Tuesday, September 20, 2011

i wonder if i'm fooling myself

There's an underlying theme or current to my thinking lately.  Well - several really - but one feels important - the others are just annoying.

This past weekend, a seemingly small, seemingly very non-ttwd related thing made me realize part of what has had me somewhat bottled up lately.

We were at a sporting event, and a woman had her very brand new baby with her.  Baby was adorable and slept a good bit.  But baby also needed to be changed and nursed and tended to, all of which mom did without missing a beat.  This was not her first baby.

That's not the part that triggered any deep thoughts for me - I love my boys, but i am long past finished with the baby thing.

Her husband is what made me stop and think.

He told her exactly how and when and what to do: how to hold the baby, what angle to have her mouth to nurse, how long to feed her, what outfit to change her into, how to fix the diaper, when to burp her, on and on....  every detail.  And she did - whatever he said, she just stopped, changed gears and did what he said,  apologetically even.

My blood boiled, instantly; and i didn't know these people.  How dare he?  When did he last nurse a baby?  She wasn't having any difficulty, was managing easily on her own.  Why on earth would he be treating her like that?  Why did this not annoy the daylights out of her?  Why did she just go along?  

I had buckets of righteous indignation on her behalf.  And of course - nowhere at all to go with it.

I will never know what to make of this interaction: Was she walking on eggshells because there was something bigger going on in their lives?  Is that just how he is and it's easier to go along to get along?  Does she really lack confidence in this area and just puts on a good front when he's not around?  Does she appreciate the help?  Is this the type of relationship each of them really wants?  Does this type of direction and ultra- micro-management actually meet a larger need for her? For him? Is it intentional for them, or just a pattern worn into their relationship because it is the path of least resistance?  

After fighting back my indignation - i tried to turn it all around in my head.

Mostly I wondered about my visceral response to the whole thing.  I would never, could never...  tolerate it, put up with it, get myself to a place where i could respond reasonably or politely to being commanded that way, much less live like that.

And that's what hit me.  I really don't think i could.  I don't think i could submit to that. Even if it were in the context of my relationship and our agreement, i  found no part of it endearing, or even intriguing or enticing.  For me, there are things he pushes me on, things he wants to be a challenge for me, and this is a good thing for me.  But I couldn't even view this in that light.

So - what if he would want or need to for some reason start treating me this way?  What if he decided it was what i needed?  How would i respond, would i even be able to try to cope?  My gut says no.

So - am i really submissive?  Because my response in this case was incredibly non-submissive, in fact my feelings were anti-submissive.

I know that there are huge flaws in this kind of reasoning.  Taking hypotheticals to extremes doesn't really answer a question.

But it made me focus on the same feelings in my own context.  There are times that i have the same indignation, the same flare of anger and instinctive rebellion.  It's a different scale, and i'm learning to recognize it and at least suppress the expression of it - mostly.  In a non-D/s context - that makes our interactions smoother - waiting to respond rationally and even respectfully in spite of feeling anything but.

In a D/s context though, i wonder what makes me think i am submissive at all, if my first reaction to anything that pushes at my ego a bit is to push back.


  1. If being "submissive" means accepting being treated as if we were unintelligent and incompetent then likely very few of us would call ourselves submissive.

    I don't "push back" on everything like I used to, but it's still happens and I imagine it always will.

  2. ". . . am submissive at all, if my first reaction to anything that pushes at my ego a bit is to push back."

    But what you describe is not dominance and control and guidance, it is belittling domineering that treats her as if she is incapable. I am sure if she did not comply, there would be retribution.

    Control is about guidance not micro-management.

  3. Hi GG,

    Your post caused a lot to swirl in my head, but I'm going to focus on your question in my response, which as I read it was "Am I really submissive"?

    I think you're expecting a yes no answer from a response that has to be very nuanced. In other words it isn't a yes or no answer.

    If you enjoy obeying your husband even when you realize that occasionally you're going to be required to do things you would otherwise never do, then I'd say you're submissive to him. That doesn't mean you're guaranteed to be willing to so much as get me a glass of water. You're still submissive to him.

    Further, you and he having the relationship before the lifestyle sort of means you had a pre-existing contract. I doubt you two would have been at all successful as a couple in any way if you didn't mesh in expectations to start with, even if neither of you recognized that those expectations and TTWD coincided. And the expectations are important, because what are the odds your husband would care to give you advice on how to feed and change your babies? If you are refusing to be something he has no desire for you to be, how is that NOT submissive? Hell, I'd expect my Ladies to teach me that stuff, not the other way around. Them being the teachers doesn't make me submissive.

    Lastly, when you do feel that indignant response, I'm reading that you hold your tongue and address it at an appropriate time and in an appropriate way. That seems to show respect for your husbands authority, as opposed to showing a lack of respect by just telling him to go soak his head. Being submissive does not mean you aren't expected to have questions and concerns. If anyone tells you otherwise you'll know right away they are clueless. Wanting to understand why he wants whatever it is he wants has no bearing on if you are submissive or not. In fact, if at your core you want to understand that in order to refine your behavior to exactly what he hopes for, that seems to me to be MORE submissive.

