anger

What Do i Do Now?

Ok, so i came to the conclusion in my last blog post, Can Trust be Restored?, that i should stay and give Maximus another chance.

i’m still hurt, still angry, still horribly disappointed, confused, lost, disoriented.

Kirshenbaum has another six questions for me to answer. These are the questions i need to answer in order to restore my feeling of trust. There is no timetable for this process, it varies for everyone, but they work as a guide:

  1. How will I ever cope with this?
  2. Does the other person really care about me?
  3. Can the other person really see me and understand how his betrayal hurt me?
  4. Can our relationship survive?
  5. Can we make things safer and better between us?
  6. Can I forgive him?

1. How will i ever cope with this?

It is normal to feel and act crazy–most people encounter an overwhelming sense of insanity when betrayed because someone we trusted to take care of us hurt or abandoned us. Nothing makes sense anymore. However, you are not actually crazy, it is what you are feeling, and it’s part of the natural healing process.

Now is when everyone is expecting the crazy, so you might as well give it to them.

You are coping, this is coping, hang in there. What you feel now is not an indicator of whether or not the relationship is worth healing. Don’t do anything you’ll regret.

If you still have any kind of relationship left by the time you start being a little less crazy, you’re in good shape…If you’re not blown apart, it means there is some glue, some degree of caring, and that makes all the difference here. Believe it or not, the trust-restoring process has begun.

i felt like i lost my mind when Maximus admitted to intentionally, justifiably lying to me about Ms. W. The rage was horrible, exhausting, frightening. i even told Him that i thought i had lost my mind. i truly felt i had lost my mind. This is what confused me about what to do next–if this relationship had gone to such an extreme that i lost my mind, went insane, why on earth would i want to stay in it? Why would i put myself in that position to permanently damage myself?

i eventually calmed down. But i still get swirls of anxiety. Swirls of extreme hurt. Swirls of solutions, things that seem like solutions anyway, that will do nothing but cause more hurt, to both of us. i feel like Odysseus tied to the ship’s mast, agonized by the Sirens’ songs of craziness. When will i get past earshot of the Sirens? Perhaps i am coping by the sheer fact that i have somehow tied myself to the mast, unable to break free and lose my mind.

But i’m also just overwhelmingly sad–and it upsets me that i’m so sad.

2. Does the other person really care for me?

The anger in the aftermath of betrayal is what people expect but find the most difficult to deal with. While anger is a feeling, it’s also a tactic, a way to sort out if the other person really cares about us. If the person who betrayed you can hang in there while you’re furious, they’ve passed the “do-you-care” test–they really do care.

…when you realize that the other person cares about you, however ignorant, confused, and clumsy he may be, then you’ll have the motivation you need to rebuild trust.

This may take weeks to figure out. You’re angry, you want to know why. You will grill them for answers. But the danger is that while anger makes you feel safer, makes the other person scared of you so they’ll never hurt you again, it makes them distance themselves in order to provide for their own feeling of safety. Don’t get into a cycle of anger where you hurt the other person, they hurt back in defense, you retaliate and hurt them more, and on and on and on. This will kill the relationship. The less anger we allow ourselves, the faster healing will happen.

Consider saying this to your partner:

Look, I know this is hard on you too. And I wish I had some kind of timetable or road map that would tell me when my anger will start to die down. But I just don’t know when that will happen. I do know that I want it to happen. I want to find a way to trust you again. And I know you want to be trustworthy. But here’s the thing. When you hurt me, that gave me the message that you don’t care about me. That I wasn’t worth your caring about me. But if you can hang in there with me while I’m still so angry, that will tell me that you do care, and that means everything to me.

