Once upon a time I was kind of a bitch

I think in a lot of ways, I was much more domlydomdomdomlydominant when I was young, and vanilla. In the days before I’d even heard of BDSM.

You know why?

I never gave it a moment’s thought.

I didn’t negotiate.

I didn’t discuss.

I just did my thing and the men who were interested in me either got with the program or they were left behind. I never thought in terms of ‘dominance’ or ‘power’ or ‘authority’ or anything like that. It was irrelevant. I was just me. It was so simple.

Men loved it. Seriously.

I don’t at all doubt other women when they say that they struggled with it, that men found them unappealing because they were bossy, or wanted things their own way, because they didn’t ‘fit’. But I never experienced that.

I got a lot of positive reinforcement for behaving in a way where I simply wouldn’t accept less than I wanted.

It *should* have worked for finding the perfect relationship because I was forthright and bold and knew what I wanted, and yet I was constantly disappointed and dissatisfied. I couldn’t find a man who ‘fit’ with me.

It took me quite a while to figure out why.

In hindsight, I see that I attracted men who did what I wanted less out of choice, and more out of fear. Mostly fear of my censure, of my disapproval, but ultimately, the fear that I would leave them. Which I would have if I didn’t get what I wanted. But I couldn’t *see* what was happening when I was in it. I just knew that it wasn’t working out the way I wanted.

I was kind of a bitch in relationships. Not just opinionated and assertive, but capable of being cruel and callous. If I knew that my boyfriend was afraid or insecure, it didn’t make me kind or generous. It was like blood in the water for me, and I would go in to tear chunks out of him.

My instinct was to push at them harder and harder to see if (or when) they would stand up to me and draw a boundary.

Mostly they didn’t. Or couldn’t.

By the time I was done with them, I was bored and frustrated, and there would be nothing left of them. Their entire personality subsumed by mine. No opinions, no discussions, no preferences, a blank slate waiting for me to tell them who they were.

I was self aware enough to see how I was behaving, and I *knew* it wasn’t good. At all.

I worked on figuring out why those relationships sucked so bad when I seemed to be getting what I wanted. Why wasn’t I happy? I thought I must need stronger-willed men: men who would be my *equal* in terms of power in the relationship, men who would not let me walk all over them, men who would stand toe-to-toe with me.

This exploration culminated in the worst relationship I have ever had (I dubbed it ‘the relationship from hell’). In that relationship, I discovered a capacity for rage that I would never have thought I was capable of (and which I haven’t seen since). I chose a man who would not give an inch. And of course I would not give an inch. The results were hideously ugly and destructive for both of us. When I left him, his plaintive “…but I love you…” was followed closely by “… fuck you then, you fucking bitch…” Sounds about right.

I’ve mellowed. A lot. There are a lot of reasons why that’s true in general, but as it relates to my relationships, I know that it’s in no small part because I discovered that there was a whole swathe of men who embodied what I wanted.

When I discovered ‘BDSM’ as a subculture, I found submissive men. I saw (to my delight!) that there were men who were strong willed and opinionated and confident and who had all of those wonderful qualities that I wanted, and who *chose* to submit NOT because they were fearful, but because it made them happy.

Jackpot!

I’m not the same person that I was back then. Not even close. And my relationships are very different; healthy, positive, happy.

But you know what? I’m grateful for who I was in those formative years. I look back and I’m impressed with her, even as I’m sorry for the men who crossed her path and got run over by the freight train that she was. That bitch didn’t give a shit, she did what she wanted, she was fearless. For that, and a lot of other reasons, I am grateful to her. And if I’m honest, sometimes I even miss her.

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34 Comments

  1. Sometimes I almost miss how things were before I discovered BDSM. Things were definitely simpler then, although not really any easier. I didn’t have to worry whether that hard-to-find extra layer of compatibility was there. I do think I would have a hard time going back to a vanilla relationship now.

    But I’ve found that D/s can be even more fulfilling than I imagined. It’s worth the difficulty of finding the right partner. I’ve also made many friends in my explorations. I’ve become a lot more social because of it, which has made me happier overall.

    1. “Sometimes I almost miss how things were before I discovered BDSM. Things were definitely simpler then, although not really any easier.”

      Things were really a lot simpler then. It’s always easier when you are part of the majority (for a myriad of reasons).

