I like to be in control. Well, that’s not entirely accurate – I hate to feel out of control. At some point in my life, I started controlling situations by anticipating other’s responses and preempting them. Basically, I could tell what someone was going to say/do and got ahead of them. I could nudge them in the direction I wanted to go by putting words in their mouth or strongly suggesting the direction in which I wanted to go. Here’s what that looks like:
I wanted my boyfriend (now my husband) to go further physically, but I was too prim to make the first move and felt like it was his place to lead our physicality. I was too sexually hungry to leave it to chance, though, so I orchestrated a situation in which we could be alone and started a game of truth or dare (or something similar). He played along and, after plenty of provocative hints from me, ended up daring me to take my shirt off. I ended up where I wanted to be (partially naked), but I had gotten him to “lead” it. Problem solved.
This has become a part of my security. I am safe in the knowledge that, in general, I can get my way and find the satisfaction I’m looking for by manipulating people. It’s typically benign manipulation (I’m a good girl and don’t do “bad” or criminal things.) and it’s often what they wanted to do, just on my timeline. I use logic and empathy and feel safe because the people around me tend to agree with me and go along.
I got to a point around February of this year where I was beyond tired and close to a breakdown. I had assumed too many responsibilities and taken all of the decision-making off of my husband because I trusted my own choices over his or anyone else’s. Something had to change or I was going to break. Our journey into D/s is a long story for another post, but we decided to try incorporating it into our everyday lives. I needed the release of submitting to him, and he needed the boost of Dominating me. He became my Master and I became his pet.
One night not too long ago, Master and I found my “control hold” of manipulation and subversion in our D/s relationship. I was nudging the relationship and him in the direction I wanted to go. I wanted him to be more Dominant over my decisions (because it gave me a thrill every time he was), so I asked him for permission often. I wanted to try out a few toys, so I showed them to him and sent him links. I found ways to bring conversations around to where I wanted them to go, and often got my way.
In some dynamics, this level of input from the sub might work. The sub might have trouble expressing herself, and her Dom needs her to trust him enough to take care with her desires. For us, it put pressure on M to go in the direction I indicated a strong preference toward, despite his reservations or desire for a different pace. I was showing him the Dominance I thought he should exhibit and making it clear that’s what I expected.
This came to a head when he told me that he felt he couldn’t meet my expectations and was getting worn out with the demands I was placing on him. I was handing him a heavy burden before he had time to brace himself, and certainly before he asked for it. I was going at a different pace than he was and making it look like he was leading. My desires were mostly fulfilled, but I wasn’t truly submitting and I certainly wasn’t trusting him.
We talked for quite a long time, with both of us getting upset at different points. I told him I was afraid that if I didn’t orchestrate events and push things in the direction of my desires, those desires were going to go unfulfilled and leave me feeling deprived. What he said next was a reality check for me.
“You are going to have to trust me to take care of you.”
I was shocked to realize I didn’t trust him to meet my needs. The physical and financial needs of our family? Sure, all day, every day. My emotional, spiritual, and sexual needs? Not hardly.
I was so used to protecting those vulnerabilities by controlling as much as I could that I didn’t have a clue I was holding myself back almost entirely from his Dominance of me. It’s not submission if the decisions are not in the Dominant’s hands, and I was leaving very little up to chance or his choice.
When I let myself consider what true submission would look like, I was petrified. I would have to give him access to the parts of me I hid the deepest and protected the hardest. I wanted to trust him with those things, but I trusted myself more.
I still remember what it felt like to come to that emotional crossroad and choose to walk down the unknown path, blindfolded, with him guiding me. I was so scared and so sorry I had hurt him by withholding myself from him while asking him to be Dominant. He held me while I cried and wrestled with every instinct telling me to retain control, to not trust my husband and Master.
That night was a turning point in our D/s journey. I didn’t suddenly become a perfect submissive because I knew where the problem lay, but I have been more able to recognize when I am clutching something too tightly and need to give it to him. He has become much more aware of my trust boundaries and has been slowly pushing them back, baring the things I had covered and showing me he is worthy of my trust.
We are both learning what things Dominance requires of the submissive and what submission requires of the Dominant. None of it works well without deep and intentional trust.