    It's actually much more complicated than even this, but those are some of the basics. If you're willing or even eager that he take the lead, then you qualify as submissive. It's possible someone somewhere might think you're not a particularly good submissive, but since that person has no right to direct your actions and accepts no responsibility for your well being then it's irrelevant what they think. I would advise you to just enjoy your life and relationship with your husband as it grows and develops.

    One last thing though. Have you got any idea why your thoughts have taken this path? Do you feel in your own head somehow that you aren't submissive, or maybe just not submissive enough? What do you think sparked this train of thought?

  4. Hmm, I push back...But He still calls me His sub and says it keeps life interesting.

    I believe you are whatever you feel yourself to be. If that makes any sense...

    I think submission comes in many forms and wears many faces. Yours is your own uniquely because you are...you.

    I kept wanting to comment on this but hoped I could come up with something better to say lol. Something deep and insightful maybe, but I got nada. Sorry.

  5. Never, ever forget that some men are simply jerks and attempting to fit their behaviour into TTWD not only does not work but insults all of us Dom and sub that truly understand and practice it.

    As for what would you do in that situation if your husband started to behave that way...simply a theoretical exercise as he has proven though many years together that he does not want that. However if that exercise is fun for you...enjoy.

  6. I don't think submission means not having those knee-jerk reactions, I think it means being able to overcome them at those times when you need to.

    Of course, that could be just me, justifying the fact that I get pretty danged touchy about being pushed, too...

    Yet, here I still am! :-)

  7. Hello there, GG!

    I couldn't have said it any better than those who have commented before me! I only wish to express my solidarity with you (and with those subs like us), who sometimes question our submission.

    If we didn't question our submission from time to time, perhaps it wouldn't be quite so valuable when we chose to give it.

    Thank you for your lovely posts!

    Take care,
    Baby Girl :-)

  8. Serenity,
    I imagine i will as well. My husband never has and i'm sure won't treat me as incompetent. My doubt isn't about that at all. Maybe the doubt is because he doesn't treat me like that - so why must i push back?

    I did worry about what kind of things happen between them out of the public eye. Of course, you are right, control and guidance are different from this. The control and guidance i receive are good for me, and that is an important point.

    You're right - what i saw that day would not ever be my husband's style - he is smart enough and confident enough in himself to know what i can and should handle on my own, or may even be better suited to than he. As to your question - there is more to it all - i guess i know i am submissive, but am running into deeper questions about how that conflicts with other obligations/priorities/worries right now. Thank you.

  9. lil,
    Thanks - i know that his is the view that matters - and he is (in the big picture) happy with me. The pushing back i think must serve a purpose - for one of us anyhow - if only to keep us always thinking.

    Sir J,
    I did not at all mean to insult anyone, or any group of people. So i am sorry. You're right - I don't have to find a way to fit everyone's behavior into a good light - some people are just obnoxious. Perhaps i will skip this particular mental exercise afterall.

    It would seem that a lot of us do, this way must be more fun for them to watch - the struggle for self control vs. nothing ever gets a reaction at all. Right? This is what i will tell myself anyhow.

    Baby Girl,
    Welcome back. Good point, if it were so easy and so thoughtless, it would not have much value at all. Thank you.

  10. Yep, everyone's said what needs to be said. All I can add is thanks for sharing your speculation. There is real food for thought here.

    I think if we're serious about being submissive, it's essential that we have a relationship that fits with who we are. We get to define what submission means within that relationship.


  11. Excellent points from many. I'd just like to add that we should always remember that we all are ultimately responsible for ourselves. Yes, I am submissive to my husband, and as such, I have agreed to his control and authority over me. That could not have happened if he were not the kind of man I could trust wholeheartedly. Some people start out in this lifestyle alright, and then, just as happens in other areas of life, something goes awry -- BIG TIME. The HOH may not be thinking clearly -- or safely. What if he instructs his wife to stay in the corner of their bedroom all day while he is at work, but they have young children who need to be cared for and supervised? And how about the captors of Jaycee Duguard? The wife complied and helped her husband with everything he asked of her -- and a young girl's life was in the balance as a result.

    Just as people should never blindly do what a preacher tells them to do without first praying and seeking truth for themselves (I'm old enough to remember the Jim Jones/Kool-Aid tragedy in Waco, Texas.

    I believe what you observed was an extremely controlling and possessive husband ordering his wife around.

  12. Aisha,
    I do know that my husband is good for me and that out relationship is good for each of us. This man wouldn't have been.

    Absolutely. The decision to set up our relationship this way took time and a lot of work and a lot of talking. And i haven't checked my brain or good sense, or responsibility, at the door. Thank you.

  13. GG, I've been offline for a while so am way behind on this.
    Nothing to add here except that it is posts like that that draw me to your blog. I can't imagine not having a 'push back' response to that sort of micro-management. And, in truth, I *like* me that way and would not have it be different. Consequently, I wonder sometimes if I would just not be able to be submissive, perhaps it simply would not be a good fit.
    Your post and the responses from your insightful commentors tells me that submissive does not mean giving up a healthy sense of self.

  14. Bronte,
    Welcome back. And thank you. I'm getting the same message - yes. Of course my husband doesn't want me to be like her and he isn't like him.