When dominants fuck up.

Yet another thought provoking and moving post from CoyoteToo. I swear, some days I wonder is this man the only male-identified dominant writing about their emotional journey on the net? Seriously, if you know of another, please clue me in the comments here. :-)

Anyway, he posted something today and you should read all of it here.

But the part that poked a hole in the dam on my stream of thought was this:

Despite the pain. Despite the self-doubt. He must carry both pain and guilt together; they are one. That is the responsibility he took on when he entered into the relationship. If the relationship is to continue he must heal their shared pain the only way possible; by proving to himself, and to her, that Trust is justified; that he still deserves to be her Master.

Masters are people, too. People fuck up. Masters aren’t super(ior) beings; they are simply people who have taken on a certain responsibility.

So you fuck up, and yes it sucks.  But to assume the full brunt of the duty for “fixing it” does a disservice to the parties involved in the relationship.

This is not to excuse the responsibility of the master to Address, Assuage, Apologise and Advocate.

  • Address the misstep
  • Assuage the fears and reactions
  • Apologise, SPECIFICALLY, for the error.
  • Advocate for a behavioral shift that will help a repeat of the situation.

The slave / submissive has responsibilities, too.

To communicate the hurt. To listen for the apologies, to accept them, to truly forgive, and to re-direct the discussion if forgiveness is not forthcoming. And to accept the terms of forgiveness and to self-advocate, too, so that all involved parties can “move on.”

For the master who understands the value of trust, yes, the act of emotional violation is painful. And, I believe, that is as it should be.

Both master and slave have protocols behind which they can “hide,” but I suggest protocol is merely the platter on which the meat of the relationship is served. Without protocol, you’d still have the meat: messy, oozing, and hard to handle, but it is still there. Protocol gives you a place from which to consume the meat of the interaction.

To use protocol as a defensive mechanism is a medicine best taken judiciously.

Protocol can become a prison in which all those involved are, unhappily, trapped.

A fuckup doesn’t make one unworthy of trust.

It makes one human.

Letting the fuckup run the game CAN erode trust.

Abusing trust makes one unworthy.

Using human weakness as an excuse for continued, repeated fuckups is damming.

But does being human make one unworthy? Nah. Not in my book.

Here’s the thing. (And this might sound like heresy) The submissive / slave also has the ULTIMATE say on whether the master / owner is “worthy” to own them.

Removing yourself, as a master / owner, because of YOUR perceived faults does a disservice to the dynamic you are working to create.

It is not just for a master / owner to remove themselves from the presence of their property in such a way as to cause damage.

Before any owner assumes that they “aren’t worthy” I firmly believe a check-in is in order.

This is akin to the people who do the whole “I’m not good enough for you. You can do better. You’ll be happier without me.” Thing which I consider “Shenanigans” and “Chickenshit Tactics” to put it mildly.

In the situation as outlined by CoyoyeToo, however, it is evident to me, based on what he has generously shared, that they ARE talking thought this particular transgression, and that is a remarkable thing to be able to “see,” if only from a distance.

I, for one, am grateful to see this being shared.

Thank you again, Coyote.

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  1. Psycosis on December 15, 2009 at 3:32 PM

    If a couple switches count mine and I have been trying to get our feelings out there a bit more. Mainly me. I’m horrible about keeping up with a journal and blogging has been much the same struggle. And given how this day started [still working on getting it down], Coyote Too and you have been giving me food for thought.
    .-= Psycosis´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…A Bit About Psycosis =-.

  2. terri on December 15, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    “is this man the only male-identified dominant writing about their emotional journey”

    in my personal view – the vast majority of people do not process (nevermind analyze) on the meta-level he is. generally speaking anyone who’s not an accountant gets put off by that level of analysis.

    in my personal experience of kink – DAMN few write about the view from “the inside”. some may cover what they did or the result of how they were angry or hurt etc. but *not* about the mechanics; not the actual rube goldberg process of how it moved and the transformations it went through. vast majority of people cant/dont tolerate that level of detail.

    my observation of people as a whole (and this is very much a sweeping generalization) men emotionally have a smaller box of crayons. they have less adjectives/less differentiations for how they feel. from what i’ve seen, women tend to have a much bigger box of emotional crayons with many more shades between midnight blue and palest sky blue.

  3. Coyote Too on December 15, 2009 at 5:55 PM

    You’re right, I focused a bit much on “the Dom must suck it up and deal with it”, veering into the macho. The fact is, the use of protocol, the continuance of trust, and the communication (both in what she blogged, and what we discussed), all helped the healing process. In the end–it all shows that the person still cares. Still it is hard to ask for support when you feel you should be giving it. And sometimes it’s just plain hard to say you need support at all. I am working on better ways to tell my partner when I need them to push a little harder into what’s bothering me than they might otherwise.

    I particularly like your Address, Assuage, Apologize and Advocate list, and the comments on the submissive’s responsibilities. What struck closest to home, however, was this.

    “Removing yourself, as a master / owner, because of YOUR perceived faults does a disservice to the dynamic you are working to create….This is akin to the people who do the whole “I’m not good enough for you. You can do better. You’ll be happier without me.” Thing which I consider “Shenanigans” and “Chickenshit Tactics” to put it mildly.”

    That’s the standard, “I don’t want to hurt you, so let’s back off a bit.” It may be true, but it’s not a unilateral decision, it’s a joint one. And that was definitely an aspect of my own error.

    Thank you for you insight.

  4. Erinkyan on December 15, 2009 at 6:27 PM

    For what it’s worth, I’m a male dominant blogging about my D/s journey :) I’m not quite up to writing tonnes of very deep things but I imagine that will come with time… my blog is still a baby.

  5. terri on December 16, 2009 at 7:54 AM

    “Address, Assuage, Apologise and Advocate” these are all people skills; expressing and moving past a hurt very much people skills. which affirms for me something i’ve said privately many times: we are PEOPLE who wish to play in the d/s arena.

    the “people” part comes first because first and foremost that’s what we are! and first and foremost its THOSE skills & needs that will impact the success in d/s (using d/s to signify a relationship that is anything other than a two hour beat on the body, physical only situation. tons of people happily have those based solely on technical skills)

    being able to look inside YOUR own person closet to recognize what you see, feel, think, like, hate [and part of this is knowing what parts of you must match up with the other one; as example i dont have to have philosophical agreement on 401k investments for a dom to own me. but i do expect compassion if i say aw damn its $4,000 to fix my car.) and then the people skills of expressing that so someone else can hear you the way _you intend it to be heard_ and making sure it was heard that way. being able to reconcile what youre willing to be with what the other person needs.

    the situations i see fail are so often failing because they came together as top/bottom and are struggling with the people aspect. this one cant fill that need of the other and neither party has evolved enough to be able to look inside their own person closet to figure out what’s there, what’s wanted; nevermind figure out what the other guy is offering them.

    its not enough that one wants to wield a whip and one wants to be the target if the two parties cant converse any of the expectations or results encompassing that one hour experience. it strikes me very much as putting the cart before the horse to even try… yet its exactly what i see happening ALL the time.

    i would love to see bdsm classes/conventions include the vanilla stuff of listening, communication, maslow’s heirarchy even. its crucial as people to have those skills; nevermind as people wielding sticks & stones.

  6. Britni TheVadgeWig on December 16, 2009 at 12:39 PM

    Most Doms don’t want to write because it pulls back the curtain on the strong, unwavering facade of control that so many have. My Dom writes posts on my blog, if you ever want to check them out. They’re all tagged with His name, Profligacy, and you can find them here: http://britisstillshameless.blogspot.com/search/label/Profligacy