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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.
His Way -- My Way
In our usual dynamic, He is entirely Dominant and inclined to be sadistic. It isn't His "role;" it is His persona. Conversely, with Him, I am submissive and masochistic. I don't have to think about that -- it is who I am.
Long ago, very early in our beginning days, He insisted that we switch. It wasn't an easy thing for me to learn to do. I didn't find it technically difficult, but I had a very limited and rigid view of how the Dominance/submission dynamic ought to work, and like many others, I was convinced that switching roles would undermine the primary dynamic.
Master was, in those days, inclined to believe that Dominance and submission were different ends of a continuum. He would argue that the essential character traits that people associate with Dominance and submission (honesty, courage, openness, respect) were shared -- and only manifest in different ways. I remember listening to that line of reasoning and thinking, "OK. Maybe -- but maybe not. It doesn't feel that way to me. Sir."
In the intervening eight years, we've settled in He and I. In spite of all the challenges that life has thrown our way, the dynamic between us has been a constant, steady, reliable foundational reality. I've been slave and He's been Master -- always and all ways; whatever else came our way.
He's a very focused, very natural, very sure Dominant. He likes what He likes, and He expects to have that provided easily and smoothly without much effort on His part. He very much associates being Dominant with being sadistic, and His clear and unshakable belief is that discipline and corporal punishment go hand in hand. In His view, and practice, punishment is an intense and not very nuanced event. He does not hesitate to spank severely for perceived behavioral infractions, and doing that gets Him hard.
I live and love as the opposite half of that power dynamic; submitting to His will and His direction in my life. Submission is something that I do and practice with intent. I expect to be obedient. I expect to be respectful. I expect to be of service to Him. I expect to be honest and open and straightforward. I hate the mere suggestion that I might be topping from the bottom or manipulating Him, and I studiously avoid bratting. I endeavor to behave like a mature woman, and I want Him to be proud of me. If I get into the sort of headspace that causes me to want SM play, I ask for what I want. I've told scores of newbies to the lifestyle that it is simple: submissives submit. It isn't just a throwaway line for me. It is how I try to live my life.
He and I are as human as anyone. Like most other people, we tend to believe that the way we see our reality is THE WAY IT IS. It never occurs to Him that there is some other way to BE Dominant, and I am sure that He just assumes that when I take on the Dominant role, I will do it like Him (only different). Likewise, I just assume that He understands and appreciates the way I do submission, and that since that is true, He'll just naturally do it the same way (only different) when we switch.
As we've actually done some serious disciplinary switching in the last few days, I've been pretty shocked to find that He doesn't submit like me even a little bit. He whines and wheedles and stomps His feet and storms around slamming doors and kicking things. He swears and calls names and insults me in a dozen different ways. He is disrespectful and manipulative. Frankly, He's impossible, and I know there is no way on Earth that He'd put up with any of that behavior from me -- not for two minutes. In the midst of the battling, I have found myself thinking, "What the hell is wrong with Him? Doesn't He know that He's supposed to be SUBMISSIVE!??!?" And, interestingly, even as I've wrestled with my own cognitive dissonance over His utterly unsubmissive behavior, I've noticed that He keeps pushing on me, trying to get me to Dominate Him the way He would dominate me. It is His own private BDSM role : The Dominant submissive.
In the last two days there has been a complete reversal of this behavior. He has been respectful, grateful and pleasant where he was previously defiant and passive aggressive. He is clearly upset and suffering from the punishments he has received at my hand, but clearly too that, plus his character, is coming into play and things have changed 180 degrees from what I described in the last paragraph. We are both working to make this a continuing process, but I/we are determined too that if there is back sliding there will be even more severe consequences.
BTW it is clear to us that there is no erotically sadomasochistic dynamic in the corpoal punishment we have done with this. He is more than capable of bottoming erotically, but this discipline has created nothing but suffering and trauma for us both.
The whole business has had my head spinning. Especially when early on He got going on the "you're in charge, so whatever you decide" refrain while simultaneously undermining every single move I made toward taking control of Him or the situation or just about anything. I have to be obedient to His will -- and that means I have to take control -- and that makes Him immediately anxious -- and that results in Him trying to control my Dominance of Him -- and that makes me alternatively laugh and then want to smack Him.
YIKES! No wonder I fall exhausted into bed every single night.