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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.


The Discipline Dynamic

I have spent time today reflecting on the events of the last two weeks and marveling at what appears to date to be a stunning success in moderating (and at this point completely abstaining from) my drinking.

Sue in her post Domestic Discipline A Case Study talked about our family defining one of our primary paradigms as bDDsm connoting the practice of domestic discipline within the overarching construct of BDSM. I suppose even a more complete description might be poly bDDsm. As she mentioned, it is very rare for us to engage in sincere disciplinary relating. The original thought was that if there was to be disciplinary activity it would likely be me serving in my role as Dominant that would be the Disciplinarian and likely swan or t being disciplined. I always thought it was remarkably magnanimous and egalitarian of me to say that swan and t could have the capacity to discipline me. That possible permutation seemed mostly an abstract notion until two weeks ago. As we began to focus on the issues of my problem drinking I was able to get my head wrapped around the concept at an intellectual level but was also very much not aligned with the goal emotionally. I was, in fact, hugely in denial and feeling quite resistant to the goal as worthy as my intellect told me it might be. As swan and t worked to tell me how distressed they were with my behavior, its impact on my health, both physical and mental, and their relationship with me, it became clear to me that were we to make progress on this, I was going to need disciplinary support with this process.

We agreed that swan would perform the disciplinary activism in this process. I am feeling at this moment that this was a great decision we as a family made that is proving to have real substantive outcomes.

I have often described swan's disciplinary process as an educator. She first seduces her students to be in love with her. Two weeks into the school year she has them liking her, feeling liked, respected, and valued by her, and wanting to please her. Then she goes forward and makes life interesting, fun, and safe for everyone. Everything is good until someone makes her unhappy. Life then, while still very caring, becomes suddenly quite uncomfortable in proportion to the level of the dysfunction that is occurring. As soon as the behavior falls back in line life returns to being very good. If problem behavior fails to return to limits, the level of discomfort she will cause for the poor miscreant(s) becomes extreme and very effective. It generally is not long before the behavior changes, and then life returns to being really good and their relationship restores to being very happy once again. There is a basic psychology principal called the Primax principle. To paraphrase it, people tend to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Swan is masterful at working with that basic principle in her role as educator, and it appears too, in her role as slave.

This is what she has done with I pondered where we have been the last two weeks she has done precisely that with this bad boy:) Throughout the process she did a lot of discussing, persuading, arguing, cajoling me to see the need for this and to get me "on board." This was always respectful of me and my thoughts and feelings (even when my approach avoidance reaction to this change was fallacious:) Then, as my approach avoidance reaction to this change boiled over into my railing quite angrily and even abusively with her -- as though this was her fault and her issue -- she did in fact undertake to make life very painful for she had specifically been empowered to do through corporal punishment. She had to do that 3 times. She has always said she hates correcting a behavior more than once and never more than twice. I was particularly stubborn, rebellious, and recalcitrant (imagine that:) Believe me, her having to punish me the third time was one of the more traumatically painful experiences I have ever had. She was as broken hearted at this as I was devastated. Neither of us want to go there again, although I have no doubt she would if necessary and that it would be even more severe.

She was great in her aftercare, in nurturing me in terms of both physical and emotional healing, both of which were necessary, without ever expressing feeling guilty for what she did............sad and pained it was necessary, but not guilty she had done it tremendously effectively.

Monday (Labor Day), she insisted I develop "The Plan." She talked it over and brain stormed with me about aspects of it that seemed more likely to succeed in at least being a significant successive approximation of what we eventually want to achieve.

She also spent time linking me to outside resources and supports that might help me in this process.

Her various postings of all of this here have made the effectiveness of the punishments, the public declarations of goals, and our Plan much more potent for me. Additionally, all the input and caring, thoughtful support here helped tremendously to reinforce and comfort all three of us. (It is hard to say which of the three of us needed more support in this difficult process and our friends here really came through or us.)

Then my attitude began to change. Yesterday I became actually excited about how this was feeling and my sense of success. My emotions about this began to align with our goals. Last night swan made life so wonderful, that the contrast in terms of how my new lifestyle change feels to me is tremendous, to the point where now I am questioning if, well more like when, I will want to drink again. I'm feeling it isn't likely to be as soon as this weekend. I am already feeling healthier, imagining that will increase, and my two are being as pampering and rewarding as I can imagine. (t concocted me new sugar free and alcohol free mock peppermint schnapps and kahlua tonight....two flavors I was terifically missing.)

My swan has seduced me (10 years ago and then daily thereafter:), punished me when I was way out of line to the point that I never ever want to transgress again, and then turned on all the loving sweetness in the world (which I know is in fact genuine and not a manipulation) in response to my compliance, my new attitude, and feeling that I am genuinely happy with this change -- the change I so feared, hated, was actually enraged at the prospect of previously. Now I know what it is like to be an angry hostile bad boy in her class. It is too painful to persist and too heavenly when you comply.

So how does this work within the context of she and I maintaining a Master/slave relationship in which she is mine and I am Master? How does the slave reward, punish harshly, and take control of a change like this that is initially very displeasing to her Master? The syllogism would go something like this:

  1. It is her prime duty to protect my health.
  2. I was harming my health with my behavior and unable (or actually I suspect more likely very resistant and unwilling) to change my harmful behavior.
  3. I directed her to undertake to discipline me (not just to punish me, but that was included in the mandate if necessary) to accomplish this change.
  4. Now we return to greater normalcy in our usual M/s relationship although I know she will continue to monitor and reinforce this process.

The paradox is that rather than belying the essence of our family, this process has been the ultimate actualization of it.

In my political advocacy work, I have often talked about what I call the Lyndon Baines Johnson school of leadership. You will likely recall that Johnson was the 36th President of The U. S. A., assuming that office upon John Kennedy's assassination, in that Johnson had been Kennedy's Vice President. Before that, Johnson had a decades long career in the U. S. House of Representatives and the Senate. While in the Senate he served as The Majority Whip, Senate Majority Leader, and while he was Vice President, as Senate President. He was renowned for his ability to bring together partisan sides, who were sometimes in violent disagreement on issues, to achieve politically feasible compromises (I so wish we had him today). Johnson was once asked in an interview how he achieved these miraculous seeming political results. He responded (he was very pithy),"grasp them by the nuts and squeeze firmly. Their hearts and minds will follow." I think my slave has learned this style of leadership quite effectively and has me by the nuts in more ways than one:)

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.


  1. Dear T--will you please post your alcohol-free Kahlua recipe? I've never found a good substitute for that. Actually, I wouldn't mind having the peppermint schnapps, either, as I know a nursing mom that misses that!

    I'm so proud of all of you. Keep up the good work!

  2. Keep it going Herons. One day at a time, but with the end view of success in mind.

  3. Impish14:03 AM

    I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that things are going better for you all just now. Please keep working your plan; I know you will keep supporting each other. I will keep rooting for you, each of you.


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