Yesterday I blogged Know What You Want. Today I want to talk about a really valuable skill in being a Dom, and that is this: once you know what you want, stop when you get it. What I mean here is that it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of the moment, and in a heated exchange it’s easy to develop an intense desire to not just get what you want, but to win. And not just to win, but to humiliate or even utterly destroy your opponent.
I’ve had some business dealings in which I turned longtime enemies into new friends simply by knowing what I wanted and then stopping once I got it. I left plenty of other things on the table for them to take, and I even made presents of some of them to show my goodwill. Sure, I’ve had people try to take advantage of me and of this approach, but there’s ways of dealing with that, and these are people who do not value investing in a further relationship anyway.
And that’s sort of my point: if you value the relationship, go into a confrontation knowing what you want and leave as much on the table for the other person as you can. Stop when you have what you want.
- Do you want to vent your anger, or fix the problem?
- Do you want to teach your sub a lesson she’ll never forget (or forgive), or do you want to enjoy corrected behavior in the future?
- Do you want to win the fight, or save your marriage?
Note: These aren’t always mutually exclusive, of course. Sometimes you can have both. Sometimes you want both but can have neither. I could write about this topic for days. For new, let’s just focus on those times when you want both, but you’re hurt and angry and upset that, in the cases I just listed, you want the first half so badly you’re willing to sacrifice the second, but in calmer times you understand that the sacrifice is far too great a price to pay in the long run.
Beth and I have matured and evolved through D/s. At first I didn’t dare correct her until I was perfectly calm and rational. I didn’t want to lose the war just to win a battle. I didn’t trust myself not to go too far, and I didn’t trust Beth not to recoil or withdraw from the interaction.
Now we have both reached the point where I can punish her while I am still annoyed with her. In fact, it strengthens the intensity of the correction if she hears a bit of ferocity when I’m using my Dom Voice. But this is only possible because of the maturity and the trust that I will still stop at exactly the point I intended to reach. I don’t spank her until she’s screaming in terror, or tongue lash her until she’s an emotionally-abused wreck. And when I do let annoyance into my punishment, I control it. Swats are as hard as necessary, but not harder. When scolding, I chastise her behavior, not her character.
For example, one spanking was punctuated with “When. I. Say. Do X. I Expect. X. To Get. Done!” I haven’t had to worry about X ever since! Once when Beth was being contrary to me while I was arguing with someone else, I waited for the other person to step away for a moment and then growled low at her: Quit throwing me under the bus. That’s all it took to get her attention and redirect her energy, so I stopped.
In the second example, she didn’t realize she was doing it and was startled by the correction. As soon as we were done with the other person I pulled her to me and gave her a big hug and told her I loved her and she was my good girl and I appreciated her attention to detail. (Months later, when she corrected me unnecessarily about the sprinklers, I didn’t feel the need to correct her in the moment and we had already established some expectations on her presenting a united front with me, so all it took was a “hey, are you okay?” after the fact to achieve all the correction necessary.)
Knowing when to stop is an essential ingredient for any Dom to learn to trust themselves. Beth has asked me to wield dangerous power over her; I owe it to her to learn to control it well.