Kiss Curls and I have been chatting, which is nice, she's a smart lady and we tend to be on the same page. She's also recently finished a relationship with a poly couple, so we are currently sharing a lot of subject matter. I'm looking forward to meeting her for dinner next week where we can delve into things face to face, additionally a joint promise of ice-cream has been made.
We've talked a lot about break ups, especially in conjunction with submission. I've been reasonably careful not to create too many links between my submissive identity and the breakdown of the relationship. Firstly because I don't want future acts of submission (which there will be, hopefully!) to be put in the shadow of this, secondly because there was a petering off in our D/s connection which was symptomatic of the problems we were having as a couple - in other words, we were worried about the relationship and as a result the D/s lessened, not the other way around. The love, the relationship was primary, the D/s was something that we did within that context.
However, there is certainly a link between the origin of my submissive traits and the responses and feelings I'm having over the break up. I say "origin" because my submission is not about adopting a persona, it's about having the opportunity to express (sometimes in extreme ways) thoughts and beliefs I already have in a safe and controlled environment. This is coming a little close to sounding like "BDSM as therapy" - a pet hate of mine. I don't think it is - in the way that I don't think my thoughts or desires are damaging. Similarly expressing them through BDSM is not about getting rid of them in the same way that talk therapy works for some problems. Better to consider it as a way of enjoying myself, of doing things that I want to do, in ways that are normally socially unacceptable, dangerous or a bit weird. I'm a submissive, not a bottom - that means I enjoy not just the physical stimulation but the mental backdrop and context to it. A gag is constricting and pleasant to feel in the mouth - a gag to make you shut up because you are just a fucktoy is exciting. I'm an active participant mentally as well as physically, emotionally too if the situation is good enough.
So what does that mean in this case? It means that certain, innate personality tropes which can express themselves in submission also give me a particular outlook on relationship break ups that are similar to other submissives. This isn't about the loss a submissive feels when the dom leaves, which I'd argue is a different thing, it's about the things that make us submissive also giving us particular ways of coping, or not coping, with the end of any relationship. I imagine that there are vanilla people with similar outlooks and responses, who do not identify as submissive, but who would certainly fall into that category if they had the opportunity and inclination. Patterns of loss.
Our main thesis was around that curious thing - the submissive ego. And there is one, sometimes rather a large one, after all, how can you give up or submit if you don't have anything to let go of or offer up? The submissive ego, certainly for myself and Kiss Curls is about pride - pride in being pleasing, pride in making someone else happy, deriving pleasure and satisfaction from a job well done be it that instance of play or of sustaining a long, happy, kinky relationship. We were both very interested to find we both considered pride as key to how our submission operated, it made a lot of sense in terms of who we are as people - our work ethic, our belief in ourselves, our own intelligence and self-determining outlook. All good things, in the right place. But all things in which the onus is put on ourselves, to succeed and to make things work, regardless of the situation.
When it works positively, pride is the source of effort and willpower, the thing that keeps you going, that lets you get through the pain or the discomfort. It's also the thing that makes humiliation, pet-play and other ego puncturing activities so amazingly powerful and erotic. Pride is good. When things go wrong within the relationship, pride turns on itself, becoming guilt, self-criticism and perceived failure. If the submissive is the one who is working hard to make the other person happy and the relationship fails, then (according to pride) it must be the submissive at fault. Within this context, only the actions of the submissive are given any value, although it is a negative value, which is of course, illogical, irrational and just plain obviously wrong, however, knowing something and really feeling it are two completely different things, especially when you are hurt and casting around for answers.
This is where I attempt to add 2 plus 2 and potentially make 5 because I'm now going to try and link this together with my issues over acceptance. I know that it's important to accept what has happened in order to be able to more comfortable deal with it, a big part of that is swallowing my pride, which is a large mouthful, I'll freely admit. And I'm still working on it.
Abandoned to his fate in inescapable rope
3 months ago