Be aware that if you can’t trust each other, don’t trust each other, you’ll be watching every moment for an attack or scary gesture, causing you to bristle and attack. This is a mistrust cycle, where mistrust breeds more mistrust, just as the anger cycle breeds more anger. Break the mistrust cycle by sharing with your partner what you need to feel safe, and allow good things to happen. This lets your partner know that rebuilding trust is possible, that your anger is not infinite, that he can recover from his mistake.

i do believe that Maximus cares for me. i just am having trouble understanding why He did this. i want to be able to trust Him again. i know i am stuck in the mistrust cycle, that i am watching for proof, making Him feel under the microscope. my mistrust risks pushing Him away, which will make me feel more abandoned and give me proof that He’s not trustworthy and doesn’t care. This is a big step for me.

And it’s only been 4 days. i’m certainly not here yet. Kirshenbaum notes that it can take a month to get out of the anger stage, but i don’t think i can handle being there that long. And i don’t think these steps are particularly linear, that you have to complete one stage before going into the next one–i think they overlap, at least they seem to be for me.

So this is where i’m going to stop for today. i have a lot of work to do in these first two steps. i can’t rush this. i, we deserve that i not rush this. Just because the cast on a broken arm is awkward and itchy doesn’t mean it’s ready to come off–you only want it off because it’s unnatural, restricting, bulky and keeps you from doing things you regularly enjoy. You have to go through the healing process in order for things to heal correctly.

Maximus, i’m upset. i love you but i’m hurt. i want to trust You again and i know you want to be trusted again, without suspicion. i don’t know how long this will take. i felt like you didn’t care enough to really listen to my fears, didn’t care enough to protect me from repeating things that have harmed me in my past. i felt like i was given a false gift, a fake, a precious package that turned out to be a Jack-in-the-Box with a mocking jester that blew-up in my face and mocked me. But if you can hang with me, stay with me even while i’m hurt, when i need you the most, give me aftercare i need from this scene, it will show me that you do care, will start to put drops back into my love tank. That will mean everything to me and help me come back, help me trust you with my whole heart again.

Love,

gabriella.

Categories: aftercare, anger, balance, communication, conflict, counseling, trust | Leave a comment

Can Trust be Restored?

xray heart hands

They say that broken bones heal to be stronger than they were before. While that’s not necessarily true, bones are temporarily stronger at fracture sites during the healing process, as calcium is being deposited, they do eventually return to a state of being equally as strong as they were. Trust is not a bone, but can it heal like one? Can trust heal as strong as it was before it was broken?

This has been my question, my dilemma. i’m not new to broken trust in a relationship, it’s why i’ve been going through counseling with Maximus, to learn to be trusting. The problem for me is that in my past relationship there were so many betrayals that the only way for me to heal was to remove myself from the relationship–the relationship was just too fractured to heal and had to be amputated. Is that the case now? i’ve been stuck trying to figure out, What should i do?

As i’ve done with questions about BDSM and rage, i’ve started reading about restoring trust. i have begun my research with Mira Kirshenbaum’s I Love You But I Don’t Trust You and i’m finding it quite helpful.

The first important thing i’ve learned from Kirshenbaum’s book is that the mere fact that i am questioning the impulse to flee, to run, to leave the relationship is a sign that it has cause for working on to repair and restore trust. She gives six signs to look for when deciding whether to stay or leave.

1. Would you want this relationship if the trust could be restored?

Looking past the blind rage, remember the past month, the past year before you knew of the betrayal…would you want that relationship? Were you happy enough or were you looking to move on even then before the betrayal?

i was happy right before learning that Maximus had been continuing His relationship with Ms. W. We’d just been to a counseling session with Fern where i shared that i felt the most connected, happiest that i have felt, free of static of mistrust. We had been communicating, understood our love languages. This is why learning of the betrayal was such a shock to me–it had been pure bliss since His epiphany, now shattered.

i want that relationship, the relationship where we communicate, pay attention to each others needs.

