I am in a dialog with a gentleman who mentioned some issues beginning with a quoted statement on how a slave “will always act and respond in such a way as to make the Master’s orders look ‘right.’”
This brings up conflicting views in my mind. I will start with an example.
As I enjoy using a single tail, I often attend single tail demos. At one convention demo I was quite impressed with the lecturer until he told me that Master should never admit to a mistake. This was very conflicting for me and he lost my respect.
In my opinion/view/experience humans tend to like to be right, but often aren’t. So, do we admit to the mistake, learn, improve and show respect to those who showed us a differing way, or do we refuse to admit mistake, and work to convince ourselves the rightness of our response? I think if you observe the people of authority around us, both religious, legal and political, you will quickly come to the conclusion that the latter is the more common. But I do not feel it is the more advantageous.
Now, I will be the first to admit that the example I gave does not exactly match the question asked. But it applies. Do I want a close and valued partner to encourage a possibly human tendency to feel I am right no matter what, or would I wish them to respectfully express a contrary viewpoint. What I would wish is that they respectfully ask if this moment would be the appropriate moment to ask a question and if it was, to be sure they were clear as to the result I wanted, and then, and only then, to express their viewpoint as to a possibly better way to accomplish that result.
Obviously, all of this is context sensitive. If necessary, I would rather they fuck all of that BS and pull me out of the way of the damn bus.
I make mistakes. I believe being a MASTER means I know who and what I am, and know my limitations. I cannot tell you the number of fuck ups I have accomplished by being RIGHT. I would rather be better.
I believe firmly that I gain more respect and admiration by working to be better and respecting the viewpoint of my partner than I would by continuing the sham of playing “right” no matter what.
As for being right in my response, I continually encourage the most outstanding question, “My Master, what did you mean by that?”
The gentleman with whom I was conversing replied at length and then said, “I am focusing on situations where she is needlessly snide, sarcastic and caustic.” This was important to me and I wrote back. “Keep in mind, I do not know the particulars of your relationship, neither the constructed protocols you both have created together nor the more “humanesque” immediate responses to stimulus that we all have. (Though I might say that what you describe seem to fall more into the latter.) So all I can speak on are my own particularly heart felt desires.
Respect is to be greatly valued. I try to continually express my respect of my partner by valuing her opinion and seeking her views on all subjects. As I continually tell her, I want her opinion on all things so I can make the most informed choice. But the choice is mine. She is the supporter, I am the leader.
But in her expression of her thoughts, I remind her that respect is due from her as well. A way of doing that is to continually talk about what it is she whats and needs from our relationship. Does she want to be in a relationship with someone she admires and respects? Then treat me that way. If she feels I am acting disrespectfully, then respectfully express that opinion. Returning disrespect only creates a disrespectful relationship. She absolutely has the right to call me out when I treat her disrespectfully (unless it is in a negotiated aspect of our relationship or scene, but that’s a whole different fish).
I am reminded of a lecture from Master Obsidian and Namaste. They describe a serf approaching their Royalty and saying, “Hey, Fucker, you really messed up here.” To which the appropriate response is that of the Queen of Hearts. However, if the serf has a legitimate complaint, and informs their Master with increased respect and deference, they are, in fact, reminding their Master of his responsibility for the maintenance and well being of the relationship. A point I have remembered for many years.
Another one of the things I mention to her is Mindfullness. That is a common term in Buddhist practice and other forms involving meditation. Immediate responses are usually not our most affirming and respectful ones. Just look at the most public tweets we see today. This goes to both of you. Think about what you do and the intent of it. Is it to promote a more joyous and mutually affirming and respectful relationship, or is it to spew out your immediate grumbleness?
I catch myself here with a smile because there is little I enjoy more than “disrespectful banter” between my partner and I. But there is always a clear consciousness of the love and respect behind it. (If not, I do have a large paddle. She, unfortunately has no such resource.)
Also, I tend to be an immediately confrontational person. If my partner expresses herself disrespectfully, as she can do after a stressful day at work or if I hit a historical stress button inadvertently, my first question might be, firmly “Why are you here?” “Why are you in this relationship?” You see, the thing I most enjoy about the D/s or M/s relationship is that We think about it. All parties are required to work to bring that relationship to what we define as best for us. Why else are we here? If that is so, then respect is necessary.
OK, enough pontification for this morning. But I can not leave without a comment on his last substantive paragraph. He had told me, “We’ve only been together for about 7 months now. While she considers herself to be well versed in being a slave after having been in such relationships for the past decade or so (albeit they have all been unhealthy and abusive), I am relatively new to the role of being a Master.”
Time does not equate to valuable experience, unless it is learning from unproductive choices. But it can confuse one into thinking they have authority. Informing, talking about previous situations can be good, and I would definitely ask what aspects of her previous relationship were valuable and affirming to her and what were not, but remember, she informs and you decide. Do not give her authority just because she has a longer time for experience. The relationship you create and maintain is the one between you and her, no one else.