Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

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Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby Meg » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:25 pm

I have noticed in my relationship with ttwd that it ebbs and flows.

There is a place where things are working *really* well...the dynamic is right, and things feel really comfortable and good.

On the opposite continuum, there is the place where the dynamic is completely off, or we are not really doing any ttwd...and while it doesn't feel *bad* at first, I start to feel more and more off-balance, and the need becomes stronger and stronger.

Then there is a place "in between"....when we move in between the place where the dynamic is off or almost gone to the place where things are *right*. In many ways, this place is even more uncomfortable than it was when the dynamic was completely off. This in between place is rather scary and nasty, and I start to wonder if we should call off the whole idea, as it were. I have learned that if I can get past this place, then things will be fine...but getting past the "in between" place is rather difficult.

I also started to wonder what *exactly* my fears were that popped up during the "in between" place. Of course, there were the obvious ones...whether O would be able to be available and consistent. For us, O's PTSD is often a concern. Worrying about whether I would get hurt.

But, to be honest, there are also deeper fears, such as: Does my wanting this make me a sick pervert? Would I become weak, dependent, and needy? Would O still like me if I became more submissive? Would she start to take me for granted? Would I become weak and dependent, and would O leave me that way, and I would be all alone in that state?

In thinking through these fears, I know that they really do not have any basis in reality...that I actually feel stronger and more confident when the dynamic is right, and that my relationship with O is *so* much better and more intimate when the dynamic is right, and that O has no intention of leaving me....but it is *so* hard to remember that when in the "in between" place.
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:44 pm

This is interesting to think about. I just wanted to say something so you knew I'd read it... I want to think more before I give more of a reply. Thanks for giving me something to think about. :hmmmmm:
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby Meg » Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:38 am

I have had some time to reflect on this some more since the time that I originally posted it, especially, as Obsidian and I are growing into our roles in a way that we have not done before, in large part from being here and from getting some really good insight and advice here.

Anyways...I think that one of the other fears that I have concerns the deep vulnerability of my submissive side and how easy it actually can be for that side to be brought out...even in every day life. In my everyday life, I can often come off as extremely assertive, almost aggressive, but sometimes, I wonder how much of that is a defense mechanism to protect my submissive side and keep it from getting triggered when I don't want it to be.

In everyday life, we do have to submit to others on a regular basis...bosses, teachers, police, judges...and so on. On the other hand, we can and do submit without necessarily tapping into a submissive state of being...if this makes sense. I do not know if any other bottoms experience this (although, I suspect that I am not alone here), but sometimes it is hard not to go into a submissive state of being unintentionally. I know that I have picked fights with authority figures, and I am certain that some of those fights have been to stop myself from falling into a bottom state...particularly, when I was not getting Topping from anyone.

In an explicit DD/TTWD or BDSM community...it is easy to *say*....for example, that O is really the only one who should Top me without *her* permission, but a lot of Topping and Bottoming is quite subtle and not so easy to recognize. Sure, no one would spank me or touch me without her permission, but there is much more to it than that.

On a rational level, I think the answer is *more* practice, not *less*, because the more that I am aware of my submissive side the easier it will be to control when and where it comes out.
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby Eayore » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:10 am

I am not sure if this relates to what you are describing (come to think of it, it probably doesn't) - but for me the difference between "submitting" to my boss, for example, and being "submissive" is all about the sexual energy I put into the latter.

In this sense, being submissive with anyone else but P is not really appropriate behaviour. I can turn it on (in my head) sometimes, but I will always see it as a private thing which only I know about, and not the person I am submitting to... or at least, so I hope.

Also, I can snap out of it in an instant.
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby Meg » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:50 am

No, Eeyore, it is not *exactly* what I am describing, although your post was helpful in giving me a launching point for comparison to talk this through. There is, or can be, a sexual component to it, particularly, in that I pretty much do not find anyone without at least *some* Top energy sexually attractive, even if they would be ordinarily sexually attractive to me, such as androgynous to extremely "Butch" women. On the other hand, I can slide into that state with those who I would ordinarily *not* be sexually attracted to, such as men and feminine women, if they exhibit Top energy or even a strong internal sense of authority.

