Incompatibility vs Uncaring/Abusive?

Dominants, how would you handle a sub/slave who acts this way or in a way you don’t like when you play with him/her but is someone you want to keep on your chain?

@redcheeks, I’d start by making sure I fully understood what was driving it, both in himself and my own self.  A savvy dominant will start to assess behavior he doesn’t like by first looking inside himself to see what he himself may be doing to cause it.

Then you go from there.

I’m not sure why I get so angry at him.

Anger at someone who is not respecting your needs and desires like this is perfectly normal, especially when it happens repeatedly.

Why do you have to figure out who’s at fault? How about just figuring out what’s wrong at the core? Blaming people isn’t productive. It’s actually very damaging.

@_Aine_, if you don’t identify what part of the problem is in your own hands vs what is not, then it’s much harder to address issues effectively – or to do anything about whatever your own role may be.

While it is usually true that it takes two to tango, the reality is that sometimes problems are much more clearly the fault of one party or the other.

I’m not saying that’s the case here, but it’s true in general.

Even when it is clearly two-sided, it’s still important to know who owns what part of the problem – and for both parties to recognize this.

Blame in the sense of locating the responsibility where it rightly belongs and not taking on someone else’s bad behaviors as one’s own responsibility is important to maintaining good boundaries, in BDSM as well as in the rest of life.

You are not less submissive if you can’t give him what he needs; you’re just not a pain slut and unable to take the level at which he’s able to give.

I could not have said that better myself, @MistressOrlando.  And objecting when a dominant continues to try to administer a level of pain which one cannot take, particularly after communicating that to him repeatedly, is an entirely reasonable response.

It may also be a compatibility issue as others have already mentioned, but it’s definitely a violation of limits for that particular sub if that same behavior and level of pain administration continues after the submissive has made it clear that she cannot take it, and particularly if she also makes it a new hard limit.  At that point, and particularly if it continues, then it’s just abusive.

If it really is a compatibility issue, and it’s something that the dominant cannot live without, he should end the relationship if a mutually acceptable solution cannot be worked out.  If he continues in the relationship, though, he has an absolute obligation to respect those limits.

She should not have to either use a safeword or to declare that a hard limit.  It is definitely a limit, though, and it needs to be respected if the dom still wants to play with her, absent something like an M/s TPE kind of agreement in place that expressly eliminates limits and safewords.  Even then, everyone still retains both the legal and moral rights to change their mind and to revoke the consent.

Now – if you are communicating effectively and he’s not listening then I can understand your anger

That is indeed an incredibly frustrating and painful position to be in…<sigh>.

and I also hear that in your heart you’re trying to go the distance which is commendable.

Agreed.  It would be nice if he were able to see this and to give the OP some credit for it, but what’s most important is that she knows that she’s doing her best to comply with his desires.

Being Dominant does not give anyone a license to ignore a submissive’s feelings or inabilities.

Very true.  Even if the couple is incompatible, that doesn’t give the dominant the right to do whatever he wants when he’s with that particular sub.  Each person has different limits.

The reality is that no two people will ever have an exact match of play styles and preferences.  There will always be some differences.  The question then is about whether or not they are willing to compromise, and how important those differences are.  It’s not always an easy thing to sort out – certainly nowhere near as easy as the comments that people often make about the “obvious” lack of compatibility make it look.

– When they are core kinks and one’s partner isn’t even willing to try to go there, yes, it’s definitely a compatibility issue.

Expressing fear and upset at being asked to do so are not necessarily global statements of being unwilling, though.  It’s fear and initial upset speaking, and the dominant needs to be able to manage those effectively and maturely if he wants the relationship otherwise.

Hell, even an initial expression of outright unwillingness is not always the final word on anything, any more than expressly discussed hard limits are always the final word on those activities.  Sometimes even an outright refusal is initially just fear and getting blasted unexpectedly out of one’s comfort zone, and a little time and thinking about it will change the perception and attitude.

If the dom is willing to be patient and understanding, even these things will likely resolve eventually.

I know that that has happened quite a bit for me, even with things I’d previously stated as hard limits.  Upon further reflection and clarification of the parameters and expectations, I’ve been known to realize that it doesn’t make sense to keep that as a hard limit, and to comply with his wishes, and to even begin to look forward to or enjoy the activity.

– If she is trying to do what he wants but still can’t get there, it might or might not be (or become) a compatibility issue.  There are too many variables to make a call like this globally.

– If she is trying and the dominant is still ignoring what she is able to do and take in that moment, and not effectively helping teach her to achieve whatever it is he wants her to do, and to adjust his expectations in the face of that until such time as those abilities more closely match what he wants, then that’s a whole different story altogether.  That’s likely a dominant at whom one ought to be looking only in the rear view mirror while in high speed retreat.

Even people who are not pain sluts to start with can often be converted into them, if the dominant is patient and skilled enough, both of which really help engender the necessary trust and indeed, even the willingness to try.

I’ve watched one of my own friends in particular take that journey from complete wuss beyond anything I’ve ever seen before to total pain pig.  I know how skilled her master has been in taking her there – and he’s one of the most sadistic bastards I’ve ever known.  She was only able to get there because of how well he managed the situation, and his willingness to temper his expectations as he brought her along at a pace she could handle.  A lesser dominant (and less mature person) would have likely never been able to bring that all out in her, and may have just completely alienated her.

If he had just stomped off in anger because she couldn’t take what he wanted to dish out in the beginning, claiming incompatibility, one of the most beautiful and loving relationships I’ve ever been privileged to witness would never have been built.

It won’t happen overnight, or even in a couple of months, but the success or failure of the enterprise of building a sub’s pain tolerance (and indeed tolerance to and growth of interest in many other kinds of play) has everything to do with how the dominant himself manages the situation – and his own behavior, attitudes, and expectations.

If he’s not willing to be patient and prepared to do whatever is necessary to bring her along to where he wants her to be, or he’s not capable of doing it for whatever reasons (lack of skill, practice, knowledge, etc.), then he really can’t blame the sub for not doing it on her own, or even for actively resisting and getting angry if she doesn’t feel safe.

The less safe she feels, and the less heard and understood, the less she is going to be able to tolerate.

Many times dom/domme-ly types are a lot more open to the giving part if we know what’s being asked and what’s done to serve in return for the effort.

True, @PetMonster.  Unfortunately, sometimes that is known, but the dominant won’t/can’t do it anyways.

When you know you’ve communicated the issue and the preferences clearly, and they still don’t do it, one has to assume an active unwillingness, for any number of possible reasons, none of which have anything to do with desire and commitment to building a complete relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

I get so frustrated when people seem to be so willing to chalk problems like this up to “different play styles” or “incompatibility”, when the reality can often be quite different.  I think this attitude really feeds a lot of the instability and impermanence of kink relationships that we see so much of.  Teaching people how to manage these situations effectively from both the top and the bottom – and to tell how to decide if it really is a compatibility issue or not – has much more potential to help people build satisfying relationships than telling them they should just move on, especially when all of the main factors are compatible to start with, and you’re just talking about the specifics of how some of them (like play )are expressed.

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Response to “What’s my problem?” in Ask a Dominant Questions on Fetlife

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