Training

From SlaveCraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude _ Principles, Skills and Tools”, by Guy Baldwin:

Training means something more than giving orders and correcting compliance. A sadly small percentage of the Masters i know savor the often delicately balanced orchestrations by which a slave does truly develop a deeper level of surrender under Their direction. These Masters delight in devising subtle situations and conversations that challenge and guide us. They watch us closely to see how we wrestle with our inner struggles with surrender, and then determine the best way to coax, tease, kiss, lure, argue, reason, support, reinforce, hurt or love us onward past our sticking points and into doing or accepting exactly what They want from us…AND, making us love Them for it! This is the REAL craft of “slave-training,” and lucky is the slave who comes to the attention of these rare Masters.

If you are not feeling like this is what your dominant/master is doing with you, and you don’t end up loving him for whatever he is doing in the name of training or anything else, there’s a very good chance that you are in fact experiencing abuse.

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The fact of the matter, as Guy says, is that such “masters” are in fact rare.

Just because someone calls themselves a dominant, a master, or SirWhompum, or whatever, does not automatically confer any level of skill upon him – be it with toys, or relationship skills.

In fact, a shocking number of dominants are exceptionally unskilled in these ways.

Which we could then look at as being the norm – and in the sense that there are more who do not have these skills than who do, that is true – but the story doesn’t end there.

In a vanilla relationship, neither party has deliberately taken on the responsibility of owning another, controlling or directing what they do, etc.  It’s not part of the fundamental relationship paradigm.  There are good lovers and there are bad ones, and leaving aside the abusive, that’s not such a big deal in and of itself.

When a person takes on the responsibility of dominance or mastery over another, however, it becomes exponentially more important that he ensures that he has the skills, both technical and personal, with which to ensure not just the submissive’s safety, but to seduce her submission.

Even with subs for whom being pushed is a big part of their kink, there is still the need to seduce compliance – and many times, it is precisely that seduction that actually constitutes the desired pushing, or at least a big part of it.  It’s the being cajoled to take just a little bit more – for him – that does it, not heavyhanded punishment for not living up to what he wants, etc.

When people who lack these kinds of people skills take on such responsibilities for another human being and her life, it is really incumbent upon them to learn how to do this – and to do it damn well.  To make sure that, at the end of the day, she still wants to come back for more.  That she is left in better condition than he found her in.  That she feels that her life has been enhanced because of her overall experiences with him.

Not all will have equal skills in this regard, and not every one of them will be a good match for each seeking submissive, but unless there is a substantial element of ending up enhanced overall by the experiences she has with her dominant, then something is seriously wrong.

If the overall feeling is one of being torn down, denigrated, injured, etc., vs being uplifted by the whole relationship, then it’s quite likely that there is abuse happening and not dominance.

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Thanks to Mollena Williams for posting this snippet on FetLife, which got me thinking about how this definition of training and mastery relates to abuse.

Controlling Men Could Face Criminal Charges

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of the UK wants to “…make abusive behaviour by men a criminal offence, even if it does not involve physical violence), according to the Sunday Mirror. He also wants to extend the law to include men who discipline children under the age of 18 “too strict[ly” also a criminal offense.

I don’t know what the domestic violence laws currently are in the UK, if any, but this is clearly a step in the right direction of helping ensure that men who don’t understand and respect personal boundaries and who often end up ruining the lives of partners and/or children are held responsible for their behavior. It’s a formal acknowledgement, in a country in which domestic violence accounts for 18% of all violent incidents, that domestic violence is a serious crime that should not go unpunished, that partner abuse is something that shouldn’t be tolerated in a civilized society.

The problem, of course, is determining a reasonable definition of “spousal abuse” (which I hope they will expand to the more general “domestic partner abuse), which is something they are looking at now.

It’s one thing to realize that some legal support for such victims is necessary, but quite another to pass laws which don’t unfairly target those whom they shouldn’t, and punish too many people, thereby ruining lives unnecessarily as well as contributing to prison overcrowding, and clogging the courts with both criminal and civil cases.

Another problem, as it is in this country, is actual enforcement of whatever laws do exist, and getting police to take the reports seriously enough.