I think it has to do with the level of psychic/emotional shielding I have around a person. At work, for the most part, when I am interacting with others, I have a pretty high level of shielding. The nature of my work is such that I get yelled at all day long, but unless there is a *huge* amount of other stress and/or I am hungry or extremely exhausted, most of that will just roll off my back. I can either defuse it without affecting me too much, or if it is necessary and appropriate at the moment, I can give back as much as I get.

On the other extreme, when I am in an extreme submissive state, I have little to no psychic/emotional shielding at all. I become *extremely* compliant and eager to please. If I am in that frame of mind, a hard word or even look from Obsidian can devastate me and praise from her will make me beam. Obsidian and I actually gave up on safewords because if I get to that state and things go badly, I am pretty much incapable of even thinking of using a safeword. For this reason, I do my best not to even go into this place with Obsidian unless I pretty darn certain that she is in the frame of mind where she protect me and care for me. Yes, it is inappropriate for me to go to this place with someone other than Obsidian, because that state of mine is *hers*, but it is also dangerous, because the extreme vulnerability makes it *very* easy for someone to hurt, use, manipulate, or otherwise take advantage of me. Even if someone else is well meaning, if that person is unaware of the state I am in, they can hurt me pretty badly, because I am so open.

There is a HUGE area in between these two states, as you might imagine. If I am relaxed or even not on guard, another person can take me down the submissive path, even quite unintentionally, and I may or may not be able to stop it. I know that there have been times I have picked fights to try to stop this slide, although, it often isn't until after the fight is over that I realize what was going on. It is more of a natural, somewhat unconscious defense mechanism for me.

I am particularly vulnerable to verbal reprimands and scolding. I have had to really work and negotiate with Obsidian about this, because if she reprimands or scolds me when my shields are down, and she does not follow through with a punishment to release the energy and aftercare to bring me back up, I can and have been left in a really *bad* place. There have been times where she has reprimanded me, I respond submissively, and she has thought she is being nice by "forgiving" me and not punishing me, and it feels almost cruel from my end, because I am left in a bad place. We have both done a lot of work through this, and Obsidian can now verbally correct me without a punishment and bring me back up, but it has taken a *long* time to work through that.

When I slide with people other than Obsidian, it is hard, because well, it is often someone in authority over me who has no awareness of it, and someone I could never talk to about it. I'll be honest, when I worked for other people, I have *always* been taken advantage of in some way, shape or form. Heck, even when I have had people work for me and under me, it often gets to the point where it feels like I am working for them rather than the other way around. If I can get to a point of feeling at least equal with a person who is taking me down a submissive mindset, I can regain my bearings, but often it is with people who in no way, shape, or form *see* me as an equal...so it is hard. It is also hard, because on a certain level, I *like* to go down the submissive path and can go into denial about it until it gets to a level that I can not deny that that is what has happened.

I don't know that this has made sense, but writing through it has helped me think through it in my own mind, which is helpful to me at least.
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:31 am

This is interesting to me. Some of what you describe sounds like my experience of switching (the "multiple" kind of switching, rather than the kink-related kind). That sort of trigger-response, not being fully under control, and knowing you will behave in very specific ways once a particular switch has happened....

I'm not saying it's exactly the same, that's just what's coming up for me as I read it. :cheesy:

I'm thinking about this submissive state you're describing.... I don't know that I go there very easily. I mean, that's not precisely true, since a raised eyebrow from W can send me there pretty quickly. But I don't find myself going there with anyone but her. For me, I think it's about trust, and different levels of trust. I can be in a subordinate position without actually feeling submissive. It's like I'm playing a game, or taking on a role fairly consciously. There's sort of an automatic barrier I've got up, so that I know that there are limits to the control my superior has.

