This just isn't working.

SpankoNanny, WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Here's a section for those questions about discipline. In this case, we're *all* able to stand in for SpankoNanny, and we are all free to ask questions. Got a problem in your household? Check in to see what our good friend (but our firm, strict, caring friend) SpankoNanny has to say.

Re: This just isn't working.

Postby Sara'sGirl(SG) » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:37 am

G.D. wrote:
Question for bottoms: in what circumstances would you consider a Top's behaviour to be too much ... too harsh ... too strict?


Honestly, my first inclination is to say "Never!" Truly, I feel quite comfortable saying to every Top I know on this board that you cannot be too harsh or too strict (in my opinion). Personally, there is something in me that craves that harshness at times...one might even say that I need it. :blush:

That being said, I do *feel* like Sara is being "too harsh" whenever I don't feel listened to. It doesn't matter how light the punishment, if I feel like she's punishing me without having heard me, I start getting upset. Conversely, it doesn't matter how HARSH the punishment--if I feel like she's heard me, and decided (for whatever reason) that I need to be punished anyway, I can usually accept that (though I don't claim to be able to do so gracefully!). So for me, it's all about whether or not I feel heard. And I'm sure there's something to be said for learning to submit even when I feel like I'm *not* being heard...sometimes I'm able to do that, and sometimes I'm not...with mixed results!

W, I wanted to let you know that I've been reading these posts, and responding to JA in the bat cave, but haven't felt sure what kind of general advice I could give, other than hang in there! As always, you two *are* muddling through, working this thing out one step at a time.

One thing that occurs to me--when you feel like the expectation is on *you* to be perfect, it may be time to consider turning the tables a bit. One way of looking at this is that it's not your job to Top exactly how J wants you to. YOU are her Top, and you still have the freedom to be you. I know (and really don't want to discount) how important it is for J to be heard, so that ttwd meets her needs. At the same time, I think it's important for YOU to have the authority, by being you. No idea if that makes sense, but it seemed like something I wanted to put out there. :thinking:
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby G.D. » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:15 am

Sara'sGirl(SG) wrote:And I'm sure there's something to be said for learning to submit


I think that unless the bottom is indeed willing to learn to submit then there is very little point ... nothing the Top can do will work. I say again, obedience is the script ... submission the stage directions.

And thank you for the responses to the question - I hope the answers illustrate a point.
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby GF1 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:26 pm

What is too harsh or too strict? Well, at the time, having my motorcycle taken away felt too everything. In retrospect, it probably was not and it did get my attention. I have a harder time submitting to the non-physical punishments. A spanking ultimately gives me immediate emotional relief whereas other types of punishment do not.


Oh and other too harsh things the spoon, and the switch, and the lexan paddle and the hairbrush....
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby Sara'sGirl(SG) » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:47 pm

G.D. wrote:I think that unless the bottom is indeed willing to learn to submit then there is very little point ... nothing the Top can do will work. I say again, obedience is the script ... submission the stage directions.

And thank you for the responses to the question - I hope the answers illustrate a point.


Would dominance be the stage director, then? :) I like the analogy, quite a lot.

As a Top, what responsibility (if any) do you feel you have to make sure your bottom feels "heard"? I think it is completely valid to say you have no responsibility to do that at all, and also completely valid to say that you have a primary responsibility to make sure the bottom is heard.

Between Sara and I, I would say 95% of the time I feel completely heard.

My goal is to submit even when I don't feel heard. My fantasy is for her to not care about my wishes and to whip me soundly regardless. My reality is that when that happens I become very upset (much to Sara's consternation). I do wonder at times how you Tops put up with us. :dunce:
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:27 am

i think submission can be a complicated thing. i know that, in my own relationship, if i'm not feeling heard, it can quickly lead to be being badly triggered when it comes to punishment, which means it achieves quite the opposite of what either i or w want.

this doesn't mean that i don't do my best to submit, and to accept w's decisions as what will happen... but when it comes down to a point where i feel like she hasn't understood what i'm trying to express, that's something that needs to change in order for a punishment to be effective.

