30 Days of Submission – Day 6: The Roots of my Submission
What do you feel are the roots of your submission? Do you think it has something to do with childhood? Is it a relationship management tool as in the practice of domestic discipline? Is it a sexual thrill or something else?
The roots of my submission are definitely to be found in my childhood. We always seek the familiar so we can feel safe and know how to react and how to behave. That is quite a common human tendency. For someone who has been through childhood abuse, it can take different forms than for someone who has had a healthy and warm upbringing. There are many reasons for this, and there even is something called trauma addiction. It is that your body is so used to the endorphins of constant threat and abuse, that it seeks to experience those levels of endorphins again. It is not even to get a physical or mental high: it is to feel normal. So I think, for me, it is a combination of both: seeking the familiar and trauma addiction.
I was sexually, physically and emotionally abused as a child. The sexual abuse happened between the ages of 3 and 11. The physical abuse stopped when I was 14, the emotional unfortunately continued much longer. But even when the abuse at home ceased, I went through different kinds of abuse at school and in relationships. It is like I was drawn to people who would hurt me, and I wouldn’t stand up for myself when I got bullied, hurt, sexually or physically abused. I repeated the pattern subconsciously by not taking control, by being around unsafe people. Basically, all through my childhood and my formative years, I got conditioned into certain behaviours, into being able to handle emotional and physical pain (mainly through dissociation).
So having all that as my background, my familiar is very different from what others would say what would make them feel at home, safe and in their element. And that is okay. To redo the kind of conditioning I have been through, I would need decades of therapy. I mean, I have C-PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder because of the trauma I had to live through, it would take a huge amount of effort and time to process everything, to move forward and not let my trauma define me.
Seeking the familiar could be potentially dangerous, as I could end up with an abuser easily again. I could get seriously hurt. But in my submissive role, in a D/s-connection, the familiar can be very safe. My brain and my body are used to pleasing someone else, to be the inferior in a connection, to get hurt, to feel a constant hypervigilance. Those are all not things that anyone would experience in a vanilla relationship.
I need a strong father-figure, someone who guides me, who punishes me, someone who hurts me. In the submissive role in a D/s-relationship, I can get those needs met, but in a safe space. Nothing is abritary, everything is controlled and negotiated. I helped build the framework for it, and in strong contrast to the abuse I have been through, I have a safeword. I can make it stop. So while being submissive means giving up control, to me, being submissive in a consensual D/s relationship, actually means gaining more control than I have ever had. I might be reenacting my trauma, but I eliminated the potential for retraumatization. I also feel like stricter rules in the D/s relationship could not only help me manage my every day life better, they could also help me manage my mental health issues better.
Sexually, I am also very much conditioned by my trauma. Not only has the abuse giving me the strong willingness and ability to always be sexually available, it has also taken away my the possibility to enjoy vanilla sex. So, I need high levels of endorphins to just feel “normal”. But what do I need to actually feel something more than just that? What do I need to feel pleasure, or anything, really? I need more than just normalcy.
And that is where the submission in the bedroom comes in. I need pain, I need to feel controlled, helpless, I need to feel used and fucked roughly. That is when I feel sexual pleasure. Again, this could potentially lead to ending up in dangerous situations,. So being in a D/s connection makes it possible for me to feel sexual pleasure, but in a safe space, where I still hold some control, by having a safeword.
I think for me it is most important that I know where my submission is rooted, so I know how to stay safe. It also helps me a lot with the communication in my relationship. I don’t want to push it away, I am actually accepting of that I am the way I am today, because of the things that I have been through. BDSM and D/s dynamics can be healing for those who have been through childhood trauma. but it is so very important that we are with someone who is safe.
(I wrote this post on my mental health advocay blog a while ago, on reenactment, trauma addiction and retraumatisation, if anyone wants to do some further reading)
I am doing the 30 Days of Submission meme/challenge. If you are interested in doing it too, check out this link which has all the questions ready to be used!