      “I’ve also made many friends in my explorations. I’ve become a lot more social because of it, which has made me happier overall.”

      *smile* That’s great! While there are challenges, I think being part of a subculture can mean a sense of belonging and kinship can sometimes be easier to come by.

      Ferns

  2. “…there were men who were strong willed and opinionated and confident and who had all of those wonderful qualities that I wanted, and who *chose* to submit NOT because they were fearful, but because it made them happy.”

    Spot on.

    And the deep question is, why does it make them happy?

    1. “And the deep question is, why does it make them happy?”

      You tell me!

      Or maybe this is a question I should pose to readers *smile*.

      Ferns

    1. I can sooo relate.

      We don’t come out of the box fully formed.

      I think figuring out what we want and how to find it (and once we find it how to keep it strong) is an evolution. And we have to get it wrong a few times and make all sorts of mistakes to gather up enough information to sort out what we need. That’s how life works.

      Ferns

    1. It’s not wistful as much as recognising that it’s all much more complicated now (this relates to my recent posts about vulnerability and how that manifests).

      I sometimes make things too complicated (and often it’s just in my own head) with second guessing and worry and that internal voice that makes me doubt. Sometimes, it’s exhausting, and I find that my ‘fuck it!’, which used to be right *there*, is now sometimes too far away to easily grab hold of.

      Ferns

      1. Thanks – that makes a lot of sense. Simplicity, clarity, sense of coherence/convergence…. Vulnerability often veers one away from those.

  3. This is the third time I’ve attempted to comment, so if there are suddenly three very similar comments appearing from me, it’s because I am utterly inept.

    I left a long comment before but failed to post it correctly, so let’s have another go…

    I find this post both very interesting and also quite disturbing. While I consider you to be a great example of a kind-hearted and respectful Domme NOW, this post indicates that you have previously engaged in abusive behaviour. I find the fact that this post is ostensibly about your journey as a Domme rather than a reflection on how your actions affected others to be concerning, although not indicative that such behaviour is continuing.

    I don’t know whether you would agree with my assessment. I would say that there is a misconception that abusers are monsters; they are obviously abusive and easily identifiable. But that isn’t how abusive behaviour works. Most people don’t set out to abuse; these are patterns they fall into. So this isn’t a case of ‘no offence, but…’, but I want to stress that it is possible for me to feel genuinely respectful of the person you are now, while at the same time frankly appalled by your previous actions.

    I find it very interesting that your behaviour was motivated not by jealousy or fear or anger, but rather by lack of self-knowledge. Do you feel that because you have come so far on your own journey, you won’t fall into that trap again? Do you witness other Dommes behaving in such a way out of a desire to appear ‘Domly’?

    Best wishes,

    Bunny

    1. “Do you witness other Dommes behaving in such a way out of a desire to appear ‘Domly’?”

      I have seen this happen more times than I can count. Either that or a ton of general self-importance.

    2. @Bunny: I appreciate your input, and I’m sorry you had to have three goes at it, especially when you put so much thought into it.

      “…this post indicates that you have previously engaged in abusive behaviour.”

      I’m not quite sure how to respond to your concern, your sense of horror and this suggestion. You are entitled to your opinion, of course. I am just not sure what to do with it.

      I am not going to get defensive over it, not least because I’m not trying to pretend I wasn’t really quite horrible in those days (ref: my entire post and title). Whether it was abuse or not is arguable, but I can see how it could be interpreted as abuse from this post.

      “Do you feel that because you have come so far on your own journey, you won’t fall into that trap again?”

      I do. The first time I fell in love, I learnt what it was I had been looking for. I think that most of us have a bunch of failed relationships behind us that each taught us something about what makes us happy, or unhappy. That’s how we gain enough experience to move forward.

      “Do you witness other Dommes behaving in such a way out of a desire to appear ‘Domly’?”

      Yes, well not like that exactly. I see it more in a ‘role play’ kind of way.

      We talk a lot about submissives coming into BDSM with a bunch of terrible stereotypes in their head, but women do it also. It’s usually the SAME stereotype (uber domly, leather clad, icy cold but super sexy ‘bitch-from-hell’ and the grovelling slave), but obviously it impacts each side of the slash differently.

      One would think they would find each other (and they probably do), but relationships based on those fantasies are obviously not sustainable.

