My response from Fetlife to a thread on this topic:
What do you do when your slave consents to punishment and control, then uses it against you by revealing details of your lifestyle to friends or family who say it is abuse and control??
I’d *start* by looking at your own actions and interactions to find out why *she* thought it was a problem.
Just because someone consents to “punishment and control” doesn’t necessarily mean they consent to *everything* that may be done. Or perhaps at some point, consent was withdrawn for something. If that activity or behavior were to be continued, it would definitely be abusive.
Isn’t the EXACT same thing happening here???
All of you are ‘judging’ something when ONLY hearing little bits and pieces of the whole situation.
And we are also hearing only one side of the story to boot. We do not know what *her* perspective is.
> What part of “people don’t always know what they want” isn’t clear to you?
Or sometimes they do very much know what they want, but their limits of being able to deal with it is exceeded by the dominant. Their resulting resistance to the same thing they just agreed to is then often seen as them not knowing what they want, or not being “submissive enough”, etc.
Many submissives have conflicting feelings about their submissiveness. Something can happen which can cause this conflict to pop to the surface. Sometimes it’s something in the relationship, sometimes it’s something external to it.
Sometimes it comes from something that was initially consented to being pushed too far for the submissive to be able to tolerate. Particularly if that issue is subsequently discussed and clarified, and new limits established, if the behavior in question continues, then it *is* abusive and nonconsensual.
I know for myself, that conflict only comes up when my limits are violated in some way, particularly repeatedly. When I tell someone that X is now a new hard limit, and then they repeat it not 5 minutes later, after saying that they fully understand my new limit, then you darn bet that my submission will be withdrawn. When I feel like I have to always be on my guard, then it’s not possible to really submit to someone.
It may *look* as if I have conflicts about submission, but it’s more that I simply *won’t* do it when my limits are exceeded, whether by doing something I’ve set as a hard limit, or doing something harder than I can take, particularly after I’ve made it clear that I cannot take that much.
Talking to you and having friends she can talk things out with to sort through her feelings are 180 degrees apart. Even in the best relationships, having a girl friend to talk to is often a true need, not a luxury.
If those people are vanilla and don’t understand the relationship dynamics, though, and are telling her she’d being abused based on vanilla notions of abuse, then it’s up to the sub to a) either make sure the difference is clarified with them or b) better yet, to seek someone else out to speak with who *does* understand wiitwd.
> Second, it’s the Dom’s job to make a sub feel safe talking openly.
I couldn’t agree more. And making it safe means he’s got to accept whatever she has to say calmly, and be willing to discuss the issues rationally – as well as to examine and take responsibility for anything he himself may have done to create or exacerbate the problem.
Any anger or upset coming from him (or poutiness, withdrawal, or indeed any other sort of negative reaction) when she raises an issue or concern will *not* make her feel safe in the slightest, nor will creating any kind of situation in which she suffers any other sort of repercussions as a result of her bringing the issue up.
It’s not enough to order it – *or* to just say it’s encouraged, whether on a set schedule or an as-needed basis. The rest of the dominant’s actions *in the entire relationship* must back up that he *means* that it’s safe for her to disclose issues and discuss them with her.
You have to be the kind of person she COULD talk to.. If she doesnt feel like she can broach that subject without a problem, no matter how many times you ask her if all is well in her world, she’s never going to say a word.
All the time people ask – why did so and so lie to me? That answer is simple – because they were afraid of your reaction.
Very well put. Too true, on all counts.
Sadly, many dominants *think* they are this kind of person, but are not – and are utterly unwilling to look at what they themselves may be doing that creates this very distrust, which only spirals into a bigger and bigger problem.
Now that said, *everyone* who is human will get upset at some point if an issue is raised that upsets *them* – and doms are certainly no exception. The difference is in how it’s then handled. If he will stay at the table and discuss the problem rationally and calmly, until it’s resolved, and also be willing to look at his own role and what he might have been able to do differently, that will go a *loooooong* ways towards helping the submissive feel safe to bring up issues to him – and indeed, to continue her submission at all.