My Dominant Isn’t Dominating Me Enough, Waah!!!

I’ve been hearing and reading quite a bit lately from and about submissives who say they don’t feel their dominant is controlling them enough, or dominating them enough. This would seem to be an incredibly common complaint amongst submissives.

This is a problem, because if the dominant falls for a line like that, and tries to assert more control or dominance (whatever that means), then the only result is the increased exertions of both dominant and submissive, and still the submissive does not feel any more controlled or dominated than before.

There is a reason for that.

And this reason rests squarely on the shoulders of the submissive.
 
 

Taking Responsibility

 
I think the reason this rests with the submissive is, that the submissive, having submitted control to the dominant, has not actually given up that control to the dominant, and has not actually submitted as they said they would. It’s really easy to blame the dominant for not controlling enough, or dominating enough. But I think the fact is, that unless the submission is freely and substantially undertaken by the submissive themselves, then they will never feel the control they crave.

I think it’s asking a hell of a lot from a dominant, for a submissive to demand that the dominant exert themselves all over the place just to get the submissive feeling the control that they had apparently already agreed to submit to. Either that control has been submitted to, or it has not. The submissive must decide.

And as many submissives report, even when the dominant does make the effort, and tries asserting more dominance and/or control over the submissive, that still doesn’t do it for them. Nobody benefits from that situation.

Nobody can make a submissive submit, except the submissive themselves. If they don’t do it, then it won’t happen. It’s as simple as that. Submission is up to the submissive, no matter how much they may blame that on the dominant. It makes no difference whether the dominant is asking a favour, or issuing an order. The submissive either takes on the responsibility for fulfilling that favour or order, and thereby serving their dominant, or does not.

The dominant is hardly going to benefit from exerting themselves by wielding some extra special bonus dominance and/or control over a submissive who isn’t undertaking the service which was originally agreed to in the first place.

(this is assuming that the dominant is doing any dominating at all)

(if the dominant isn’t actually dominating at all, that’s a whole other topic)

No matter how much the submissive may not like it, that feeling of control and dominance is actually in the submissive’s own hands. There is nothing a dominant can do to increase it, and any efforts to do so are inevitably doomed to failure.
 
 

Some Reasons Behind The Reasons

 
One behaviour I have often observed from submissives is what I call passive aggressive behaviour. One of the many characteristics of this behaviour is the blaming of others and an inability to take appropriate responsibility.

From this page:
 

    “The passive aggressive will say one thing, do another[…]. They don’t communicate their needs and wishes in a clear manner, expecting their spouse to read their mind and meet their needs.”

 
It is every individual’s responsibility to be aware of their own needs and wants, to take responsibility for their needs and wants, and to express those clearly and verbally to the people close to them. Needs and wants cannot be respected if they have not been communicated and therefore are not known about.

And specific needs must be put in general terms so that they cover the most eventualities. For example: “I hate going to that pub we go to on Friday nights” could possibly be better put as: “I can’t cope with being jostled in crowds, such as what happens when we go to that pub on Friday nights”.

When a submissive accuses a dominant of not dominating or controlling enough, it would seem to me that the submissive is abdicating responsibility for their own submission, and for their own knowledge of their needs and wants, thus putting that responsibility away from themselves and onto the dominant. And that, in my opinion, can never work, in the same way that getting somebody else to go to the gym instead of you will never get your own muscles toned up.
 
 

Possible Ways Forward

 
If a submissive is not feeling dominated enough or controlled enough, then it might benefit the submissive to ask themselves if the real problem isn’t that they aren’t feeling submissive enough?

And, if that is the case, then it might benefit the submissive to think long and hard about possible reasons they aren’t feeling submissive which are unrelated to the dominant. Because blaming the dominant will simply take the submissive back to square one.

Remember, it isn’t the responsibility of the dominant to force the submissive to feel or be submissive, or indeed to submit. Submission comes from within   (as so many keep saying).

Explicit specific negotiation is key. The dominant can help by initiating negotiations, and by disengaging from any interactions in which they find themselves supporting   (whether consciously or unconsciously)   the assumption that they are responsible for the submissive’s lack of submissive feelings. A dominant can remind the submissive that submission comes from within, and that the agreement to submit was undertaken willingly. If the submissive no longer wishes to be a part of that agreement, it’s very important for them to express that clearly. If the submissive   does   wish to continue within the agreement, then it’s important for them to consider how they may carry on in a way which is satisfactory to all parties.