Let us hope that they come up with a definition that will protect a woman’s right to say no and have her wishes respected – and ensure that violations have some real consequences – without causing an ipso facto across the board condemnation of consensual BDSM. If they follow a model similar to California law, which requires affirmative assent, rather than just implied consent, and prohibits the use of the classic “She didn’t say no or safeword” as a defense, it seems to me that this could be a very positive thing.

Did you know that in California, domestic violence is treated as even more serious than violence against those with whom one is not currently or in the past in an intimate relationship? And that the definition includes even those who have had as little contact with someone as a single date?

It is – and is something people who suffer abuse, particularly violence, should keep in mind, particularly bottoms or submissives, who seem to be disproportionately affected by abuse for by partners in the name of D/s. Report it *when it happens*, not later, for maximum police response, and to preserve your legal rights later, and leave a documentable paper trail. And keep a lot of everything that happens, with dates and details in order to keep a documented paper trail. And also don’t be afraid to seek medical help if you are injured in any way, for the same reason as well, of course, for treating any injuries when they occur. Don’t forget that emotional distress caused by abuse can also have lifelong damaging consequences, oftentimes much more so than any physical harm.

What Would You Dump Someone Immediately For?

Is there anything a partner (or other person in your life) could do that would cause you to dump them immediately?

And are there things you’ve said you would never give a second chance for that you not only have done, but maybe have given them far more chances than that?

I’ve often said that there are certain things I’d never put up with if a guy did to me, that I would leave immediately over, but the reality is that I’ve not followed through on those more often than not. I have unfortunately given far too many second, third, fourth, and more chances. Many times, the situations have been full of nuances that have made them less clear in the moment for what they were than they ultimately appeared in the rear view mirror. Or I saw it, but didn’t want to believe it, thought it was an aberration, etc. Denial can be a powerful thing. Or there was enough good there that I was more afraid of losing, had invested so much in the relationship by then that I didn’t want to lose, etc.

Unfortunately, once one gets to a certain point, no amount of good can offset certain offenses, including a growing accumulation of smaller ones – and no amount of shared history, work on a relationship, etc. will be worth staying around for more of.

The trick then becomes a) recognizing that dealbreaker point sooner rather than later, and then b) actually doing something about it.

And a frightening number of people who have been abused in one way or another find it terrifyingly difficult to break away from the very situations and people that are hurting us the worst. I’m realizing that it may actually be rather pathognomonic of having a history of abuse.

There are really only a few things I’d seriously end things with someone over immediately at this point, without at least a discussion. And most of those would be one-way tickets to a jail cell. Do not pass go, do not end up in the friend zone.

The majors are anything to do with child or animal abuse, particularly pedophilia and bestiality, either the person doing it themselves or continuing to knowingly associate with someone else who does, particularly in an intimate relationship.

And hitting or otherwise injuring or threatening me in a nonconsensual manner – including ignoring play limits and not fucking actually stopping when I say stop, forcing things on me that I don’t want to do, and more. I have far less tolerance for the grey areas than I used to. And far more realization of how out of control they get when they are not nipped in the bud by ending the whole relationship immediately the first time an obvious violation occurs.

Theft, murder, other crimes against others, etc. would certainly also send me out the door immediately.

I have also learned that many of the red flags that have surfaced early on that I’ve thought were not that important definitely do turn out to be problems of major proportions, so there is a great deal more now that I will never tolerate beyond a single instance again. I am done, to paraphrase what my father always used to say, with having the tree fall on my head.

I have also unfortunately put up with way more than I should have because of concerns about the effect that my either leaving or sending the guy to jail would have on others, including people I’ve never even met, even the people the guy does business with. Thinking about it now, it is beyond ridiculous that I would risk my own physical and mental health and safety in order to protect someone else from the consequences of an asshole’s behavior towards me, but I’ve done it – out of what I now see was a very misguided sense of both loyalty and inappropriate concern for others to the exclusion of my own safety – and will never do so again. Time has also shown me that to not do what I’ve needed to do in situations like that only ends up creating a new set of issues down the road.

