Master's Words

Master's Words

Monday, 29 June 2015

Five point scale of bottoms - how much authority over the "bottom" is acquired by the "top"


This is a scale of how much authority over the "bottom" is acquired by the "top". It is an attempt to describe a system of terms which will be useful in discussing the various phenomena associated with SM, D/s and M/s.

In itself, this ordering is not intended as a value judgement. However, many people implicitly place higher value on more intense activities and so something similar to this list is lurking in the subconscious of many BDSM subcultures. This gives rise to two widespread causes of antagonism: people looking up the scale with a "even if you're a submissive (or slave), you're no better than us masochists (or submissives)" agenda; and people looking down with a "stop pretending you're really a submissive (or slave), you're just a masochist (or a submissive)" attitude. It is not unusual for the resulting arguments to hinge on the word "genuine", as one group is not the genuine article according to the definition of the other.

My opinion is that most SM vs D/s vs M/s arguments are caused by the belief that everyone should call themselves whatever they like, and that common definitions are inappropriate. My belief is that meaningful communication is impossible without commonly held definitions.

1. Fetish bottom: "I worship your boots and want to serve them."
Fetish bottoms differ from other types of fetishist in that the object they eroticise is associated with a top. They are almost invariably male, and in the pure form have little need to interact with the top or to submit their will in real life encounters.

2. Masochist: "I want you to use the needles tonight."
Masochists take things a step further and grant the top authority to subject them to pain or humiliation, or perhaps to physical control such as bondage. However, the dynamic of these scenes is still one of equality, and it is clear that everything is done for mutual gratification.

3. Roleplay submissive: "Can I be the Girl-Caught-Shoplifting tonight?"
This involves assuming roles for a temporary scene (from a few hours up to a few days) which would normally be associated with inequality and with one person having power or authority over the other: for example, a store detective blackmailing a shoplifter into obeying him. However, it is understood that the goal of the scene is direct mutual satisfaction for both top and bottom (eg, that the "shoplifter's" desire to be held down, "ravished" and sworn at is catered to.)

4. Servant: "What can I do for you now, Sir?"
This can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from a long term relationship involving roleplay submission. However, the essential feature of a servant or service orientated submissive / bottom is their desire to do things purely for their top's benefit (literally, to serve.) Hence, a servant may derive great satisfaction from doing housework at the top's home. Nevertheless, this kind of service is voluntary and is an example of "ongoing voluntary submission". The bottom constantly chooses to stay and to serve, even if that choice is just implicit in their continued presence and obedience.

5. Slave: "You have the authority to decide things for me, Master."
A slave differs from other types of bottom in that they have no (enforceable) rights with respect to the top. In particular, they cannot remove themselves from the relationship, and cannot themselves chose to impose restrictions on what is done to them. This lack of rights in the face of the top's acknowledged authority over them constitutes ownership. The difference between a servant and a slave can be summarised by: "Ownership rather than obedience is the defining quality of slavery; obedience rather than ownership is the defining quality of submission." -->
There are two further subdivisions:

5a External Enslavement - in which slavery is enforced by external forces, such as threats to hunt slaves down and retake possession of them if they run away. This approach has limited plausibility in a modern society, at least for any length of time.


5b Internal Enslavement - in which slavery is acheived by forging an emotional bond which the slave cannot extricate themselves from. This approach is ultimately dependent on the validity of the Internal Enslavement Hypothesis (in short, that submissives with such a great need to be owned exist, and that a Master can create a psychological environment in which that need comes to the fore.)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Three Principles in Internal Enslavement



This article describes three general principles of use in Internal Enslavement, which are echoes of maxims in other contexts:

1. Do no harm.

2. Know your slave.

3. Build on foundations.

Do no harm

Clearly harm is a relative concept. However, one must consider the possible consequences of one's actions to avoid unwanted effects, and by "harm" I mean unwanted, long lasting damage, to the mind or the body. In particular, do not underestimate the psychological damage that unpredictable behaviour or severe punishments can produce: all the way from an inhibiting nervousness around certain objects to full blown traumatisation, since these can impede or reverse the Enslavement process.

Know your slave

One needs information to manage any complex system, and the psyche of a developing slave is no exception. The proper study for a Master is his slave.

Practices such as the keeping of a slave journal, or regular face to face debriefing sessions are manifestations of this principle. They attempt to gain access to the slave's inner life, which is usually a private world in free persons and is often remarkably different to what the Master might expect.

The evolving history of a slave's inner world is the slave's Enslavement, and to manage it successfully, the Master must become that country's historian, its prophet and its leader.

Build on foundations

Mere factual knowledge and expertise, such as position training, is only the surface expression of service and obedience. If it is only skin deep, the Master's possession of the slave is no more than skin deep. It is true that superficial training, using the rational mind of the slave, plays an important part in the deeper, emotional changes we seek, but they are two distinct layers.

It is hard work creating new beliefs and attitudes from scratch, since these emotional states are built up by experience over time. But it is these emotional states which we are seeking to grow and guide in the process of Internal Enslavement: by finding what is there already that can be used and expanded, our work can be done more easily and more naturally, in a way suited to where the slave actually is.

Conclusion
In summary, no adult human is a blank slate: everything you do to a slave is in the context of the inner self produced by their past history. By studying the slave, and building on and adapting what is already there, one can benefit from the current reality of the slave's state rather than fighting against it. With this solid foundation, the slave can grow naturally, guided by her Master's requirements, and her service can be molded to suit his requirements with external training which is informed rather than blind.