with me, obedience that comes against my sense of what's right (healthy) for me is something that doesn't work at all. what's more, i've observed that if w has established authority effectively, it doesn't even occur to me to resist. more than that, even if i have planned on resisting, when she effectively establishes authority, i *don't*. we've come to recognize that if i'm resisting, that means something isn't going right, and it's time to step back and figure out what's wrong.

now, if only we could figure out what it is that w is doing when she effectively establishes authority, so that she would be able to replicate that at will....
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby InControl » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:31 pm

W-Jigsaw'sBoss wrote:Thanks. We talked a bit, and I feel like a reset has happened, and that she's giving me another chance to establish my authority. This is definitely less about the smoking than the discipline, and her being able to trust that I'm watching and caring and being a solid foundation underneath her attempts to do whatever...


W....sorry that I'm coming in so late in the game but your confidence is not just worn down, it's been totally zapped and trust me...I know all about that. I'm seeing the words you are using in your posts....negative, even submissive and you feel *she* is giving you another chance. What the hell has happened to the W that supported me at the beginning? *Your* terms need to prevail again. How about coming into the 'office'? We need to make better use of it. I'm sorry I didn't support you sooner when I saw all your earier posts. If you need to talk I'm around if you want to.

IC
Last edited by InControl on Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:34 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby Disobedient Girl » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:05 am

Hello IC !!
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:52 am

I know you meant this as a pep talk, IC- but frankly, it feels like a browbeating. Let me sleep on this and reply tmw, okay? Thank you. Things are much better tonight after a lot of processing, and acknowledging things that ARE my responsibility and things that aren't.
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby InControl » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:08 am

Hi

Wasn't meant to be browbeating. Just worried about you.

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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby InControl » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:26 am

Hey....hello back DG!

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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby TryingReallyHard » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:49 pm

This thread has spelled out a lot of the bumps we're dealing with... would you mind please, sharing some of the solutions you came up with?
~TRH
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The hard lessons make the difference, and the difference makes it worth it." -Fireflight
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:22 pm

Oy. Mostly, we're dealing with it by taking things one day at a time, being as flexible as we can, and hoping for the best.

Right now, we're trying to do less of a system, and I suppose more of an a la carte version of ttwd. Both W and I are dealing with a variety of physical health issues, as well as mental health stuff and just the challenges of daily life (plus the fact that, right now, we have an extra cat and three kittens in an apartment that was just about big enough for the two of us plus *one* cat).

We'll see. I suppose it's mostly been a matter of me changing my expectations, and giving W some room to take things more slowly.

Honestly, I have to admit that we're working on separating my need for discipline from my need for W to be more assertive. Because the fact is, whether or not we're doing ttwd, I need her to be able to make decisions without me telling her what to think, and I **REALLY** need her to stand up for herself and take care of her own needs and to know what's happening inside her own head.

My need for discipline is still there, and getting discipline still helps. But at the same time, I can see how much I was hoping that a lot of the problems I've been having stemmed from a lack of self-discipline, when as it turns out, they are things that are outside of my control. So no amount of punishment from W is going to help me to force myself to do things I can't actually manage. After 36 years of life, I'm maybe possibly starting to accept that I can't make myself do things through sheer force of will, and testing out the possibility of letting myself mess up.

Of course, this is all complicated with some physical health stuff that I will write about elsewhere, possibly not tonight, since I'm not managing to sit up for very long, and my hands are going numb from typing. Darn it.
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:24 pm

Discipline is still going to happen, but in some ways it's going to be way more flexible, and in some ways there's so much more riding on us communicating well, and my being not only assertive, but aware of what JA needs.

I think it's going to be good. I'm feeling more positive about ttwd than anything else right now, that's for sure. Do you want to lay out what's going on for you? We've struggled with this for years, with times that feel smooth and times that feel like we're never going to get it right.

The folks here are amazing. Lay out the problems, and we can start troubleshooting and brainstorming solutions. One thing that can be really helpful is the separate areas for tops and bottoms. Can you encourage your top to join us?
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby TryingReallyHard » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:51 am

W-Jigsaw'sBoss wrote:Can you encourage your top to join us?

