciplinarian, regardless of what may be going on inside him, and this makes it much harder to admit fault.

    I read of a couple using DD where the husband did something very wrong, which compromised the whole family. He knew he was in the wrong, was sorry when it was uncovered, but it was the wife who he then later punished for not being able to respect him because of his actions. Good system eh? At least for one of them.

    It may be that I have misunderstood the premises of DD, as all I know is from what I read on blogs, and as you say, no-one wants to talk about this, so thanks for the forum.

    Thanks by the way, for directing me towards Skin Prayers.

    Best wishes

    Ollie

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  15. Anonymous21:18

    Because I tend to be more emotional than my husband, my problem before our discipline relationship was that I had a harder time waiting until we were alone to express my anger. He said he only considered it disrespectful if I exploded in front of others, or continued to bring it up every time we had a disagreement. I used to lose my temper because he "went into his cave" and I felt totally dismissed as unimportant. Now that he has to think about it and has a means to express his feelings, I don't have a tendancy to jump to conclusions so quickly. Also, if I'm forgiven as soon as I'm spanked, I have to offer him the same means to forgiveness.

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  16. Anonymous18:16

    Vivian,

    You have every right to be angry or upset in ANY relationship.

    DD, as I understand it and we have structured it, does not give me the right to shut her feelings down. She has every right to be angry and upset when (not if) I screw up (which any human is bound to encounter in a relationship.)

    Yes, when she screws up she gets spanked. My responsibility to her is to carry this out.

    When I screw up, my responsibility to her is to listen to her - really listen with both ear and heart - and hear her complaint. I must strongly judge myself against her complaint, and because I have the dominant position in our relationship, I MUST lean toward her side of the complaint. It doesn't mean that she's always right, but, in most cases, she is. I feel that I must then acknowledge that I have erred and apologize, and be conscious to avoid this error in the future.

    If I don't take the leadership role in this way, how am I to truly be the head of our relationship. It is my job to protect it, protect her and keep the environment safe for her to express her feelings.

    I hope that this gives you some help.

    Sam

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  17. Thanks for your eloquent post, Sam, and welcome to the blog!

    I was particularly struck by your suggestion that, as the dominant in the relationship, it's your responsibility to err on the side of your partner's grievance when she feels she's been wronged.

    Though I suspect in practice this isn't as simple as it sounds (is anything?), it's yet another step towards finding a contemporary variation of this most uncontemporary subject!

    Thanks for posting and I look forward to reading more of your comments.

    -Viv

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  18. The "deal" I have with my husband is that I can yell at him (in private) when I'm angry - with the understanding that I'm going to get a spanking in proportion to the yelling.

    He absorbs it. He lets me yell and listens to me - until and unless I get out of control.

    He responds in whatever way he feels is best. Sometimes that means stopping me and spanking me.

    Sometimes he lets me yell myself out - and then spanks me.

    Sometimes he apologizes - and then spanks me.

    Occasionally I get by without a spanking, but usually not.

    When I yell, I need to know that I'm probably going to get spanked for it. That gives me the freedom to let go and not have to hold back.

    If he was wrong and spanks me anyway - even if he apologies and *then* spanks me, it's comforting to me.

    Yes, there's a paradox at work here. I'm being unfairly punished and I'm comforted by it.

    It isn't about fairness. I don't need fairness, I need emotional balance.

    The spanking balances the yelling and the anger. That gives me comfort.

    And sometimes he doesn't admit he's wrong right away, but later on says something that indirectly acknowledges that I was right. That's fine for me.

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  19. Julie19:35

    Hi, Vivian! I think all can and must be at least trying to solve talking with respect, trust, and love. The fact that he is your HoH don't mean he can hurt your feelings. Otherwise, the love can die from "disnutricion"... If he loves you really, he'll be flexible and do all that is possible to understand your view point, and you need to demande it. You aren't a slave, you are a love servant, a submissive woman, nothing else.
    God bless you.
    Julie.

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  20. Anonymous07:19

    Vivian, I love your site and your description of the facts on the ground in a DD relationship is marvelous and honest, even if I strongly disagree with your conclusions.

