I was recently in a Twitter discussion regarding self-esteem. A question being that : How can a a sub maintain healthy self-esteem in a D/s relationship as an “Inferior”?
I think there is a lot of language used, especially online, which comes across this way. But the reality should be a little different.
Relationships are different
A lot of D/s dynamics are ultimately different and there are different feelings that a submissive (and Dominant) would want to feel, or not feel.
I feel what doesn’t help at times is the confused blur between fantasy and reality. Whether you either get wrapped up too much in what the fantasy is (you are worthless, pitiful, live in a cage to come out only to serve) or some of the online tropes.
So, often online you might see part (and ‘part’ is the key word here) of someone’s relationship or dynamic play out.
You might see subs or Dominants continue a little bit of role play or, shall we say, persona.
I do, sometimes, feel wrong vibes can be given out – but regardless of whether it’s a symbol of *their* relationship; or a packaged fantasy for sale – this isn’t what YOUR relationship/dynamic/fantasy has to be like.
It might just mean their style, expectancies, etc. is not for you.
The right ‘feelings’ in a relationship
If you are in a relationship where you feel inferior, worthless, degraded, useless all the time – and do not want this – the question has to be if this is the right relationship, or if it’s on the right path.
Relationships should ultimately make you both/all feel good. If they don’t, something is amiss.
Obviously termination of a relationship shouldn’t be the default option, but certainly raising how you feel.
From there – there’s three options.
1) It’s because the Dominant is doing actions making you feel a certain way and they need to change this.
2) It’s because you are feeling a certain way and need to change how you feel about these.
3) It isn’t going to work – styles/traits are non-compatible and, sadly, the relationship must end.
In option (1) there’s multiple reasons.
Dominants are only human and don’t get everything right and something they thought was OK might not be OK with you. Equally, they may even be doing something they thought you liked.
In option (2) this is more complex and it’s important to avoid negging or gaslighting.
But if you’re not happy it’s important to try to work through it both with your Dominant and mentally assessing what you’re happy and not happy with and whether your expectations are fair.Under (3) a sad truth is that maybe neither of you did anything “wrong” and that something that seemingly would work, doesn’t, for whatever reason.
What is in play isn’t always out of it
Within play, a lot of things happen. Sometimes assumptions can be made and sometimes there is a desire to do certain things or feel a certain way.
Some people want to be degraded, to be made to feel worthless, useless, inferior.
But, it’s also why aftercare is important, to bring the sub back around and remind them they are valued and the time was enjoyable and they’re not *really* some of the things was perhaps implied they were. I do have a blog coming very soon regarding aftercare and it’s importance.
If you are struggling
There are of course things to always try to factor a little on your own if you are struggling.
I would assume that you think your Dominant is amazing. Amongst the most amazing people you know.
Well. They’re spending time with you. They’re spending time on you. They’re doing things which ultimately benefits your relationship together.
And that – this person you think is wonderful and amazing wants to plan things with you – that’s got to be good for the esteem? Yes?
Of all the subs in the world they’ve chosen to call you, or go to an event with you, or film with you or spend time with you (I’m disregarding tributed sessions as, whilst they are valuable time together – and being accepted for a session can be wonderful. It’s something that feels less special overall if just anyone can buy the experience) and that’s got to feel special.
And, while I didn’t want to make this about me – it’s why I feel so blessed the last few months as I’ve met wonderful people who really make me feel like they want to do stuff – and that’s a massive boost.
Don’t rely on others anyway
We shouldn’t rely on others for our self-esteem anyway. Knowing our own worth, our own value and being happy within ourselves is much healthier than placing this on other people.
Then people don’t need to feel they need to make decisions to make you happy, moreso, a much easier avoiding things that make you unhappy.
That also, that, relying on other people has it’s own problems if they’re not available for whatever reason.
If you need help
Ultimately, nobody can force you to feel a certain way. You are in control of your own actions and own thoughts. Whilst, someone’s actions can influence your thoughts – it’s up to you what you do about it. If it’s damaging to your esteem, then something isn’t right. You need to recognise this and make the changes you need to as above. If needed, there are assorted self-help guides exist which can help you with your own self-worth – in turn these are good, because it can help you avoid being stuck in scenarios you’re not happy with.
Obviously all of the above does not count for genuine cases of abuse (physical, psychological, manipulation, etc.) which is another matter entirely.