I'm working on him... but he can't access the site from work (in IT security, can you imagine? :lol: ) and his online time at home is REALLY limited. But we're trying to talk pretty openly about it, so that does help.


I really hope you don't mind, and don't feel at all disrespected by my snipping these tid-bits from this thread... I do so with a grateful heart to you both for spelling out things we could not have voiced with this much eloquence!
W-Jigsaw'sBoss wrote:The thing that makes her lose trust in me is what I'll refer to as "waffling". Sometimes it looks like I'm thinking, sometimes I talk out loud as to reach the best decision as to what to do, sometimes I ask her what she'd prefer.

None of this establishes my authority in any way, shape or form.

The worse she feels about not being able to trust my authority, the less effective my decisions are, therefore making me lose confidence. If I tell her that it is dinner time and she refuses to eat, I sure as hell don't feel confident in the next thing I have to tell her to do, like not smoke or whatever.

How do I gain the strength and confidence to not have to think out loud, or ask her if she'd prefer to eat in the living room or the dining room, or any of the things that often just seem like common courtesy when in fact, make J think I am not up to the task of taking care of her?

W-Jigsaw'sBoss wrote:I hate making attempts at authority that get rebuffed- they make topping so much harder the next time, but that's how it goes, isn't it...

W-Jigsaw'sBoss wrote:the only times J ever challenges my authority any more are when she doesn't trust the existence of it.

THEREFORE, when I'm not feeling confident in my authority (damn, do I get tired of certain words...) she's more likely to challenge and test, and that's when I give in and that confirms that the authority isn't there so my confidence wears down, etc etc etc etc etc

W-Jigsaw'sBoss wrote:She feels like I am unable to be consistent. I feel like I am being as firm as I can be, making lots of hard decisions, being authoritative and assertive, and there's no in between.

She loses trust in me when she feels like I'm not consistent, and therefore puts up a lot of resistance.
<snip>
Please, guys. JA really needs this to work. I DESERVE my efforts to be effective, as well. What's going wrong?

My husband could have written these almost word-for-word! He feels like he tries and I don't see it. I feel like if I resist even the tiniest bit, he gives up and shuts down. Hits many sore spots from my childhood, I guess, that I'm "not worth it" or just too much trouble to bother with. I can't play the littlest bit hard-to-get; he won't chase, he won't pursue me. :sigh:

JigsawAnalogy wrote:i guess part of what's hard is that i'm not very good at being able to gauge how challenging something will be for me. yesterday, things were going all right while we were still home, but i was getting increasingly stressed while we were out, and my coping skills weren't up to the things that began to go wrong. by the time we were home, i was exhausted and past my ability to cope, which was just made worse by the time w was able to intervene.

so part of what i need from w is earlier intervention, before it's clear that it's needed. an ounce of prevention, and all of that. and i guess part of what i need is something closer to what nick is suggesting... not so much the tyrant thing, as obvious topping. i think it's not really about making decisions, as it is about overtly topping me.

Yes, exactly!!! We've set up 'shop' in our walk-in closet to try to keep all these little ears innocent... He said at one point when things were bad, "Will you go to the closet?" I wanted to scream! If he'd just said, "Go to the closet." ...well, I probably still would have been nervous and needed help getting there, but I'd have tried to make myself go! Ahh, but now, a week or two later, writing it all out here, I can see where I need to work (so very much) on submitting. The proper response could have been, "Yes, Sir, if you tell me to..." It goes back to my need to trust that he's going to be in control so I can just. stop. I just can't figure out if my doubt is my self-defense or my underlying control-freak trying to top from the bottom.

Eayore wrote:In turn, JA is asking you to serve her by being perfect, so she doesn't have to try to be perfect any more.

It may or may not be true for you guys, but this kind of made my breath catch in my throat and everything got all weird while the world settled around me at a slightly different angle. ...I just don't know what to DO about it.
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Re: This just isn't working.

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:37 pm

I am starting, after all these years, to ASK not TELL.

It makes all the difference.
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