The dominant can also help by increasing their self awareness of their own needs and wants, boundaries and limits, requirements and rules, and also by maintaining a clear awareness of what is their responsibility, and what is not.

I think amongst the most important things to remember during these discussions are, who may appropriately take responsibility for precisely which issues, and, for all participants to keep in mind, to clearly express, and to consistently maintain their boundaries.

And at the forefront of everything, to remember that   respect   between all participants is key to a successful resolution.

About Lady Lubyanka

I am a 45 year old musician, and also a multisexual, polyamourous, Jewish, socially dominant woman within my romantic BDSM relationships.
This entry was posted in BDSM, Consent, Dominance, Domination, Dominatrix, FemDom, FemDomme, fuckwits, Hypocrism, Mistress, noodge, noodging, nudge, nudging, Pot Calling The Kettle Black, Power Exchange, Psychology, Rant, Rantfest, Respect, slave, sub, submission, submissive. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to My Dominant Isn’t Dominating Me Enough, Waah!!!

  1. devastatingyet says:

    Thanks for writing this. I want to defend Joscelin since we just had this type of situation and both posted about it, and say this isn’t how it is for us, but it very well might be.

    But I think some of his issue when this arises is that he may feel submissive, but not like he’s actually doing any submitting, or he’s not doing it well (he feels). He may wonder why I’m not displeased or unsatisfied. He may be fearful that I don’t actually desire anything [new, requiring growth] of him.

    And this:

    It makes no difference whether the dominant is asking a favour, or issuing an order.

    Argh. Confusion. I have considered this perspective but I’m not sure where to take it, especially within the realm of trying to have a mutually satisfying relationship (versus trying to adhere to an ideal of some kind).

    I don’t know. The whole thing makes me confused, but for now we seem to have moved past it. I expect it to recur and will keep your words in mind and see if they fit my experiences.

  2. Thanks for writing this. I want to defend Joscelin since we just had this type of situation […], and say this isn’t how it is for us, but it very well might be.
     
    I’m sorry you feel that my post was directed towards anybody in particular, and that you feel Jos needs your defending from it. I assure you that I had nobody specific in mind when I wrote it, and that this is indeed a very common problem which I hear about regularly, from submissives and dominants alike.

    I had no intention of denigrating any submissive or dominant in my perceptions of how this works, and I regret that you thought there was anything which needed defending.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if my description fit your circumstance. It’s such a common problem, and it is so often accompanied by so many of the same or similar outlooks and behaviours, that I think it would take a very unusual situation where my observations didn’t apply, at least in some respects.

    But then, I would think that, having just done a whole post about it. :p
     
     
    But I think some of his issue when this arises is that he may feel submissive, but not like he’s actually doing any submitting, or he’s not doing it well (he feels).
     
    Has he asked himself why he doesn’t feel like he’s doing any submitting, or submitting well? Why would he feel submissive, yet at the same time feel like he isn’t submitting? That’s a rather complex set of feelings which sound like they could do with being addressed, and soon, preferably by a qualified emotional health professional (which I am not, by the way).

    I think the two are either not linked, in which case the feeling submissive part may be unrelated to the submitting part, or else (what I think is more likely) that he is both either not feeling submissive and not submitting, or feeling quite submissive and submitting, in which case I think his skewed perception of reality could do with a reality check. But of course, only he will know precisely what he’s feeling and whether any of this resonates with him in regards to how he’s feeling.

    I mean, obviously he’s submitting to you, so his perception of not submitting, or not submitting well, is not an accurate reflection of the reality as you know it. Or is it? I don’t know, that’s something for you to consider.

    If his feelings do represent an accurate reflection of reality as you know it, then perhaps you can sit down together and work out why his submission isn’t working well for the two of you.
     
     
    He may wonder why I’m not displeased or unsatisfied.
     
    If he expects a negative response, then a positive one won’t satisfy him. It won’t matter whether he’s submitting well or doing a good job, your positive response won’t fit with his expectations that he isn’t doing a good job (and therefore isn’t a good submissive, and thus isn’t a good person), so he is likely to disregard any positive response as not fitting with what he knows (his feeling inadequate).

