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.
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.
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.
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.