      The same as vanilla life, I think it takes a few failed relationships for them (‘them’ actually being *both* sides of the slash who bring these fantasy roles into their relationships) to figure out that it just doesn’t work.

      Coincidentally, Pure Liquid Kink just wrote a blog post about encountering this very thing.

      Ferns

    3. @Bunny,

      I am not in anyway jumping to Ferns defense but wanted to provide some insight from a different perspective in hopes to educate those about the opposite mentality of the way Ferns used to be as she describes in her post.

      “..this post indicates that you have previously engaged in abusive behaviour.”

      I can understand how an outsider who has not been in this type of relationship would see her behavior as “abusive” however it isn’t at all. First I speak from experience. The men Ferns describes as she was with that her personality consumed theirs and they had “no opinion, discussions, etc” ..while I wasn’t one of those men in *her* relationship I *was* one of those types in mine once.

      Ferns didn’t do anything that the partner didn’t willingly accept, allow, or perhaps even want. In fact I would venture to guess based on my experience that maybe at least one or two of those men in a way through their behaviors initiated this mentality from Ferns.

      “But that isn’t how abusive behaviour works. Most people don’t set out to abuse; these are patterns they fall into.”

      You are right abusers are not easily identifiable and often the person being abused cannot even identify that is what is happening either. I have been in both spectrums trust me on this! I have been the type of “man” (I’m female) that was in the reverse of what Ferns describes and I have also been in an abusive relationship where the abuser was not intending to abuse me either.

      I could really explain further to show more understanding but I am already crowding up Ferns’ blog with my comment here. I have known abuse and I have known and allowed (in fact pushed my partner to allow) me to lose my agency…***they are not the same***.

      Respectfully,
      mysticlez

  4. “In hindsight, I see that I attracted men who did what I wanted less out of choice, and more out of fear. Mostly fear of my censure, of my disapproval, but ultimately, the fear that I would leave them. ”

    This is very much how my relationship was with my ex. Even though we were technically in a vanilla relationship, I was the one who made all decisions. And I made them with a large amount of disregard for him. Oddly, since finding the bdsm world, I can’t seem to find much of the demanding bossy lady I used to be. I sometimes miss her! But I don’t miss the disregard for my partner or how frustrated and dissatisfied I was.

    1. “I sometimes miss her! But I don’t miss the disregard for my partner or how frustrated and dissatisfied I was.”

      *smile* Yes, that.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one!

      Ferns

  5. “I got a lot of positive reinforcement for behaving in a way where I simply wouldn’t accept less than I wanted.”

    It’s a difficult balance not accepting less than what you want without completely compromising the relationship itself in the attempt. It is because of that difficult balance I often worry in my relationships if she is compromising and not demanding what she *really* wants because also her not demanding what she wants can lead to her unhappiness too which will lead to my unhappiness. There is so much emphasis with people now that relationships are mutual compromise and negotiation and it’s frustrating when you *don’t* want her to negotiate. It’s also seen as if you are a pushover when that is not what it is about at all.

    “Their entire personality subsumed by mine. No opinions, no discussions, no preferences, a blank slate waiting for me to tell them who they were.”

    Yeah I chose to become this once not because I *had* too but because I thought at that time it was what she wanted and it would *fix* us and get back what we used to have. I was wrong and too young and stupid to realize the destruction I was causing myself in that attempt. I didn’t realize just how deep you could lose yourself until it was too late. I will never do it again and it has made me conscious to I am constantly analyzing to make sure I am not allowing myself to adopt that mentality; however, it did make me a much stronger person today.

    Respectfully,
    mysticlez

  6. “My instinct was to push at them harder and harder to see if (or when) they would stand up to me and draw a boundary”

    “Mostly they didn’t. Or couldn’t”

    I often wonder if it’s our assertiveness that attracts these types. I never was a bitch type, or even mean or cruel, but being a strong-willed, strong-minded person… intimidation was easy to come by. But still, the doormat types I would attract kept me baffled for a long time.

    I think the only thing that stopped me from being a demanding bitch type was simply that I didn’t like that type of woman and never wanted to be her.

    I find now that I’m older and actively living this life, it’s becoming that bitch that scares me still. Allowing myself to want more, demand more…I do wonder where is that line between “tough love” and abuse.

