The caretaker that is now being taken care of

Caretaker D/s
© DeviantSuccubus

I am a natural caretaker. I love supporting others, giving them a safe space to just talk and vent in. As a matter of fact, for over four years I have volunteered in the mental health field, supporting those with serious mental illness and that needed someone to talk to. I am a trained active listener, and I even trained others and helped them develop that specific skillset. And before that, I have been the person my friends turned to when they needed a hug, a warm word, someone to not judge them. In my longest relationship up until now (it lasted for 12 years), I was definitely the caretaker, emotionally. I am not necessarily a fixer, in the sense that I actively take things into my own hands when I take care of someone. But I offer guidance and warmth. But what I really need is a caretaker in the D/s relationship I am in.

Relationship Dynamics

Being the caretaker can lead to all kinds of complications, however much you try to keep things balanced and have boundaries up, people can easily become dependent. Sometimes that is okay, other times it puts a strain on things. When I am supporting friends, or when I am supporting people in my volunteer work, I am able to walk away when I am not well enough and need some time for myself. Unfortunately that doesn’t always work, because you get this feeling of responsibility and you don’t want to leave anyone hanging.

I definitely have had moments where I felt incredibly guilty for not being able to be there for someone because I was an utter mess myself. In a romantic relationship that can become even more complicated. I was the emotional caretaker of someone who I helped to get clean from decades of drug addiction, someone who had had a terrible (very terrible) life and really needed someone to be there for him. I was there for him, and we built up a life together.

Things changed though. I fell apart and he was now expected to take care of me. It didn’t work out for so many reasons. When the dynamics in a relationship change, chances are that it becomes hard to keep the relationship afloat. I didn’t know how to ask for help because I have never in my life asked for help. I didn’t know how to make myself understood.

He, on the other hand, was utterly overwhelmed with the changed dynamics. I was not as able to take care of him anymore, and we both were lacking support and stability around us. That affected all other parts of our relationship, and eventually we drifted apart, emotionally. We are still friends today, and that makes it so much easier for me. I now can be there for him when I have the strength but I can also put boundaries up without feeling too guilty. There is also no need to share anything about myself because he is not around me all the time. I can wear the social mask.

The Social Mask

See, that is what I am generally doing. I’m wearing a social mask when I talk to others. I don’t show how I’m feeling, at all. It is safer that way. I don’t like the negative attention. I call it negative attention when someone focuses on how I’m feeling and is trying to support me. It makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable, vulnerable. I just feel safer when I keep my things to myself. So I am wearing the social mask, where I can pretend to be strong. I focus on the other person instead, support them, ask them questions. Most people are actually easily manipulated that way, they don’t realize that the whole conversation is about them, they feel good about getting the attention. And I can hide.

I know that the social mask is an unhealthy coping mechanism. I end up feeling lonely, and like no one cares about me. On the other hand, I also know deep inside that no one can really help me. My issues are kind of on another level than other people’s issues. The mental fuckery in my head is way too complicated for most people to understand. Every time I tried to open up, I got pity and made others feel guilty for using me as their support when I have it so much worse. So I rather stay quiet.

So I didn’t talk about what is going on with me, consequently, no one supported me. On the other hand, I supported everyone else. That distracted me from my own issues, but I ended up being stuck. I felt drained from supporting others, in my volunteer work, and in my private life, while I had no one to turn to.

Caretaker in D/s – I am the one being taken care of

Until! Until I met my current partner! Apart from being a sadistic Master, he is also a caretaker Dom, and in many ways a Daddy Dom. But we first started off as friends, and built up a safety bubble. I trusted him like I had never trusted anyone in my life. He was by my side when terrible things in my life happened, when I got triggered and went into unsafe places in my mind, when I got triggered and had flashbacks. He was by my side. And, oh my, that felt so very odd in the beginning because I had never opened up to anyone in my life. But he was there, and he didn’t leave. He loved taking care of me, to be there for me.

He didn’t judge me, but also never promised to be able to fix it for me. Instead he loved to get to know me, and he offered company and hugs. When our relationship went to the next level, I was at first worried that I would be too much for him, that I didn’t offer enough in the relationship. I was not used to being the one taking, I have always been the giver. He knew me though, he knew what he was getting into, and he still wanted to be with me.

Nowadays I know what I can offer in our relationship, what I can give him. Sometimes I still feel guilty about putting so much on him, that I need him so much. It helps to remind myself that he actually loves taking care of me, to guide me, to have my trust. That is what he thrives on. I can slide into a vulnerable space with him, I am not scared to be judged, to be abandoned.

Instead I can ask for hugs, I can be little, I can cry, I can be myself. I sometimes wished that I would be able to provide him with something similar. The only thing that I have come up with is to give him attention, to show interest in his life, and to never forget to ask how he is doing. Those are just small things, but they make me feel better about my role in our relationship.

I am not able to take care of others the way I used to be because I am too broken now. I still try, when I’m able to put boundaries up. There is still a strong caretaker in me. But for now, for now I can be the vulnerable little, or the broken adult, that gets taken care of. And that is okay, because it is safe.

This post is for the Food For Thought meme, the questions this week were:

When a friend/family member/partner is in need, how do you look after them?

Are you better at providing emotional or physical support?

How have others helped you?

Does helping others help you?


You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. @F4TFriday says:

    This bit: “So I didn’t talk about what is going on with me, consequently, no one supported me. On the other hand, I supported everyone else. That distracted me from my own issues, but I ended up being stuck. I felt drained from supporting others, in my volunteer work, and in my private life, while I had no one to turn to. ” resonates so much. And I also get how when dynamics in care change, it can be so hard for a relationship to fined a new balance.

    Thanks you for sharing this.

    • Thanks for reading <3 It can be really hard to find a balance for oneself and in one's relationships, in one way or another the support aspect is always somewhat skewed.

  2. jupitergrant says:

    I really identify so much with this, particularly when you talk about the “social mask” and your perception of any attention directed towards yourself as negative. I feel the same way, and am constantly deflecting attention and sympathy away from myself, in an effort to remain as inconspicuous as possible. Thus what you have articulated here, so eloquently, really speaks to me. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts.

    Oh, and P.S.: where can I find a “Daddy Dom” like yours? What you describe of your relationship with him here sounds like my idea of perfection! ?

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I think a lot of people feel that way: not wanting any attention because it would make them feel vulnerable.
      I am quite aware of how lucky I am to have a Dom who is wonderful at taking care of me, on so many different levels! I wasn’t even looking when I found him, it just happened. Life is great like that sometimes!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: