30 Days of D/s,  Experience,  Opinion

Handling Negative Emotions in My D/s Relationship

This post is #8 in my 30 Days of D/s series. If you’d like to read more, please visit my 30 Days of D/s page for the complete inventory of posts. 

How do you deal with negative emotions?

Negative emotions are part of being human.They aren’t all bad. In fact, they can be necessary to life…the litmus tests of our experience.

Though some of us are better at handling them than others, I would not count myself among them. I have a tendency to do everything, emotionally, that I “shouldn’t.” I get angry, jealous, resentful, fearful, doubtful, etc., very easily, and I don’t come out of it quickly. I stew on it, wrestle with it, and find that several emotions like to get in on the action at the same time, making it complicated to figure out how I feel so that I can also figure out why.

I also tend not to be very logical when I’m emotional, so dealing with me when I’m “in a state” can be difficult. As such, you can image that Mr. D and I have had “problems.” What with my avoidance of conflict, I tend to stuff emotions down for long periods of time, until I have several unruly ones to deal with at once (usually over a multitude of things). Or, I slip into depression, because I’m overwhelmed by it all.

I can compartmentalize a lot of things, but usually not my emotions. They bleed into everything, taking up far too much space in my brain. And I struggle with talking to others about them.

Of course, that comes from a childhood of “sucking it up.” I’m not going to go on a rant about how my parents expected me to “stop crying” when I was frustrated or angry, or how they ultimately taught me (through meticulous modeling) to stuff my emotions down until they exploded in an inappropriate show of hostility. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time explaining that to a therapist, and it hasn’t changed much.

I do think I do a better job of holding my emotions in check during an argument than I ever used to. That, of course, doesn’t mean I’m “dealing” with the emotions any better, it just means I’m not exploding as much or as often. I’m still swallowing them…wallowing in them. But once I do, I’m trying to listen to them better.

How do you expect things to be different in D/s? 

I expect negative.emotions to be something I am required to deal with and manage, since they create strife for me and for us. And I do expect that He will help me to do this, as it is important for both of us to have a harmonious marriage.

I guess the difference is, that it becomes a responsibility in my list of “growth” expectations, rather than just a problem or personality flaw that causes strife in our relationship.

I know where my bad habits come from. But, I don’t have a good plan to deal with them, other than to try to be more self-aware. When the emotions hit, it’s my job to notice them and deal with them…to bring them to the table and talk about them when I’m ready. Forcing me to talk or punishing me for my inability to process emotions won’t be very effective, but when my head is in the “submissive mindset,” I am less likely to argue or talk back or be disrespectful. Because of that, I’m also more likely to listen and to do what I’m told. Which means, I am also easier to talk to when I’m emotional (or so I think…Mr. D may disagree.) The only problem is, I’m also more likely to feel emotions like guilt and shame (as a result of showing other emotions) because I’ve disappointed Him. They usually dissipate once He has voiced or shown forgiveness, and the time I have to wait for that is plenty of consequence.

Having an argument when we are actively Dominant and submissive within our marriage is different that when we aren’t. I’m more likely to check myself and be more respectful, which is a good thing. It helps me control my tongue and I don’t lash out like I might normally. The power dynamic doesn’t just “put me in my place,” it encourages me to think before I speak.

Negative emotions are not bad. They are simply a sign that I am reacting to the world around me. If I can stop and immediately ask myself, “Why am I feeling this way?” they can be used as a tool to improve how I react, to change current behaviors and future reactions, and to have conversations about it.

When I become immediately angry or defensive or jealous, it’s usually a knee-jerk reaction to fear. Irritability is usually related to stress. Guilt is the result of a perceived wrong.

But the one that probably drives Mr. D the most crazy is impatience. I have a tendency to want things done a certain way and have a hard time waiting for it. Just this weekend, we had a run in with this emotion.  wanted something done right away, but He needed to accomplish an important task and had made that clear prior. When I continued to push for it to be done, He lost his temper with me, but we ended up talking about it and working through it. I credit the power dynamic for that, because if it weren’t for me carefully keeping my tongue in check to avoid disrespecting Him or making Him any more angry with me, we would have been in a full-on fight. I knew I’d already pissed Him off, and I didn’t want to make it worse. Normally, I would have held to my own side, and I would have walked away holding a grudge.

I wouldn’t say things are perfect, but I think D/s makes me more aware of my behavior and how it will potentially impact Him. I think through my responses a little more carefully than I normally would, and I try harder not to say things He might find disrespectful. That doesn’t mean I don’t say things, it just means I try to find better ways to communicate my displeasure.

(Disclaimer: The opinions in these articles are simply that…opinions. These are my personal feelings on issues of D/s. It is important to note that I am and always have been in a consensual relationship, and any activities I partake of, I have done so with full consciousness and willingness. Also, on the issue of pronoun usage, I use HE/she pronouns, with the Dominant being the He and the submissive being the she. This is for ease of writing and because it is what I identify with. Pronouns are interchangeable, so feel free to fill in with those that work best for your situation. Be nice in the comments. I’m not here to be berated or argue the issues, I’m just here to explore my own feelings and opinions and share them with those that may find benefit in doing so.)

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  • Sweetgirl

    I can completely understand this. I am also one of the children who was “trained” to put a smile on your face and stuff your feelings down. I usually shoved food on them to keep them down.
    I also understand how D/s can help to manage it.

    • Brigit Delaney

      I think it is especially common of earlier generations to keep feelings inside and not talk about them. Strength seemed to be measured by not being “weak” and not needing help. Now I see that asking for help actually does take a lot of strength…AND it makes my life a whole lot easier. Kind of like learning to say no.

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