(The original version of this article appeared as part of the Internal Slave Development Manifesto in March 1999)

Ego states, Parent - Adult - Child



Many people talk about the child inside the submissive. Their "inner child" or the "little girl inside". So many, infact, that there must, undeniably, be something in it. I know that I have had far more experiences in a "child-like" state since entering the process of Internal Enslavement than I ever had previously. If I am honest, probably more than I have had since being a very small child myself.

In many ways the kind of upbringing I had led to my growing up fast. Living with two parents who hated being in the same room as each other meant that I spent whatever time I could out of the house. I grew up fast, infact you could say that I was adult before my time.

IE freed the child in me, but that doesn't mean that I am childish, although, in many ways I can be very childlike. Equally, I do not enter a state of being childlike and find myself annoyingly trapped there. I am as capable of actively using the adult in me as I am using the child (at least nowadays I am, anyway.)

So what does this all mean? Am I just a little girl wanting a good "father-figure"? Could it be true that in order to achieve M/s a Dominant needs to parent a perpetual grown child? Personally, I find this hard to believe.

Eric Berne describes the Child as one of 3 ego states in his description of "Transactional Analysis" (TA). In brief, he describes 3 ego states which he named "Adult", "Parent" and "Child". The "Parent" can be described as "controlling and nurturing", The "Adult" as "sensible and logical" and the "Child" as "playful and childlike". Infact it is in the ego state of "Child" that we experience most joyously and equally most tragically, our lives.

I feel that I should point out now that my embarrassingly brief explanation of what took Berne a career to develop does not, by any means, do it justice. I can only say that, if you are in the slightest bit interested in TA, you could do worse than reading Eric Berne's "Games people play" or Claude Steiner's "Scripts people live". I read them both and found them fascinating.

I have come to realise that, for many years now, the child in me was supressed, mostly because she is the one hurt by the world outside. This meant that, although I could use and control my Adult and Parent ego states, I lost the ability to access the Child and this left me incomplete. Not that far into the process of IE something strange started happening to me. I began to feel afraid of loosing myself again. Of course, on the surface of things, this didn't make sense. Logically I knew I needed slavery, I also was beginning to realise that to be whole again I had to regain the ability to use my Child ego state freely. However, what I began to experience was the Child running wild. For a time this felt wonderfully freeing, but, after a while, I felt as though I was being smothered by it. The Child was running free at the expense of my other 2 ego states.

The Parent and the Adult aspects of me are the ones I have relied on for survival for such a long time. I know how they work and I have learned, over time, which ego state copes best in what situation.

The Child in me was hidden away for so long that, for a time, I felt unpredictable in that ego state. I found myself acting in ways I would have never done before. I also began to find it progressively more difficult to switch to a more appropriate ego state than Child, for example, when I felt scared it's would have been better for me to use my Adult or Parent ego states than the Child ego state (I experience things far more intensely and less logically in "Child" than I do in either Adult or Parent.)

Whenever I delt with situations, inappropriate for a Child ego state, I ended up feeling frustrated, I was having tantrums or sulks and at times I was begining to thoroughly annoy myself (goodness only knows how Tanos put up with me!)

In some ways this gave me a very real sense of loosing myself, in that I didn't always feel in control of my own emotions. At that time I was awash with childish reactions and emotions and I really didn't know how to deal with them, or even if I should be attempting to.

In the end I just let them go and stopped trying to suppress them. Sometimes it really is better to let go of the old in order to embrace new ways of handling things. (How I wish it was as easy to do as it is to just say these words.)

I know now that Tanos stayed in control of the situation throughout my transition, but, at the time, I was still scared. He told me to let go and trust him and I knew that was exactly what I needed to do, but saying it didn't make it happen (time did that instead.)

Knowing how this all affected me, and knowing what I have learned about the ego states, I am convinced of how unhealthy it would be for anyone to be encouraged to use just one ego state. By encouraging the use of one ego state (Child) at the expense of the others (Adult and Parent) would be to deny us from using the very things which have kept most of us (particularly submissives) safe all our lives. We would become incapable of using all the healthy ways of coping, with life and with ourselves.

For a while I went through a stage of only being able to access my Child ego state with Tanos. I believe this had alot to do with the fact that I had supressed my Child as a way of coping with life, myself. So when I finally found a safe place to be the Child, I ran amock as a Child. I over used it, because I was so delighted in the way it made me feel. I enjoyed things in a completely different way, in a way I had forgotten how to.

In the end I just irritated myself to death with it. I feel far more balanced now, I am better able to bring the appropriate ego state into play, sometimes with prompting by Tanos (usually as a response to his present ego state.)

Tanos has an extremely strong Adult, something that gradually has helped me to connect to my own weakened Adult. I'm not too sure, now, how much of our relationship is actually Parent - Child. We spend a great deal of our time in Adult - Adult as well as Adult - Child interactions. Ofcourse there is an element of Parent - Child but we also have quite alot of Child - Child too (especially when we are doing and enjoying the things we like doing together!)

Conclusion


I must admit that I am unconvinced that "parenting" is what, fundamentally, underpins an M/s relationship, although it does, to some degree, seem to be part and parcel of accessing the submissive's inner self. I suppose if we accept that everyone has an inner Parent, Adult and Child then a Master who is able to access and even control those ego states, will be gaining access to a better understanding of his slave as well as gaining the ability to control her ego states as an appropriate and desired response to his own. I realise, with hindsight, that Tanos and I have been working in the past in compatible ego states, without having prior knowledge of what they were called. I certainly, and quite obviously, switch P-A-C ego states in response to Tanos. I am not his child, although I have a little child inside me, but then, according to Eric Berne, so do you.