    1. “I often wonder if it’s our assertiveness that attracts these types.”

      It is, I’m sure. Plus I wouldn’t accept ‘less than’, so the men who weren’t attracted to that very obvious and up-front behaviour (i.e. the men who wanted compliance and catering to their needs) would back away very quickly (or I would dismiss THEM very quickly when I saw that they weren’t willing or able to give me what I wanted).

      I wondered if some of these men who were attracted to me thought they could ‘fix’ me, you know? Kind like a gender reversal of the ‘bad boy’, where someone is all ‘Oh, I know what they are like, but they will change for MEEE’. I hate to bring up the old ‘treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen’ thing, but I can’t help thinking of it.

      Thing is, I never set out to play games, or to be mean, or anything like that. I just didn’t tolerate… well… anything that didn’t suit me. Either step up or get out. And I NEVER had a man choose to ‘get out’ of his own volition.

      “I find now that I’m older and actively living this life, it’s becoming that bitch that scares me still. Allowing myself to want more, demand more…I do wonder where is that line between “tough love” and abuse.”

      Ahh, see this is interesting. I think a lot of my unhappy frustration (and pushy bitchiness) came out of not being able to clearly frame or articulate what I wanted because I didn’t really know. And I didn’t have the knowledge, experience or the vocabulary for any of it.

      I think it was as simple as ‘I want what I want’ and ‘why aren’t you giving me what I want in the way that I want it?’ and these men looking at me and going ‘I’m TRYING!’ and me going ‘Yeah, but you’re doing it wrong!!’. AARRRGGGHHH!! Messy.

      Now that I have the experience and the language and the context, I can seek it out, can ask for it, I no longer have that struggle. I *don’t* have to push all sideways to get what I want. I can just ask for it and I know he will give it to me.

      This post came out of the thought that sometimes it feels like the pendulum has swung too far for me.

      I’m now SO concerned with feelings and reciprocity and enthusiastic consent and not overstepping and compromise and mutual happiness and all of that which comes out of experience and knowledge and care that I fear becoming paralysed with doubt, second guessing and vulnerabilities: things that young-me would have kicked to the curb in two seconds.

      So sometimes when I feel like I am self-talking like a whiny little baby, I’d just like to tap her on the shoulder and let her out for a little while to take care of it.

      I know I made that all about me *laugh*, but to YOUR point: the fact that you are thinking about it and concerned about it makes it really unlikely that you will overstep.

      But I *do* think the line is a tricky one because a particular kind of overstepping totally works for both parties, it’s just that as the dominant, you are largely responsible for judging where that line is. And often that’s not so easy.

      Ferns

  7. Doesn’t one Devil know why?

    You choose to submit, because that makes you happy?

    So why does it make you happy?

    Don’t you know why you want what you want?

    Satan

    1. @Satan,

      Okay let me try but I speak from limited experience. Submission is what feels natural to me. I am not submissive to everyone I am submissive because of her if she is a compatible partner. I have tried to be Dominant and it feels wrong and forced and ugly.

      My submission makes me happy because it is how I show my affection to her. It is my form of communication. I am able too and can take control, stand up to her, take over authority but I choose not too because I want her to have that as it makes us both happy.If my partner is compatible she expresses her Dominance as a sign of affection and I offer her my submission as a sign of my affection. I consider it we are both two halves of a whole.

      My submission makes me happy because through my submission I express my love, passion, desire, loyalty, devotion, and trust. Through my submission I am basically communicating to her “here I want you to have all of me and make it what you want for both of us” because I love her and that makes me happy and her happy. My submission doesn’t come from my mind it comes from my heart and soul. I hope that makes sense to you.

      Respectfully,
      mysticlez

      P.S I will get with Ferns and if she doesnt want to pose the question as a blog post then I will pose it as a question on my blog because I like the question you asked of why does submission make you happy

      1. Thankyou Lez. You do make sense. It is a Devilish question. Of course it wasn’t my question though. I just borrowed it from Grumpyoldswitch.

        Satan

    2. For existential and evolutionary psychological reasons, submission is deeply mentally relaxing. It’s also a hack of courtship, and thus at times wildly exciting. It also supports other fetishes and sex games. Given time, submission becomes erotic by association.

