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Anger and BDSM

Written by Screamer. Posted in BDSM Related Articles


Part One - Dealing with your anger as a submissive

(Disclaimer:  A rare thing for me.  D/s is fluid, and different for everyone.  This essay may not work in your personal relationship, and that's okay.  Parts of it may work, some may not.  That's okay too.  I can only write from my own experience, which is always what I do.  ALWAYS, if you are in a dangerous situation, one in which you feel you might be harmed, it's best to remove yourself until such time as you again feel safe)

Regardless of the super-model version of the saintly submissive, we're all human.  We experience all human emotions - joy, fear, sadness, and yes - anger.

So, what, as a submissive, do you do with that anger, when called upon to serve?

I guess this is really in two parts - anger not involving your dominant, and anger *with* your dominant.

Now, for me, the first one is pretty easy.  If I'm angry at someone at work, or I'm angry with my car, or the parking situation or the bank, I'm going to handle it the same in a D/s relationship as I do anywhere else.  I'm going to feel it, and try to resolve it.  Sometimes, the best way for me to resolve or get past anger is to work myself up to crying.

In a D/s relationship, you have someone you can go to, and ask "Please make me cry" and who probably won't turn your down <grin>.

I realize that this is not possible for everyone, in all situations, but it sounds good, eh?

Let's take an example: a submissive has had a horrible day at work.  Arrives home, heads for the kitchen to prepare the evening meal.  Nothing is going right for her that day.  Not only was work bad, but her car is acting funny and she's out of garlic.  The dominant arrives home, sits down, starts reading his paper, while the submissive is banging pots and pans around and cussing quietly under her breath.  The dominant strolls out to the kitchen to find out why the submissive hasn't brought him his nightly beverage yet.  The submissive looks up, from the middle of the kitchen floor, surrounded by pots and lids and saran wrap and a nasty looking knife.

Does the submissive:
a) jump up, apologize profusely and fetch the beverage, setting aside her anger to serve?
b) growl quietly and go back to playing with the shiny saran wrap
c) look at the knife, look at the dominant and smile
d) start crying, throw her hands in the air and mumble unintelligibly

Now, my guess is, in most situations, its A or D.  If you chose B or C, then maybe some anger management classes are in order? <grin>.  Let's just deal with A and D for now.

A. Jump up, apologize and fetch.  This is a case of setting aside your anger to serve.  It's admirable, and it's probably the solution that most of us find acceptable in this situation.  But how healthy is it, to not deal with it?  I would go along with A, providing that the submissive asked for some quality talk time later to communicate with her dominant that she had an awful day, and would appreciate some patience while she works through the issues.

D.  Start crying and mumbling.  This is what I usually FEEL like doing, when confronted with this situation.  Anger usually makes me feel very 'put upon' and having one more person ask me for one more thing is more than likely going to push me right over the edge.  I have only once, in seven years, taken anger out on a Dominant, and it was at his behest that I did so.  Usually, if it's not the dominant causing the anger, I rarely feel the need to explode all over him.

So, having said all that, what's truly healthy?

Talking.  Communicating.  If you do not feel up to communicating in the manner in which your relationship demands, then ask for a time out until you *do* feel ready.  If your relationship does not allow for that, then take a few deep, cleansing breaths and try to explain yourself without hysterics.  Chances are, your dominant will understand the bad day at work.  Maybe his boss was a real bastard that day, too <grin>

D/s relationships should be built on honest communication and trust.  If you can't trust your dominant enough to be able to share your anger and frustration with him, maybe you're in the wrong relationship.  Above all, always, make sure that your needs are well fed in all areas - including this one.

Now let's look at the other side of this - when you're angry, and it's your dominant that you're angry with.

First of all, it's okay.  Dominants, contrary to popular net-history, are not perfect creatures.  They err, just like the rest of us do.  While we, as submissives, would like to believe that they always have our wants and needs forefront in their minds, like any good relationship, we must realize that they are humans first, dominants second.

Again, this situation calls for honesty.  I don't think there's a Dominant in the world who wants his submissive to sit, smiling up at him and say "No, there's nothing wrong, Master" when there is.  Conversely, anger does *not* give you the right to take on the dominant role in the relationship and start berating your dominant for coming home five minutes late from work.  There's a middle ground there.  And what's it called?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Communication.  There.  You knew I was going to say it again, didn't you?

Mentally and emotionally, from a submissive standpoint, I know that it's difficult for a submissive to even *be* angry with her dominant, unless what is causing the anger borders on "harm".  We want them to be godlike creatures, capable of making all of our dreams come true, but in most cases, they're just like any other person on the planet.  They do screw up.

They forget to call.  They forget our birthday.  They over-estimate your weight.  They tell you that you looked better as a blonde.  They take on another submissive and forget to tell you about it...

Whoops.  That's another issue, huh.

The anger from the first part of that paragraph is silly old human error.  There's nothing that can be done to prevent it, and these things will always happen, no matter whom you're with.

And then there's the last thing.  This is the kind of anger that I'm really referring to here.

How does one express this kind of anger to their Dominant, without appearing to be topping from the bottom or leaving their submissive role entirely?  It's not easy.  Trust me, I speak from experience.  It's very easy to want to point your finger and start with the "You, you, you" thing, but it's not the right approach (submissive or vanilla!) and it won't solve anything.

In my experience, it's best to handle this kind of anger the way you'd handle it if you were a married vanilla couple.  Take some time to gather your thoughts.  If you can't do this, then at least try to remember that you have a relationship with this person and if you have any hope of continuing the relationship, remember that you *are* the submissive in the relationship.

Some things that could happen would make it so that you didn't *want* to continue the relationship.  You *could* feel free to speak your mind - yell, scream, cry, berate - but I'd still caution against that.

You submitted to this person of your own volition and your own free will.  You did that, obviously, because you trust them, care for them and respect them.  Always try to keep that in the forefront of your mind while dealing with a heated issue such as infidelity, or non-monogamy.   You may well decide to end the relationship, if the issue is strong enough to you.  That decision lies in your hands.  But make sure that you've got the big picture in mind before you run.  And be sure that you allow the dominant the opportunity to communicate to *you* why whatever-has-happened, has happened.  You may not know the whole story, and you owe it to yourself to get it.

I've heard of folks in D/s situations giving each other an "anger" card.  They each get one, and when a situation arises that they are too upset to discuss at the time, they hand the other the card, and the other agrees to wait for the anger to subside so that the communication can begin.  I think this is a good tool for folks who might have trouble communicating in other ways - kind of like a safeword for anger.

You have to talk for the anger to go away.  Set aside the D/s if you have to, but talk about it like two adult human beings.  If you fear physical retribution, it's best to vacate the premises until such time as you feel it's safe to return.  If you fear emotional retribution, it may be best to leave as well.  Anger has a tendency to turn into guilt at the hand of a skilled manipulator.  Be aware of it, rather it's possible in your relationship or not.

You should never be afraid to share your innermost, deepest feelings with your Dominant.  These feelings are not always going to be gushing with joy and causing sexual stirrings with each other.  Sometimes, they're down in the gutter of human emotions.  Those need to come out, too.  Having the freedom to express yourself sexually means you also have to take responsibility for the rest of your emotions as well.

Be well, be happy, be talking!

Screamer © December 3, 2000, The Screamer Girl.  All Rights Reserved.  Reprinted with permission by the author.

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