“If you can control a man’s thinking, you do not have to worry about his actions. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself . If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”
`George G. Woodson
(True both of consentual M/s and non consentual acts).
i’m going to botch the quote entirely, but someone at MasT said, “we can manage things, but control people.”
That was really interesting to me, especially because Sir Raven and i had just been talking on the train about that. Before her, people managed parts of my life. Sometimes, highly significant parts of my life, such as:
eating, exercise, smoking, bad habits, wandering off, binge smoking, sleeping, my ability to sort of go away in my head, and sometimes a highly significant amount of micromanagement.
You’d think that controlling these behaviors, especially all of them at the same time, would have meant that the person controlled me. Let’s leave the Abusive Crazy Person out of the mix. Let’s stick with the “nice” ex.
Just having someone control your eating behaviors is pretty huge, if you think about it. When you eat, how you eat, and the mother load of them all…WHY you are eating (or not). And then the same attention to exercise, sleeping, the whole list above. You’d think the “nice” ex would have been on my mind constantly and would have had control of me, right?
i wasn’t thinking about her, not really. i wasn’t thinking about what would please her. What i was thinking about was her belt and how much i hated it. When each new thing she wanted to micromanage was added, there was a two or three week span that i was absolutely convinced that i could outlast her will. Wear her down. Get away with it. And i pushed, pushed, pushed back.
i pushed because it frightened me to give up something i had depended on to deal with my feelings (true of each thing on that list). i pushed to see how serious she was because my biggest fear, the deepest and darkest one, was the fear that i would be able to break her down. Wear her out. Get my way. And so, before i could commit to the new Big Thing, we had a battle of the wills. Eventually, after two or three weeks, i would get it that she meant exactly what she said. i could not actually convince her to not use that belt. And i certainly tried. i’m charming, you realize.
After that, i would settle down and get on board with whatever. i developed better habits and those things became valuable to me. Screw ups were very rare.
Sir Raven asserts that this sounds like the very definition of “I beat you because I love you.” Frankly, i would agree.
The thing is, other than the going away in my head part, i would have agreed that what i was doing (or not doing) was self-destructive to some extent. Not self-disciplined. i would agree that what Barbara (aka the “nice” ex) wanted was right. It’s not as if she was forcing me to do things that i thought was morally wrong or something.
But Barbara didn’t have control over me.
When it came down to it, i walked away.
When it came down to it, there was always my family who could have-and did-call with some need that i prioritized over her.
i told her “fuck you” with my behaviors at times and that is exactly what i meant by some of it…the binge pot smoking with my mother, for one. She was never the strongest voice in my head or i wouldn’t have let myself get talked into some really stupid things like that.
She always knew, because i was honest about it, that there was a chance i would leave her.
In some ways, i resented that she wanted control, but refused to take responsibility for what was going on. i felt, if she wanted a slave, she needed to work on herself first and accept herself. i couldn’t give her carte blanche control when she said that isn’t what was happening. i couldn’t respect that because it was total bullshit. i cared for her but i did not respect her. What i did respect was her belt. It’s not at all the same thing. (Can both things happen? Yes, of course. Just not with that person.)
For a time, it became obvious to me here with Sir Raven, that i had internalized a value system which said, basically “if you won’t beat me for doing X (or not doing it), then you are not serious. It doesn’t really matter to you. Therefore, it does not have to really matter to me.”
Sir Raven says this whole thing sounds utterly exhausting. i think that if i were a Master, i’d rather deal with beating a bitch down for a couple of weeks to get what i wanted rather than waiting for them to “get it”. That, for me, would be exhausting. i’d be a bit of a Bitch, i think, if i was a Master.
From Sir Raven’s standpoint, she would rather have me change my own thinking, come around to her ways, without having to beat it into me. She is willing to be patient, but the burden of changing is on me. While i was thinking about it, i would say what we have could be termed a discipline dynamic.
She provides structure and sets the tone for…well….damn near everything. It is always an interesting thing to me at MasT when you have that moment in the slave circle where people are kind of shocked at what has become your normal.
There have been a few occasions that she displayed her displeasure through beating me because i clearly couldn’t understand anything else in that moment. But after that, it was on me to keep the message in my head. To put that message in the proper priority based on what i knew or understood. And to keep doing it (or not, as the case may be).
Someone mentioned at MasT that “its not as if my Master is in my head,” and my mouth fell open. Wow. i can’t imagine doing this thing we do without her voice in my head.
They cannot imagine living in an atmosphere where how i feel takes a backseat to whatever needs to be done. Once, i said to her, “i’m really frustrated today. If i seem angry, its not about you.” Without skipping a beat, she said, “I’m not sure why you are telling me this because it is definitely not going to effect me. I need something done, you will get it done. I don’t care how you feel about it.”
i thought about it and realized immediately that, actually, i didn’t think how i was feeling was more important than what she wanted or needed.
We had a really good day yesterday and then, last night, i related something really important that had occurred earlier. i understood pretty quickly that i had absolutely misunderstood her desires. i had responded to something someone said based off what i had seen her do before and trying to respect her sense of privacy. i understood that i had done something wrong and was flustered that she wouldn’t speak to me about it. i’m not at all a crier or prone to outbursts so its a highly unusual thing for me to get that upset.
So, i sat here, tearing up, and looking up information she wanted on the computer at the same time. So, yes, she has control. i have internalized her value system enough that when i get it wrong, it is profoundly upsetting to me. i have an intensely hard time “moving on” or letting my failures go. i imagine a part of that is because there often is not a physical punishment that tells me i can move on. i have a really hard time with that, even though what i have messed up on was not about me being willful. If i was deliberately, willfully defying her, i don’t believe she would let that fly. At all.
i just can’t think of a time where i have done that. i struggle, yes, but i follow any direct order. i pay close attention to the energy i put out, which sometimes takes a lot of effort. i pay attention to the things that matter to her over what i might think is important. i have to pay more attention to how i’m feeling and be more self-aware than when i am just serving someone without feeling anything. When you look at those things collectively, you can see that it speaks to a lot of control.