    I think that part of your frustration, and problems with the "DD" scheme as presently conceived, might come from your characterizing so many of your submissive traits as "female" traits. (A more recent example: what you said about your Dom thinking you were yelling when you were in fact simply speaking... that's a very common occurrence both ways).

    Glad to see that someone already mentioned the Spencer Plan, but then I'm a Switch married 16 years to another Switch. Spencer might not feel right for a true sub/dom partnership.Glad to see that someone already mentioned the Spencer Plan, but then I'm a Switch married 16 years to another Switch. Spencer might not feel right for a true sub/dom partnership.

    Mal

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  21. I recently met a man who is interested in DD and has been trying to teach me about it and show me why it is a good way to manage a relationship. I'm not completely convinced yet, and one of the big reasons I'm not convinced is exactly because of this issue you described. So I sent him your blog entry, told him about my concerns and asked for his opinion. His e-mail response to me was as follows:



    That is an excellent description of the issue

    The best way I know to handle it is SERIOUSLY

    --Go into High Protocol … Ask permission to speak …
    --Kneel, take lil' Master {his penis} out … lick him … suck him
    --Then tell me what I did and how it made you feel.

    I can't guarantee anything,but I'm pretty sure that:

    --you will have my full attention
    --that I will not get pissed off at you
    --that I will not think you are out-of-line
    --& I won't think you're being disrespectful

    There's a good chance I won't do it again.


    So seriously.....what do you think? I would love to let him know what someone else thinks of his idea. I told him that if I was all that angry, I wouldn't be able to do those things. If I was able to do those things, I wouldn't be very angry and I wouldn't NEED his apology all that much.

    His follow-up response to THAT was:

    "Keep in mind that D/s is all about Control, DD is about Self Control.
    I think you can learn Self Control..."

    As a woman who has a lot more experience in a DD relationship, what is your take on his comments?

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  22. Dear Kathy,

    I'm sorry for the delay in responding to your email -- real life, as it often does, interfered!

    I'm going to publish your letter and my reply as a separate blog posting, as my reply seems to be too long for the comments.

    Warmest,
    Viv

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  23. Anonymous16:17

    What a great article and I want to comment cuz I think my husband and I handle this issue well. (Should say that he has taught me to handle it well) I agree with the lady about emailing as that can be helpful. Sometimes I have not done it right like I emailed him six times in one day and after the sixth time he said I was interrupting him too much and being a baby adn not using good judgement. So he spanked me when he got home and took away my email privileges for a week and had me write an essay on how I should have handled it (which was to let it go since he more or less said he would agree with me on the first email).

    Not being disrespectful but I don't think the sucking idea will work because like the lady says if u r upset it will be hard to do that. Also ur husband can think that u r trying to manipulate him by sucking his penis to get ur way. I tried that one time when we were first married....asked if I could suck his penis and he said yes, baby....very happy that I had asked.....then after a few minutes I took him out of my mouth and said "I wanted to ask you about something". He EXPLODED because he thought I was trying to manipulate him and told me to never disrespect his penis that way again.....immediately began spanking me and when I tried to argue and explain it just got worse and I was punished pretty hard. The next day I wrote him an email and explained what I was trying to do. He said okay let's come up with another plan: Instead of me asking to suck him because I want to lead up to saying I'm mad about something, he told me I can at any time ask to speak to him about something that has made me upset, and after he says yes, I am to remove my clothes, kneel with my hands on my head, and then say what's on my mind. It really works....even though I may be crying, it's impossible to be disrespectful when I'm nude and kneeling, so it works out fine. We even have had some really nice moments folliwing that....he will have me stand up and hug me after we've resolved the problem, and since I'm nude that will often lead to making love, and often he will have me go back down on my knees to suck him to sort of show that everything is okay.And to thank him for listening to me.

    And also.....you'd be surprised at how something that used 2 seem like a HUGE deal suddenly doesn't seem that way when you know you have to kneel before him nude to talk about it.....it has a way of making me say "never mind" sometimes, and moving on. lol!

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  24. Anonymous22:39

    Hello, Vivian.

    I've had a lot of conversation and thought about DD and D/s lately, which led me back to you blog, and then to feeling compelled to respond to this old post.