2. Does the fact that this betrayal happened ruin everything for you?

Kirshenbaum gives caution here. She shares that while the anger that makes you not want to have anything to do with the other person can last months, that kind of anger eventually subsides, and mostly evaporates with healing. If the betrayal has completely caused you to “re-vision” your partner into something hateful and awful, you can’t stay, but if not, if it’s not clear, then give healing a chance.

i don’t feel like this has changed my vision of Maximus into that of a monster. i am, certainly, extremely disappointed in His decision and it has ruined the feeling of bliss and trust i had finally achieved with Him, but it hasn’t ruined everything. And this is a big realization for me–that it hasn’t ruined everything, just the recent feelings i’d gained.

3. Can I imagine the possibility of forgiveness?

The amount of anger you feel now is not predictive of whether or not you can forgive one day. Forgiveness comes from a realization or understanding that we can decide to let this go; perhaps better understanding their motives, what they were dealing with, or appreciating their limitations. Is your lack of forgiveness destroying your own peace of mind and happiness?

Yesterday, i came to the realization that Maximus had come to a crossroad when i’d last raged two months ago. He had to choose how to proceed with Ms. W while i and we were going through counseling to deal with my rage and mistrust. When i wrote my blog about it, i shared that i was disappointed in the lack of integrity He showed in choosing the easy wrong. Later i was reflecting on what Maximus had said when admitting that He had lied about the continued relationship with Ms. W and concealing it from me, and that was He believed that if i knew He still had a relationship with Ms. W it would slow down my recovery and prolong the process. This was true, it would have. But that still didn’t make sense to me why He would intentionally make a decision that would cause me such pain and hurt, until i recalled how Maximus kept insisting that this was the past not the present. This statement infuriated me, because i took that as Maximus knowing about the continued relationship and lying about it for two months and therefore it was in His past, but it was in my present. However, after thinking about this, i believe that Maximus was not communicating well. i have come to the realization that what He was trying to tell me was that He had made this decision to continue His relationship with Ms. W under the influence of His feelings of guilt about the breakup of her marriage, which was His past belief that influenced His decisions about her. He was not able to make a decision to distance Himself from Ms. W at that point, as He felt enormous guilt, and therefore, knowing it would hurt me  if i knew, decided to conceal the relationship. It was wrong, it probably would not have been the decision He would have made now after discovering the fallacy of His belief of guilt versus the reality in fact.

That being said, i am still extremely hurt by the decision. And there was communication with Ms. W the day after His epiphany, much of which was deleted. But i do understand His intention, even though the execution was poorly chosen. i don’t believe He was malevolent in this decision, and that will help me to someday forgive Him, when i’ve had a chance to heal, to get rid of this anger and hurt and toxin.

4. Does the person you mistrust care about how you feel?

Has the other person gone out of their way to show their caring? If not, rebuilding trust is impossible. “With caring, anything is possible.”

i have to say that Maximus has shown care and concern about how i feel. The most important thing He has done was to give meeting with Fern the utmost priority when He had an enormous amount of work to do the day before going offline for the rest of the week on vacation. He could have easily refused, but He did not. In addition, He kept in contact with me during His travels until He was out of cell phone range, despite me continuing to be upset with Him, and did so in a positive and upbeat manner. He could have well chosen otherwise.

5. Can the other person work on your relationship with you?

You’ve got to talk, share information about things that are difficult to say and difficult to hear, and do it without destroying each other. Neither of you can tell the other person to go figure it out on their own and come back to see if it works. You have to listen when you need to be heard and make yourself be heard when you don’t want to talk anymore. Don’t attack, don’t blame, don’t call each other names when that’s really all you want to do–it will make you feel better in the short term, but destroy any feeling of safety, the safety the other person needs in order to talk.

i do feel Maximus is willing to work on our relationship. He has been willing to work on our relationship when i have been dealing with my raging. He’s going to counseling with me, He’s read and discussed books, He’s listened to me, He’s shared His feelings and experiences when it was difficult. We have a framework, Imago.

