I did the episode last night and kicked off Kinky Clause. One question however bothered me from the time I received it to now. It's one of those questions that just stick in someone's head and irritates the crap out of them until they've either vented it completely or gone mad fussing over it. I've said before I'm a little on the OCD side so once I get my teeth into something, it's nearly impossible for me to let it go. Call it a compulsion. Plus I really want to clear the air regarding abuse and a Dom/sub relationship.
So lets start with the quality of life and the differences between being in an abusive relationship and being in a Dom/sub relationship.
Abuse is the non-consensual violence perpetrated by one half of a couple against the other half of the couple. It is a form of control that can include physical violence, emotional violence, financial abuse, sexual abuse and verbal violence. The key word here is NON-CONSENSUAL. That means without negotiation and express permission to act in this fashion. The quality of life for the person being abused, is one of fear, neglect, terror and pain. The quality of life for the abuser is one filled with guilt, fear (of being exposed), uncontrollable anger and emotion, lack of control.
Now, lets take a peekiepoo at the dynamics of a Dom/sub relationship. From my research and discussions with those in the BDSM community I have gained a whole new understanding of what initially appeared to be abuse in the grossest form. Let's first look at the Dom. This Dominant partner has negotiated and expressed their need for control in what ever aspects of the relationship they desire control. They have an agreement with their partner that they can do ______ and control ______. Whatever this may be. The Dominant has a clear idea of what he or she needs from the relationship and expresses it in a non-threatening manner with the spirit of negotiation. A Dominant must be able to maintain a level self-control during their "play" time or other designated and agreed upon portion of their relationship. From my understanding a Dominant should, if not must, be aware of his or her partners physical, mental and emotional well-being and respect the boundaries that have been negotiated and agreed upon.
This is wholly different than that of an abuser who isn't required to adhere to a safe word, whose intention to generally to inflict as much damage on their unwilling partner as they can without concern for their partners physical, mental or emotional well-being.
The submissive in the Dom/sub relationship seeks out a partner who they negotiate and agree upon the parameters of their relationship. He/She submits, and certainly desires an able Dominant. They need on some primal level that outside control. They find in themselves some emotional and physical release in their submission.
Again this is wholly different from that of an abuse victim. A victim of abuse is often taken unawares that this could even happen to them. They haven't sought it out, they aren't necessarily interested in it and are certainly fearful of the what's next. For them they are fearful of staying as well as of escaping. They find themselves trapped against their will.
Now the question that brought on this particular rant was something to the tune of "I get angry easy, does that make me a Dominant?" As well as the snarky judgy pant lady who has been so vocal regarding this particular segment. So my answer for this was a categorical Hells to da NOOOO, the fact that you have anger issues has no bearing on whether or not you're a Dominant. It does however mean that you need to establish some control over yourself and your emotions.
Anyhow, these are just my thoughts on the differences between abuse and a Dom/sub relationship. Now in any relationship there can be issues, in every culture or community there are those asshats who just can't help themselves and take advantage of their position or power. No matter your vanilla or other sometimes people just don't know how to act right. So here are some red flags for any relationship.
1) Separation from family and friends. This tactic is used by abusers to ensure that their victims have little to no resources available to them for either escape or a support system.
2) Financial control. Financial control can take many forms, one being that the victim is forced to leave employment making them totally dependant on the abuser. The other can be financial manipulation, where the victims income is recklessly abused, hidden from or otherwise taken out of his or her control without their consent.
3) Limited Communications. Abusers often will take control of the ability to have outside communications. They will unplug or lock the phone lines, inspect your private cellular or take them away, limit internet access, limit outside interactions.
4) The prevalence of violence or threat of unwanted violence. I put in here UNWANTED violence, I have a hard time to express the variations of people's sexual and non sexual desires what may appear to be violence to one might be a complete turn on and sexual or other need for another. So unwanted is the key word here. For example, if I like and have expressed my desire to my husband to spank me for whatever reason, this is not unwanted. Though for another person the sheer idea of a spanking is considered by them unwanted violence. Threats fall into the same category as actual physical violence, for some hearing the words "If you do ____, I will spank you." is a complete turn on conversely it drips fear into the hearts of others.
5) Blame. If your partner consistently blames you for their bad or unwanted behavior this is a way for them to rid their own soul and is called transference. Now, in a Dom/sub relationship the lines here can be blurry. I learned of a type of submissive/nonsubmissive called a Brat. (Yes, my producer said I was one. LOL) In many ways, we learn from mistakes and the consequences that are the result. As a child we learned that if we do ____ we get ____ as a punishment or reward. I think its irresponsible to think that this learning process ceases to exist as we get to age of majority. Using blame in a traditional relationship is a form of manipulation because both parties are not privy to the aspects of the relationship. There has been no negotiation, no agreement and lastly no express role identification established.
Anyway you cut it, what gets me going is not necessarily what is required to get everyone else going, people are dynamic, relationships are unique and unless we are in it we really can't know the entirety of the story. All we can do is establish an atmosphere of honesty, communication and respect within our own relationships.
Establishing firstly what we want or need out of a relationship, communicating those wants and needs to our partners, and being honest in those communications with both ourselves and our partners. Finally we have to stop comparing one to another, the most fabulous thing in this life is the diversity of all it's participants.
So get honest with yourself, establish what YOU need and want, communicate that honestly with your lover, stay sexy and as always...