    I'd like to chime in as a male Dom who agrees there needs to be balance in every relationship, including ones with accepted D/s roles. There has to be some avenue for a sub to express when they're hurt or angry. It is also so very necessary for a Dom to understand that just because they hold the metaphorical stick, it doesn't mean they are infallible or above reproach.

    If my submissive partner is upset with me, that's enough to give me pause. Why is secondary.

    I don't think you expressed it explicitly, but your tone led me to think the real lingering hurt is having your feelings simply dismissed.

    "You're mad at me? Okay. You know I love you, and I don't like to upset you. Tell me about it."

    She knows I hold her to the standard I hold for myself, when it comes to anger. When she's done something that upsets me, and I am understandably angry, she knows she has a date with the corner. Meanwhile, I pace, fume, and calm down. Only when I feel in control of my emotions do I spank her. When she's upset, I expect her to let the heat of the moment pass, and think it over. She's told me that sometimes, during that cooling period, she realizes she's taken it too seriously. Then she'll approach, tell me what I did that bothered her, and then the ball is in my court.

    If she expects it's going to be a serious discussion, she does come and kneel. Her idea, actually. She says it's to show she still loves and respects me as her partner and Dom. Even while there is a disagreement between us, that hasn't changed. That's another form of balance between us, as she's often reminded that her discipline is always meted out with love and forgiveness.

    If I accept the matter as my fault, I apologize, and that's the end. If it's a larger slight, I try to treat her to something special.

    If I disagree with her, I still acknowledge that it upset her. I tell her I didn't mean to hurt her feelings, but I stand by what I said. She's allowed to press the discussion to a point, but I do have the power to declare the matter closed.

    Like you said, Vivian, that final veto power of the Dom lacks any equivalent tool for the sub. Ultimately, that is D/s, isn't it? That sturdy keystone that keeps the whole thing together gives your Dom the confidence to do what he feels is best for you. It also gives you that solid place where your doubts are quieted, and you can feel safe to surrender.

    I have always appreciated what you've written, with regards to our evolutionary history, and innate attraction to Top and bottom. I know it gives you the context to understand that we men instinctively hate to show weakness, and that includes being wrong. We may sacrifice acknowledging our partners' feelings in the interest of preserving that strong air of certainty. I think an honest D/s relationship can magnify that reaction. You, our submissives, freely give us enormous power, and place a deep trust in us. If we put a foot wrong in living up to that trust, it's very hard to admit.

    If I had a short word of advice to your partner, it would be to tend to your feelings first. Leave assigning fault for later. He should really ask himself if he's dismissing your complaint as 'hysterical' to save face. Finally, any Dom worth his salt must be able to admit they are flawed, and make mistakes.

    You have every right to your feelings, Vivian, and you shouldn't leave the negative ones in the dark to spread their tendrils into your relationship. I really hope that you two have worked out a way to address them.

    Always a pleasure to visit, Vivian,
    John

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  25. It is a pleasure to read your blog and the thoughtful, thought provoking comments. Sometimes my head is nodding in agreement and sometimes I'm frowning. In the end all any of us can do is share what works for us.

    I worked professionally for years with people in intensely emotional situations, often in groups. I sought to help people express feelings honestly, not abusively or disrespectfully and to hear emotions, expressed with raw passion -without offense. Emotions may be painful-but they are real, and for me, the stuff of life.

    In ttwd I ask Him to hear my feelings, thoughts, expressed with honest, real intensity and to not be threatened or overwhelmed by the tide.

    This may not be easy, but it is do-able, as a group of newly recovering adolescent addicts liked to say. (One would say: "No way, Dude! That's too hard!" And another would challenge: "I know it's hard. Is it do-able?")

    HE has to distinguish disrespect from passion, pain, rage-but there is a difference. I expect HIM to know me, to fight through to understand-to see my view-not necessarily agree. Sometimes, I do lose my temper and behave immaturely, disrespectfully-which I don't think any human deserves -whether an HoH or a stranger on the street (unless otherwise demonstrated-I'm not Gandhi or Jesus, I can only turn the other cheek so many times)

    When I wrong HIM in some way-dishonesty, disrespect, dangerous behavior-a particular weakness of mine, distancing, I pay a price, I apologize, we move on in our dance.
    In our dd relationship, HIS position requires him when HE is wrong to recognize it. HE apologizes, HE atones, provides restitution in some way-flowers, a special meal, doing something I like-I don't enforce this on HIM. I don't demand it. HE expects it of HIMself-much as I did as a Boss, or do as a parent. HE does not see it as diminishing HIS dominion anymore than I do-when I make a mistake and apologize to people I have authority over. I have long felt the words 'I'm sorry. I was wrong." to be freeing. And full of strength and power.
    Is it really that difficult?
    Yes, I answer myself. It is difficult. I worked very hard to get here, as I came from a family that regularly conducted verbal massacres as an everyday event. It is, as those teens said, do-able.