Or I’ve failed to kick someone to the curb or leave myself because it’s been the middle of the night and either they had nowhere to go (or no way to get all of their stuff out of my place at that hour), or I was too tired to leave myself. Never again – even if I have to sleep in my car, or they simply have to come back the next day to pick their things up. Off my front porch. Or even sleep out there themselves if need be. I mean, hello? If some guy literally throws my cat across the room because she was annoying him in bed one night, or hits me with all his might in a way that he knows is both dangerous and a hard limit, nearly killing me in the process, even in “play”, then why should I care where he himself sleeps for the rest of the night?

And better I wet myself in my own car than sleep in his house again if I’m too tired or in too much pain to even drive down the hill to get to a bathroom – and take enough of his bedding with me that I don’t freeze to death. At the end of the day, it’s cleanable. Or better that he just spend the night cooling his own heels in jail or a hotel until I’m awake and gone the next morning.

None of these kinds of concerns will ever stop me from dumping someone for abusive or other nonconsensual behavior again. Because in part, I’ve learned that just waiting overnight will only blunt the effect by morning, and lead to softening up – and the vicious downward cycle getting even more deeply entrenched. Some things are not OK, no matter what – and what we need is more resolve to stand our ground about them, not to do things that will only water that down.

The price that I’ve ended up having to pay for giving too many chances to too many people, for too many things, for too long, has been far too high.

Thankfully, although no man will have a chance to even get in the door of my life for quite a while longer, if ever again, I’m already seeing signs in other areas of my life of greatly decreased willingness to put up with abusive crap from other people – and I know in my heart that this will translate to the romance department when and if the time should come again.

I’ve been closely watching the people I do have around me these days, and realizing how very much shit and abuse I’ve been sitting in the middle of for a very long time. Thankfully, I do also have many quite normal and decent friends and former lovers, and I’ve just been paying really close attention lately to the differences in how the interactions go between the sane ones and the crazy ones – content, tone, body language, etc. How they are with me, and how I am with them.

Although I certainly see areas in which I need work myself, this process of watching has been mostly healing and affirming – that there really are still sane, healthy people in my life. And it’s made me much more conscious that these are the people I want to keep around me – not the crazies I’ve called either friends, lovers, etc. over the years. It’s just easier to be around the sane ones. It feels better.

And so I already have backed way off from several people who have been a problem for a long time – including one whose major crime was in fact one single incident I am unwilling to offer another opportunity to repeat.

I’m also finding it’s happening much more naturally – not even a lot of conscious decision about it. It’s like nature is taking over – I’m naturally recoiling much mor readily from the toxins – and staying recoiled.

It’s like I’m far more creeped out now by things that I used to just put up with far more readily, for whatever reasons were floating around in my head in each situation.

I contemplate what life would be like without those people in it, and the void I used to fear that their absence would create no longer scares me.

Yes, it’s sad to cut people I care about loose, but the fear of what will happen to me if I keep them around has exceeded that of what will happen to remove them from my life, en masse, in both individual contemporaneous cases, and in generic potential future ones.

It’s hit me at a whole new level now that if I don’t rid myself of these kinds of people, how will I find room to both find and to let ones I both care about and who will treat me well in?

It’s easy to pay lip service to it being better to be alone than in a bad relationship (or friendship – which most people don’t even think about), but a far different thing to get it in your gut enough to not only take the actions needed to make that happen, but to then actually also enjoy and appreciate and prefer the resulting peace and quiet.

Part of this is definitely due to the stresses of the past year and the last few months in particular in my life – and reconnecting with some old friends I haven’t seen in years, who have reminded me that life without abusive partners or friends and family is indeed possible. I just don’t have any more room in my world for the abusive shit that I’ve put up with for so long, from so many corners of my life.

And while there is definitely a sense of loss in not being willing to let these things continue, which will mean either ending relationships or drastically cutting back on exposure to certain other people, I am feeling a really neat kind of freedom as well – freedom to find others to be with in all areas of my life who will not cause me so much damage. Freedom to just spend more time with the people I already know who are already decent, non-toxic, etc.

So, even in non-intimate relationships, I’m starting to realize I’ve got a set of boundaries that will cause me to dump even a friend PDQ if they transgress them. I am all too acutely aware these days of the fragility and short duration of life, and by God, I will simply not have this shite in my life any more, from any quarter.