The Shrinking Man

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I love the Dominant men I’m involved with, in their different ways for the different relationships I have with them. I’ve gotten the closest to three; the man that found me, the man that owns me, and the man that pushes me. Each relationship is radically different from the last, with different levels of closeness.

Despite all the differences between the men and the relationships I’ve had with them they, along with most Dominant men I’ve met, have had a common trait; one that often clashes with the submissives in their care.

Submissives, by nature, are made to share. To be emotionally honest. To share every last detail, last thought, with the Dominant men in their lives so that the Dominants can be assured that their submissive is healthy, physically and emotionally, and that this relationship is still okay for both of them. In essence, we talk a lot. We share a lot. We can yammer until we’re blue in the face, especially if we’re nervous (just ask Kane…).

Dominants, from my experience, tend to do the opposite. They take any emotional burdens in on themselves. They want to process through emotional stuff on their own. Smith gave me the term “shrinking man”. He’s admitted to shrinking when he’s upset, or going through a hard time. He pulls away, gets quiet. Trying to balance and talk to submissives turns into another emotional burden, making the situation worse.

There’s nothing wrong with not being an emotional talker, with not wanting to express every last emotion and empty out what’s going on in your head. It’s just such a different approach than most submissives take on communication and processing emotions. This can be a bit of a mental mindfuck for subs, especially inexperienced ones.

This journal entry hits close to home for me.. it’s something I personally struggle with, seeing those I care about in emotional turmoil but being unable to help as they help me. A Dominant’s job is to be able to put together all the pieces of their submissive. To know what makes them tick. Know what their triggers are. In that knowledge, they ease their submissive during tough times more so than anyone else. Kane is the first man to see me at my worst, my most depressed, and know exactly how to bring me back from the emo ball of doom that I was in. He did it so easily, so effortlessly, that I hadn’t even noticed what he was doing until after, when I was curled up in his arms and my mood was 20 times lighter.

As a submissive, it’s hard not to feel like a failure when you can’t do the same for your Dominant, or a Dominant in your life. We want to make everything better, to please, it’s a need for us. We need to make it better… or we’re not doing our job, right?

Wrong. This can be the HARDEST thing for a submissive to process. Submissives, who are groomed to be emotionally open and pleasing and cause pleasure for those they care for and trust.

Sometimes you just can’t make it better, and that’s okay.

You, as a submissive, are not a failure if you can’t pull a Dominant in your life out of his funk or mood. It’s hard, because your focus is on them, You get pleasure from their pleasure..and if there is no pleasure for them… falling into their spiral of unhappiness is all too easy. “Why should you be happy” the bad voices say “if they aren’t? Why should you do well, take care of yourself, when you can’t take care of them?”

Because, in the end, taking care of yourself is your job. Yes, you gain pleasure from pleasing Dominants. Yes, I’m sure you care about the Doms in your life, probably even love some of them, or all of them, or one of them. Maybe you only have one spectacular Dominant man in your life who owns you, and you completely come undone for him. Maybe you have other players in the band who don’t have quite that much power over you, but let you come undone all the same. No matter how many men you have holding the flogger in the wings, you are, in the end, your Dominant’s prized possession. If you are not in working order, not taking care of yourself, you cause so much more harm than good.

The easiest way to help a Dominant who cares about you is to care for yourself. Keep going, Don’t shrink when he does, but don’t push either. Continue with your day to day life and do things that make you happy. Keep yourself okay, so that when they’re okay again you’re emotionally healthy enough to really be in their lives. It’s okay to be supportive, to let them know that you are there if they want to talk, or lean on you.. or, you know, beat some of their frustrations out on you if that’s your thing. But it needs to be okay with you, subby sub, if they say “Thank you, but I have to get through this on my own.” It’s not personal, it’s not against you. You are not a bad submissive. Your Dominant is just human, just like you are. Humans have flaws; cracks in their armor, even humans you worship, kneel in front of, and beg to use you for their pleasure. Dominants are not gods.

Polyamory adds a whole other twist to the mental mindfuck of pleasing the Shrinking Man. My friend says often that polyamory helps make you a better you, and that each partner helps bring out different parts of yourself. That may mean that when Mr. Domly Dom goes into shrink mode he turns to another partner instead of you.

This is not a personal attack, subby sub. You are in that person’s care for a reason. They play with you, or date you, or do wonderfully wicked things to you, or snuggle with you, for a reason. If you are in their lives, you hold importance to them and you have to remember that. Polyamory is a juggling act, making sure that every partner feels special and unique and secure in their particular relationship with you. That particular relationship may mean that another partner shoulders the heavier emotions so that your particular relationship with Dommy Dom remains healthy.

I have heard it said, and have said myself, that being a Dominant is a damn hard job. Supporting your submissive, anticipating their needs, and thinking of 12 different outcomes to one event is hard work. But being a submissive can be hard as well. It takes courage to submit, and strength in knowing when to submit and when to merely support. Don’t let the shrinking scare you off from the Dommy Dom, and please don’t read this thinking that all Doms shrink. Hopefully, this will just help a couple subs navigate emotionally choppy waters if it does happen. If you support the people in your lives, and still manage to support yourself, you are a good submissive. Keep going. Things will get better.

Yours hopefully helpful,

Rena

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