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  26. Anonymous13:13

    It looks as if this is an ongoing thread, so I'll add our solution to the mix. We've had trouble with the 'what to do when I'm angry problem' as well. He is good at apologizing if he thinks he's at fault, but what about when we disagree who's at fault? Our solution was to divide the form of the fight from its content. I am to be respectful to him at all times, even if I'm angry about something. As long as I am respectful, we can have a discussion for as long as it takes -- or when he decides he's heard enough, he might order me to be silent on the subject. If I am ever rude -- regardless of who's right -- I am punished. In those cases he often waits until I've cooled down before he spanks me. Before then I may not be able accept corporal punishment. Most often he tells me to watch my tone and I am sent to a time out. It seems I am able to obey that punishment most of the time. Then when I've cooled down, he reminds me that I was disrespectful, and he spanks me. After my spanking and after I have apologized for my rudeness, I am allowed to respectfully air my grievances.

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  27. This seems like really sound advice! Thank you for sharing it.

    Warmest,
    Viv

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  28. Anonymous09:57

    So glad to be of service! I am greatly appreciative of your blog. Where I live, feminists like us are hard to find. Thank you for keeping it up all these years.

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  29. Anonymous17:30

    Hello Viv...I enjoy your work very much.


    It's conundrums like this that makes me grateful that I have a great spanking relationship with my wife that includes switching, and no, not the 'Jethro, cut me a switch' kind of switching.

    I am the spankee 3 or 4 times as often, and deservedly so. But circumstances do arise when she earns a spanking too. It is cathartic, it clears the air, and we both have a wonderful sense of closure in the knowledge that resentments won't fester and that the matter is closed with no grudges. (The fact that a spanking is often followed by passionate and energetic lovemaking is a major-league perk.)

    Anyway, thanks. I'm looking forward to ordering your bundle soon.

    Mike

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  30. Communication is of tantamount importance in any intimate relationship; a power exchange relationship is no different. A good dominant wants their sub to be absolutely transparent to them. Thus the dominant will always encourage the sub to confess and express all their feelings honestly (and always respectfully).

    I am in an FLR with my wife. Acting and talking respectfully is a fundamental rule. However, she wants me to let he know my feelings. So, we each encourage the other to express what is on one's. If I want to express the fact that I am angry at her over something, I amy first ask permission to speak freely, and then I may, respectfully, relate to her my thoughts. She will listen thoughtfully and let me speak my peace. If I start to get disrespectful, I may be told to stop, of I may even be punished later for that. However, I am allowed to communicate my feelings and she will listen. Being a dom does not mean insulating yourself from reality.

    I am a "switch" I guess, and I led a life as a very popular and well-respected dom when I was younger. My naturally dominant wife/Mistress turned the tables on me early on before we got married and now I serve and obey her. Part of her domination includes choosing to expect me to be transparent and respectfully convey my innermost feelings even if they do not agree with something she is doing or has done. She may not change her mind,but she will allow me to say what's on mine; in doing so she actually increases her power and ends up having a more well-adjusted and more deeply devoted sub.

    Summary: There is no contradiction between being submissive and expressing your innermost feelings to your dominant-if your dom allows you to that is. If the dom does not allow you to express your feelings then, in my former power dom opinion, that dom is either very inexperienced or is an absolute moron and and insecure egotistical idiot that is not worth serving. Don't get me wrong, a sub may be hesitant to express their feelings to an accepting dominant; that is fairly typical; however, a good and capable dominant will wnt to peel back all of their sub's layer and have them expose their soul. Can't do this if you do not allow them to tell you when and why they are pissed off at ya, now can ya?

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