  8. Our Inner Bitches should lunch sometime I’ll get my bitches to contact your bitches Ciao

    This great insight Ferns I think a lot of us were possibly uneasy/uncomfortable with what we wanted at some stage or another possibly because we didn’t really know what it was ?
    Coug

    1. “Our Inner Bitches should lunch sometime I’ll get my bitches to contact your bitches Ciao”

      smile* I’ll turn on my bitch-phone!

      ” I think a lot of us were possibly uneasy/uncomfortable with what we wanted at some stage or another possibly because we didn’t really know what it was ?”

      I think there are probably as many reasons for struggle of some sort or another as there are individuals.

      I feel like I kind of knew what I wanted (even though I didn’t have the language for it), but I didn’t recognise that I needed a particular *flavour* of it, and each time I thought I found it, I would quickly learn that no, that wasn’t it. I certainly didn’t have the skills or knowledge to articulate it, or even to easily recognise it.

      Ferns

  9. It sounds like you are effectively topping yourself from the second-guessed bottom!

    Wouldn’t your authentic unrestrained dominant self be more attractive anyway? Wouldn’t it be possible to establish “all or nothing” on non-intimate things upfront? As in, “If you’re with me, then you just have to accept I’m unquestionably in charge for all safe non-intimate issues.”

    1. “It sounds like you are effectively topping yourself from the second-guessed bottom!”

      *laugh* Something like that!

      “Wouldn’t your authentic unrestrained dominant self be more attractive anyway?”

      I’ve mellowed, so I am not that person anymore, so who I am now IS ‘more authentically me’. Regardless, this is not about authenticity, it’s about complexity.

      “Wouldn’t it be possible to establish “all or nothing” on non-intimate things upfront? As in, “If you’re with me, then you just have to accept I’m unquestionably in charge for all safe non-intimate issues.””

      I’m not sure what you mean by ‘non-intimate’, but as a long term relationship model, this approach sucks! *laugh*

      My attitude has changed not just because *I’ve* changed, but because my knowledge is better, my expectations are clearer, my desire for a happy relationship is stronger, and I can now overtly ask for exactly what I want. And that’s great and makes a lot of this simpler.

      But life *isn’t* simple, and we don’t get to make a one-hit ‘cover everything’ agreement and live happily ever after.

      I expect and want him to let me make decisions for us, I want him to make himself vulnerable for me, to trust me enough to do those things. That’s no small thing. And with that comes a responsibility. I can’t ask for that and not keep him emotionally safe and keep us on track. That’s never going to work.

      The kind of D/s relationship I want is a full time romantic relationship with depth and complexity, and that makes it a lot more complicated than ‘I’m in charge, deal or get out’.

      In keeping him safe while still getting what I want and growing the relationship, I make constant decisions about what is ‘best’ for us, and it’s *there* that I can find myself wavering, and I’d like to bring the bitch out just to kick some heads and go ‘Ahh, fuck this, I’m going in!!’

      Ferns

  10. @Satan

    “Come on. Some one. Answer it. Why are some people happy to submit?”

    All I’ve ever managed to do is not know the answer to that question in ever more deep and sophisticated ways. As a submissive it’s always seemed a massive irony to me that I’m much more comfortable about my understanding of what makes dominants happy to dominate than I am about my understanding of what makes submissives happy to submit.

  11. I guess we are all born with both submission and dominance. We can grow one way or the other due to lessons from life. Either becomes erotic by association.

    Satan

    1. @Satan

      I have a little theory that when we’re all very, very young, a key decision gets made, though not in any really conscious way. You look at some female one day and think,

      “She makes me want to do things with her”

      . . .

      If you focus on the ‘want to do’ part of that sentence, you might become a dominant. If you focus on the ‘she makes me’ part of it, you become a submissive. Either way, the libido gets bound up with power and reason doesn’t have much to do with it. And then they grow together as one gets older. Either that, or the connection between power and libido never gets made and you become a ‘nilla.

      Well, I like my little theories, even if no one else does. ;-)

  12. “…not in any really conscious way…” Yes, it differs from making a choice. Realisation sneaks up after the fact.

    Hazel Thompson made me want to do things with her.

    Satan

  13. in the kind of society i am , its even more odd to find a woman with a dominant personality or such

    i always feel out of place so i seek think kind of relation online , still not going any further :(

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