6. What do you have to lose by giving your relationship a chance?

What’s the worst that will happen if you try? If you try and find out that this person can’t or won’t change, then you know for sure, no regrets later for not trying. But it could also work out, if you go through the process correctly, if they want to earn your trust, it will work out, and you’ll be glad that you did not give up on it. Right now, you don’t need anything more than just a wisp of a feeling that there is even just a chance things can be salvaged. All you need now is the thought that it’s worth attempting.

i do believe it is worth trying. i’m not ready to give up on us, we are worth trying to salvage.

Kirshenbaum believes that broken trust is not like a house on fire, where what’s burned is burned; she believes it is like a broken bone, that what’s broken can heal.

Broken bones heal all the time. Yes, it’s painful. And yes, it can feel like it’s taking forever. But it doesn’t take forever at all.

She also shares that when we discover that our partner has done something bad, we believe it reveals their true character, when, in fact, all we’ve discovered is one truth about them, that they did this bad thing. You can’t let this one thing make us blind to all the good things they do, just as we ourselves are capable of doing stupid, weak, ignorant, selfish things as well. Let the other person have the chance surprise you with their good qualities, just as they’ve surprised you with their bad one.

i will be continuing to discuss what i’m learning from I Love You But I Don’t Trust You in the next blogs. The next posts will discuss the process of restoring trust.

Categories: anger, conflict, counseling, honesty, trust | Leave a comment

Aftercare…not just for BDSM

spooning2

It’s been a hard couple of days.

i returned home after posting the last blog and promptly raged again. i feel full of poison. i understand how Maximus felt with my big rages two months ago where He felt poisoned and needed time for the toxin to clear His body. i don’t know what the half life of this toxin is, just as He didn’t know what the half life of that toxin was. i wish it wasn’t in my bloodstream, but it is.

We met with Fern yesterday afternoon. i’d texted her after the rage Sunday and made an appointment for us. i’m so very glad i did; so very glad Maximus agreed to go despite His busy schedule (He did begin to protest when i told Him to pick a time that worked best for Him, but He stopped Himself). She guided us through the Imago process. It was horribly hard. i felt so sick, so hurt. But it helped.

monkeyThe thing i really needed to start my healing process was for Maximus to hold me, i mean REALLY hold me. i’d asked Him for it several times, crawled into Him several times, but i just didn’t feel genuinely held. To me, it felt like i was being held by one of those wind-up toy monkeys, the ones with the cymbals where their arms mechanically crash the cymbals together–no feeling, just process. i talked about my need to be held during the session with Fern and i could see that Maximus still wasn’t understanding. i described the monkey and then said, “What i really need is Aftercare. Healing, restorative holding” And i saw His face instantly change, His body completely change. He got it…this He could understand.

“This would have prevented the rage this morning,” He replied. “I didn’t get that, but I get it now. It totally makes sense to me.”

We discussed the cyclical problem that my not being held in aftercare from this emotional beating had been. i was devastated, raged, needed healing, but He was afraid of this raging woman and pulled back, which made me need aftercare even more intensely and not receiving it, made me rage again. And so on.

He promised to take time for aftercare when we got home. And He did. And it helped.

We have healing to do. This was a big hit for me, one i didn’t see coming and it blindsided me. We will both be seeing Fern separately and together to work on this. i dropped Him off at the airport this morning so He could head to California for a backpacking trip through Yosemite with His brother. It’s going to be a good break for us both, an important break with time for us to think about our relationship and how to proceed. “I’m so sorry I’ve put you through this,” He said as we said our goodbyes at the airport. “We’ll get through it,” i replied. “Yes, we will. I love you,” said Maximus as we embraced.

Categories: aftercare, anger, communication, conflict, counseling, relationship needs | 1 Comment

Lies

The other night i noticed odd behavior from Maximus. He wouldn’t put His phone down, walked everywhere through the house with it, even while changing His clothes. When He went to bed He first put the phone on the charger in my office but after i got up shortly thereafter, He got up and put it next to Him in bed. He’d also revealed accidentally to me days before that He’d changed the access code as well. This made me uncomfortable.