I know that a lot of this is a legacy of getting through my childhood. I worked for years as a teenager to make the barriers in my mind between my mother and myself, and to be pretty subtle about them (because she didn't respond well to the idea that her kids--me, in particular, at the time--would be fully separate people). So it was really clear to me that I needed to keep my "self" separate from the mask or shell or whatever that appeared to be me. And so I kind of reflexively keep that more submissive aspect of myself separate.

But I also don't think that I have such a strongly submissive side to myself, at least not in the ways that you describe. Maybe it's part of being multiple.... I don't think most of the younger parts are very submissive, or, actually, I think the ones that *are* more submissive only come out in really controlled ways, because they're more vulnerable and fragile, and get devastated by doing things even a little bit wrong or making people who are important to them even a little bit upset. (Collective-I have worked on this in therapy, and made some progress, but even so....) And it's not so much that those younger parts are submissive in the way I usually think about, it's just that their responses are more like what you're describing.

A lot of other parts need to know that W is in authority, at least some of the time. But it's not so much that they're submissive as that they respond like teenagers and young kids when the adult in charge with them is not demonstrating being in charge. I've worked on this, as well, but it's a pretty common trigger that W behaving non-assertively will put me in a space of pushing and challenging to get her to be more authoritative, and it's hard for me to get relief from that until she is more strongly authoritative. And it's easier for collective-me to keep control over that reaction if W is doing fairly regular establishment of authority. The longer I go without her doing that, the harder it is to keep from acting out to get her to establish her authority.

Actually, now that I think of it, that's not precisely about me and W, since even before we were together (back in the barely-remembered mists of time at this point... :luvya: ) I would get to a point where I was desperate for that kind of establishment of authority, although I didn't fully recognize what was going on, and I really didn't have an outlet for those feelings. I did my best to meet those needs by myself, and it helped some, but it wasn't as effective as having someone outside of me giving me that experience.
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby Meg » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:22 pm

JigsawAnalogy wrote:I'm not saying it's exactly the same, that's just what's coming up for me as I read it


It's funny, JA, because as I was thinking about this while writing, I was thinking of you, and there are *some* similarities...but, as you said, it is not exactly the same.

I have been thinking about this today, and I think that *all* social interactions have a power dynamic of some sort, not just consensual power exchange or ttwd relationships or even just romantic relationships. Even though, in no way, shape, or form, do I think that all couples should practice ttwd, I do think that *all* couples should have conversations regarding the power dynamic between them.

As I was thinking, I thought that a number scale was a really good way to describe this, with 0 being totally submissive, 5 being equal, and 10 being totally dominant/in control. In thinking about the numerical scale, I realized if I am being in a natural state at rest, I tend to be at about 4, sometimes 3, and it is *far* easier for me to side down the scale than to rise up the scale. I also think that 4 is about all that is really safe when being out and about in the world, so to compensate, in public, and in most social situations, I push myself to be about a 6 or a 7, but it is tiring for me to be there. If I know that I am going to be in a situation where someone *may* be bringing me down and where it is not safe for that to happen, I bring myself to a 8, 9, or 10. Social situations tend to be *really* exhausting for me, and I think that this may be, in part, why. I am quite capable of taking a leadership role, but that role is really, really tiring for me as well.

Now, this is just my mental state

JigsawAnalogy wrote:I can be in a subordinate position without actually feeling submissive. It's like I'm playing a game, or taking on a role fairly consciously.

:yeahthat:

On the other hand, submissive behavior will often send me down the scale a little, so if I have to do that, I try to overcompensate there as well to allow for a little bit of a slide, if that makes sense.

I was thinking more about the sexuality aspect of this, and what relationship sexuality had to this. I think that, as a general rule, I can only really be sexually aroused when I am at a 2 or a 3, maybe up to 4, BUT I do not *always* feel aroused when I am there. Lower than 2, and it is almost a trancelike state. In the BDSM world, I think that this is called "subspace". Obsidian doesn't take me there often, and I don't think I go there with anything but a long, play spanking.