    So a response from you such as “Well done, Jos, I’m really pleased with how you served me just now” might be met with “I’m only doing my job” or some other dismissive remark, rather than a simple and appreciative “Thank you”. But a negative response from you, such as something like “That was really crap Jos, please do it again” will likely be met with something more like “You’re right, I know you’re right, I’m a bad sub, I’m inadequate, I know, I’m sorry”.

    And any negative response from you will only serve to reinforce his feelings of inadequacy and low self worth. So nobody can win in this situation. Punishment won’t help, and reward won’t either.

    That’s not to say you shouldn’t say so when his service falls short of requirements. You’ve said yourself that Jos is particularly sensitive to when you aren’t being absolutely truthful when he’s like this. I feel that absolute, honesty, delivered with respect and love, can only be a good thing. Tell him he’s done a good job when he has, and explain why you need more when he hasn’t. But please take care how you describe the shortfall so that it’s about the service being short and not him (no matter how he hears it being about him).

    I do this with everybody I know who tries the “I’m so shit” scenario. I won’t allow myself to be pulled into their self defeating universe. When they say how crap they are, I agree with them enthusiastically and cheerfully, and then they tend to see that they’re being unrealistic (usually). :p

    Because disagreeing, and reassuring, and supporting, usually only gets me an argument from them, and I can’t be bothered with that. They think they’re crap? Ok, they’re crap. It’s nothing to do with me. I won’t be sucked into the whole (disputed) reassurance against their fake reality. That doesn’t work for me, and I won’t do it. I’ll agree with them that they’re crap, which they don’t expect, and then that tends to help them see what’s real and what’s only in their own mind.
     
     
    He may be fearful that I don’t actually desire anything [new, requiring growth] of him.
     
    This may be more about fearing that you don’t desire HIM. This would fit in with his feelings of inadequacy and how you’re being pulled into his universe where he is worth very little. I mean, how could you possibly desire him when he’s such a useless sub/person (in his eyes)?

    No matter how much you say you desire, want, need, and love him, he’s never going to truly believe you as long as his feelings about himself persist. He clearly values you, and your opinions. And as a person he admires, how could you possibly value a person who’s worth as little as he thinks he is? From this perspective, it makes perfect sense that he’s going to think that you either love him too much (i.e. at all), or not enough (because it will never feel like enough til he gets himself sorted out).

    If he expects to grow, emotionally, because of some passive participation he has with your dominance, then I think that’s a venture which is doomed to failure as well. Emotional growth comes from increased self awareness which stems from realisations and discoveries about the self in the face of experiences in the world. You can’t make him grow. He can only do that himself. You are not his therapist. You can never be his therapist. Even if you were A therapist, you could never ethically be HIS therapist. So I don’t think that can ever work out.
     
     
    And this:

    It makes no difference whether the dominant is asking a favour, or issuing an order.

    Argh. Confusion. I have considered this perspective but I’m not sure where to take it, especially within the realm of trying to have a mutually satisfying relationship (versus trying to adhere to an ideal of some kind).
     
    I don’t know what kind of ideal you mean. But if you’re asking me, then I would suggest that you may point out to Jos that he has agreed to serve you. Part of what that means is that his job is to help make your life easier.

    So, requiring you to exert the extra special bonus control over him in order to make him feel better is not helping to make your life easier, it’s making your job more difficult. And whether you are asking a favour, or ordering him to do something, either way, his compliance will make your life easier. And this will please you.

    You can help him with this by ensuring than any request you make of him, be it favour or order, has been considered carefully so that you are sure that his service will truly save you some effort. Asking him to do stuff on a whim just because you can (and I’m not saying you do this) may not help to reinforce this message.

    You can also help him by taking care with how you express things. By always being honest, whether positively or with constructive criticism, this will help build trust, and he will be able to trust what you say as being real. That’s part of why the criticism part is so important. And ensure the criticism has a full explanation of why it could be better. Begin with something positive, which you liked and appreciated, and then describe how his service could please you more.

    You could also forbid him to make dismissive remarks such as “Oh, it was nothing” when you comment positively and appreciatively about his service. A simple, and gracious “Thank you” is much more polite and respectful than a remark which dismisses your praise as being meaningless. It won’t be nice for you to have your praise invalidated and dismissed as if it were nothing. So he really ought to verbally appreciate it and value it for the worth that it has, and not simply throw it away because of his issues. You don’t deserve that kind of treatment, and I’m sure Jos would agree.