So in the morning, i accessed His phone. And i found that He’d deleted years of text messages thread, everything actually, from Ms. W. Every text from everyone else for years was still there, all but hers. Next, I found an unread email from her in His inbox telling Him she missed Him and related details if His week. And on His sent folder, an email thread from the day after His epiphany all about Finding days to get together and details of His evening…that happened at a time i’d been unable to get a hold of Him.

He’s been telling me throughout our counseling that He’s not had any contact with her, not seen her, not talked or texted or emailed her. Not only has He been doing that, but He’s been continuing it after He had this supposed glorious breakthrough where He said He was going to move on and not contact her.

i started with Imago. And He said it was all true, that He had lied to me deliberately about this and felt justified in doing so as He felt it would keep us from resolving our issues.

Seriously?!? Containing an ongoing secret, lying affair with a woman which has been the crux of our relationship crisis would be helpful to resolving our issues? In what world does that make sense?

Furthermore, Maximus has continually told me that He believes in honesty and truth so much that if He ever lied to me, or anyone He was in a relationship with, it was proof that the relationship was over.

So, to me, He’s telling me that He’s deliberately lied to me and that means He’s done.

i have been completely bare and honest, both in counseling and on this blog. i have shared how lying and dishonesty in my past relationship has been so hurtful and harmed me so greatly that even the fear of it can cause me to rage. He’s fully aware if this. And He deliberately did that to me.

He thanked me for not raging. And then He tells me, when i remind Him of His promise about if He lies to His partner, that “I gave Myself a pass.”

And that’s where i raged. Threw all His stuff in bags, clothes, sex toys, gifts. Everything. i carefully put His computer away and then as i brought it to Him i wondered…how many times has He been with her during this process? How many times has He been fucking her? It’s not in His daytimer where He puts EVERYTHING. i ask Him over and over and He won’t answer. i pulled put His daytimer and pulled pages out.

He screams, “That’s My life! You’re destroying My life!” And years the daytimer out of my hands. i yell back, “it’s a daytimer, You are actually destroying my life, our relationship.”

It was ugly and awful and we yelled and struggled. Eventually we sat down and talked more. He didn’t leave and Ge helped clean up the mess we made of the house and unpacked the car.

i texted Fern and we have an appointment with her this afternoon.

But i’m furious. Emotionally, mentally, physically exhausted. And i was short with Him. Which pissed Him off and He packed up again. i told Him to stop and after some time He did.

We talked. He went to sleep and i couldn’t.

This morning He got up, didn’t touch me, didn’t acknowledge me, got showered, dressed, made coffee for himself and went into my office and started working.

i left.

i look at this and think, why should i continue this? How long do i wait for there to be an honest happy relationship with Him? It’s been 10 months of angst with 9 days of bliss, based on lies.

Guilt for breaking up Ms. W’s marriage? How about breaking up our relationship? Try THAT guilt on for size. It’s not a belief, this one is FACT.

Categories: anger, communication, conflict, counseling, intuition, lying | Leave a comment

Liar

Maximus has been lying to me about Ms. W.

i am devastated.

Categories: anger, bat shit crazy, BDSM relationship, communication, conflict, counseling, insecurities, intuition, lying, relationship | Leave a comment

Translation!!

translation

Ugh. So i wrote the last blog and then Maximus and i had a communication breakdown. Ugh. And we both got mad at each other, pretty much the first time we have both been angry with each other. Oddly, i’m glad that Maximus got angry with me, and i know He doesn’t feel that way about it. Maybe it’s because i feel like He got locked and loaded engaged with the situation, maybe it’s because i don’t feel like the odd one out or the lesser person in the relationship because we were BOTH angry, maybe i can feel now that i have done something that made Him angry at me for a change…finally. Hopefully it’s also the last time, as i know Maximus really has been working to avoid getting mad at me, and i really don’t want to do that again either.