The more I think about this scale, the more I like it. I think that having this scale will help me a great deal in being able to see where I am at and to have more conscious control over it. It also gives me something concrete to communicate with Obsidian as to where I am at when I need to. She really liked the scale when I talked with her about it.
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby Meg » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:34 pm

I was thinking more about this....and I am starting to wonder if my worry/obsession with this has more to do with my own baggage regarding submission in general.

I was taught to be tough and strong and not to let anyone push me around. If I was picked on or teased at school, the response at home was to wonder what *I* had done wrong, and why was it that I couldn't defend myself. I was taught that in relationships, I ALWAYS had to be self-sufficient, because you could never really depend on anyone else. I was taught to question authority, and the worst possible insult in my family was, "Can't you think for yourself?" I later went into career fields, and am still in a career field, were I have to maintain a level of strength and authority.

It's funny, because one of the first things that I remember in discussing the differences in our families with Obsidian was related to the issue of crying. Crying was really not allowed in my family. I am an ugly crier, like Julia Roberts. My face gets blotchy and red for at least a half an hour after a good cry. I remember many times working really hard, splashing my face with cold water trying to hide the fact that I was crying. Anyways, early in our relationship, Obsidian and I had a big fight before visiting her family (I was more than likely a bit tense over the whole thing) and I started crying. I was appalled and could not go in until my face was somewhat back to normal. Anyways, Obsidian was really surprised at how nervous I was about that. She said that if her mother saw me crying she would give me a hug and comfort me, and if her father saw me crying, he would pat me on the shoulders for a minute or two and call her mother. I did not get or believe it.

In thinking through this, and some bad interpersonal interactions I have had, particular in situations when I start to feel submissive, I have noticed that until rather recently, maybe the last few years or so, as soon as I start to feel submissive with anyone other than Obsidian, I tend to start getting aggressive and combative, even in situations where submissive behavior is appropriate, like with at teacher or other authority figure. Actually, I would often do this with Obsidian as well.

I am just now starting to internalize that submission is not weakness, and that sometimes submission can take more strength than aggression does. I have noticed that in learning submission, I have been getting more comfortable with myself around others.

On another note, I am finding that the more I am practicing submission with Obsidian, a part of me seems to be coming out that I was not really aware of...a certain mischievousness and playfulness. I don't know how Obsidian feels about it....lol....I think that it is frightening her a little...lol.
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby Julia » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:24 am

On a less serious note...

On another note, I am finding that the more I am practicing submission with Obsidian, a part of me seems to be coming out that I was not really aware of...a certain mischievousness and playfulness


You mean you haven't always been an imp? Well, your latent impishness suits you very nicely anyway.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby Julia » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:30 am

On a more serious note:

I'm so glad you finally feel safe to explore this submissive side or your nature. I often think the amount of brain power and emotional energy we use up in repressing certain memories, characteristics or tendencies is quite exhausting.

I don't have much to say about the whole topic of this conversation at this stage but I did want you to know just how very beautiful submission is (in my eyes at least) and that it can be worn with a kind of dignity that few other conditions can match.

Lots of love,

Jx
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Re: Bottom Fears - The In Between Place

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:23 pm

I get what you mean about things like crying, and standing up for yourself. My family tended to dismiss my successes, because any kind of success in school required that I be sufficiently willing to submit to the authority of the school--you know, doing homework, following the rules at the school--which meant that the verdict was "you're not any smarter than _____, you're just compliant." So success meant I was less creative and individualistic than my siblings.

I think that being able to be sufficiently self-aware that we know what we need, and to ask our partners to help with it, and to stand up for ourselves does require a whole lot of strength, whether it manifests as being submissive or being more assertive. Re-writing that early training is hard stuff!
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