    I’ve done this before with my submissives, and it has worked very well for me. :)

    (of course, if this isn’t a problem, please ignore that part and go on to the next. :p )

    He is likely, because of his issues, to mishear much of what you say. Any criticsm you make may be heard by him as an indictment of him personally. You can help with this by insisting that he repeat back to you what you said, and ensuring that his understanding of what you said matches the words and intent you actually used. I find these kinds of reality checks very helpful, and incredibly revealing of problems which may not have been perceptible before. The precise ways he mishears you can give you a window into his feelings and responses, and therefore his specific issues as well.
     
     
    I don’t know. The whole thing makes me confused, but for now we seem to have moved past it. I expect it to recur and will keep your words in mind and see if they fit my experiences.
     
    The problem with the idea of “moving past it” is that I think it’s more like “sweeping it under the carpet”. Unless the issues are satisfactorily resolved, they will always recur in whatever guises. Which means that the issues are always there to be triggered by whatever circumstance. Jos could be having a bleak sort of day and as a result, the issue will recur. It won’t have anything to do with you. It’s his issue, and he will have it regardless of what relationships he’s in. It’s unfortunate, but there it is. So I think you either need to work with that, or not.

    You’re certainly under no obligation to work with it, but it is a fact that his issues will impact on you, as you describe that they have done recently.

    Oh wow, I SO feel like “Auntie Lubyanka” in this comment! I hope my suggestions haven’t come across as too, I don’t know what, but I just hope they weren’t too TOO. :)

    I hope at least some of this sounded at least somewhat relevant to your situation.

    Good luck.

    Lubyanka.

  3. devastatingyet says:

    Thanks, Lady L. Let me clarify first that I wasn’t feeling defensive towards you – just defensive in my own mind. I was being introspective. I don’t think your post is “about” us and I know it’s a common thing.

    Much of the rest of this doesn’t describe Joscelin’s actual psychology. He has a high sense of worth (generally speaking) and both demands and earns my respect.

    But thank you. It was an interesting read.

  4. I’m glad you weren’t feeling defensive, Devastating, that’s a relief. Thank you for telling me. :)

    I’m so glad Jos has a high sense of self worth, generally speaking, that’s a Good Thing(tm).

    Is it possible that the part of him which doesn’t have such a high sense of self worth is also the part of him which has this issue we’ve been discussing? A chain is easily broken by its weak link, unfortunately, and a generally good sense of self worth doesn’t seem to help sometimes when the part which doesn’t feel so good is asserting itself.

    But I really am glad that what I described didn’t apply to Jos, although I do hope something elsewhere turns up which is more useful. :)

    Best regards,

    Lubyanka.

  5. devastatingyet says:

    I’ve had some more time to think about this and why I just kind of generally disagree with it. (It’s difficult to disagree, in a way. I am kind of impressionable towards things I read.)

    Joscelin and I are in our relationship together, and if something isn’t working, fixing it is a mutual responsibility. I would so much rather have a mutually satisfying relationship than have him attain some (possibly undesirable) ideal of submission.

    I’m sure that’s not how you’d frame it, but it’s kind of the choice facing me, it feels like.

  6. Joscelin and I are in our relationship together, and if something isn’t working, fixing it is a mutual responsibility. I would so much rather have a mutually satisfying relationship than have him attain some (possibly undesirable) ideal of submission.
     
    I’m sorry you thought from my post and from my comments that I didn’t at all times know that the two of you weren’t working together to build and maintain your relationship, or at any time was idealising submission out of reality.

    I am not in any way suggesting that you aren’t both in this together, and don’t both have a responsibility to make it work and help it grow.

    What I AM saying, is that there are certain things which are the legitimate responsibility of the submissive, and certain things which are the legitimate responsibility of the dominant.

    Every individual is responsible for their own self awareness, and their own issues. Taking on appropriate responsibility for stuff does not in any way remove other, more mutual responsibilities from anybody else.

    There are certain things that one person cannot be responsible for when having to do with other people. This does not mean they can’t be supportive whilst the other person works on those things which they themselves are responsible for.

    I hope that’s clearer.

    Lubyanka.

  7. Dominant Muse says:

    Very nice post, Very true (had an experience with this thing directly). I followed ( http://devastatingyet.wordpress.com/ )s link to this page and am truly glad I did.

    Be well
    DM
    http://thehouseofmuse.wordpress.com

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