The issue was again me not feeling like a priority, as i described in Priorities, What’s the Conflict, and Leaps. And i was upset that it was happening again, that i felt that Maximus was too busy to even touch base with me all day. i tried to cue Him in with Imago words, but it didn’t seem to help. And then i just got ticked off and decided i was done trying Imago and just try a different way to get His attention…to be angry. i didn’t rage, but i was outwardly angry, intentionally.

So we were angry at each other and we got angry with the Imago process. i felt we’d already dialogued about this same issue and it hadn’t worked. i was angry that it felt like i’d not really had my feelings heard and that the process failed to make a change. So we ended up going partway through it, getting angry about it, and tossed it aside and just got mad.

…and we made it through.

What we learned, what we hadn’t learned last time we dialogued, was that Maximus and i were speaking different languages. He was speaking to me in a language that made Him feel thoughtful and caring and attentive, but i received the message as cold and a list of excuses, justifications on just how many things had more priority than i did. At one point, where we had the epiphany, Maximus explained that He always said GOT which was all encompassing that He was thinking about me, missing me, and loved me; but i exclaimed, “Then tell me You’re thinking about me, miss me, and love me! Tell me that! GOT doesn’t mean that to me.”

Aha!

The Five Love Languages

5 love languages

Interestingly enough, i had started reading, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman the day before. i’d seen a reference to it a few weeks ago. Chapman counsels that there are five ways people speak and understand emotional love:

Words of Affirmation

Acts of Service

Receiving Gifts

Quality Time

Physical Touch

People have a primary love language, or primary way of communicating and receiving love–it is that thing that makes you feel proof that someone loves and cares for you. If your mate communicates in their way, but it is not the way you prefer to receive love, you may feel shorted and unimportant. And, in turn, if you continually communicate your love to your partner in a way you prefer but they do not, you feel like you try and try and try and never get appreciated for all the things you’ve done to prove your love to them. And sometimes, one mate gets it right and the other wrong, leaving one feeling fulfilled and happy, and the other partner frustrated. Gosh, this sounded so familiar!

Interested in learning more, i found a quiz to help identify my primary and secondary love languages from The 5 Love Languages website. In doing this, i found that my primary love language was Receiving Gifts and secondary was Quality Time. In addition, the least desirable language for me was Acts of Service. i had an inkling after reading the chapters that this might be the case. i also considered Maximus’ languages, and thought it would be Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation.

So when we had the epiphany that we were having a language problem, i shared about The 5 Love Languages with Maximus, described what it was, what it meant, and what my languages were. And it made sense to us. i told Him that i had an idea what His were, but i wanted Him to take the quiz anyway; Maximus asked that i not tell Him what i thought they were until He’d taken the quiz, as not to bias Him.

Well i was wrong! Maximus’ languages are Acts of Service and Quality Time. More interestingly, is that his least desirable language is Receiving Gifts! So we are actually 180-degrees from each other. No wonder we feel this disconnect. No wonder Maximus is so frustrated when i say i just don’t feel important while He’s worked and worked and tried and tried to prove it to me–we’re not speaking the same language.

Remember the Golden Rule? “Do unto others as they would have done unto you”? Well i think that’s flawed, always have. It should read, “Do unto others as they would have done unto THEM”! Right? If someone tries to reward you with a foot massage because that’s what they love but you’re horribly ticklish, to the point that having your feet touched is torture, how is that the right thing for them to do??

So i have been showing my love how i needed it, by gifts of time, gifts of texts, material things, small and large, free or expensive, to communicate to Maximus just how much i loved Him–and then often disappointed that it didn’t seem to have the effect i wanted. And i’ve been waiting for those things in return.

Maximus

gabriella

Acts of Service

Receiving Gifts

Quality Time

Quality Time

Physical Touch

Physical Touch

Words of Affirmation

Words of Affirmation

Receiving Gifts

Acts of Service

This has been enlightening for us. And it makes sense. So now we are studying this, and working to learn how to show our love to each other in the language the other best receives. And you know, i’m the one having the struggle with how to do it. Maximus has been happy and has felt fulfilled, with a full love tank, but i know i’ve been communicating my love to him in the least desirable way. So, i have just flat out told Him i need His help to think of ways i can show my love to him through service, and He’s going to work on that for me.

Do you ever learn something and think, “Well, duh, that makes sense. Why didn’t i know that before?”

Categories: anger, BDSM relationship, communication, conflict, The 5 Love Languages | Leave a comment

Awakening

Quite a bit of really good things to talk about today, some revelations, considerations as i/we move forward through this process of healing.

Yesterday, during my run, i decided to change from music to the Erotic Awakening podcast. Since the blowup, i’ve really stepped back from reading/perusing/listening to podcasts/etc. about BDSM because it was too much for me. i was reeling at the potential loss of that aspect of my life, embarrassed that i’d endangered it, and i just couldn’t go there. But, i thought it was time to go back, trusting that Maximus and i are in reparation mode not separation mode, and i generally seem to pick up some kernel of insight or something to think about when i study BDSM, even if it’s merely a new position or toy or scene.

The latest EA podcast was EA255 – How to train your slave. At first, i have to admit, i was leery about listening to this one because i’m feeling like a horrible submissive right now, having acted so far outside Maximus’ expectations, but i’m so glad i listened. i picked up some very important things from Dan and dawn’s discussion, things i think will be important in adding into my/our healing process.

Behavioral Modification Training

One of the things that Maximus and i really like about Dan and dawn’s D/s relationship is that it isn’t so high protocol. dawn is allowed to look at Dan in the eyes, she is able to speak freely, she is not chained to the house, goes to college, has interests and leadership roles outside of their relationship. These are things that have been cultivated by Dan in an intentional but not strict structured way–this is very similar to our D/s relationship and has been important to us.

During their discussion about slave training, Dan was discussing how His training focused on modifying behavior for what His expectations are so that the submissive will modify her expectations of her own behavior. When He said this, dawn brought up a recent situation where she was slipping into an old behavior pattern and that Dan simply put His hand on her leg and said, “Old Pattern,” and she immediately switched back into the new behavior pattern. Dan believes dawn came to Him because she was drawn to certain characteristics that He possessed that she desired in herself, and she has adopted those behaviors and patterns through their relationship and training. In this way, the slave reflects the Master, holds herself to a higher accountability through her desire to please Him.

i think this is an important lesson. i really do want Maximus to be involved in my process of learning how not to rage. It’s not that i believe He’s the cause, He’s not, but i really do feel right in our D/s relationship, protected, cultivated, and He’s present when i have raged and therefore the best person to help me not go down that path. my concern, however, is how He can do that without it causing an escalation in the situation, as i worry that Him trying to redirect me will only piss me off and give me yet another thing to rage about! We talked about this very thing this morning–He has the same fear about this. He’s tried to redirect me, but the rage comes on so fast that there has been no time for Him to redirect me–one rage came on while He was asleep and had no way to know i was raging.

The key to this will be me working on creating new neural pathways first. There is no way for Maximus to beat the speed of a nerve impulse, which travel anywhere from 2-200 mile per hour (see this table)! Once new neural pathways are developed, it will take time for impulses to detour back to the old, obsolete pathways, allowing Maximus to see me back-tracking. And, we will work with Fern to help me learn how to accept guidance from Maximus in this situation, to not get mad at Him for helping me stay on track.

Duration of Punishment

When Dan is training a submissive, He is clear that , “I am punishing you,” and “Now punishment’s done, let’s move on because it’s over with.” This is very helpful for those who can punish themselves worse than any other person could punish them. Dan finally had to tell dawn that she was not allowed to punish His property without His permission. When punishment is done, it really is done and over.

This is a lesson for me. In each and every one of the raging episodes i have had, Maximus has instructed me, very clearly, that this was the last time this was going to happen. And i agreed, but i was so absolutely mortified by my behavior that i have punished myself internally for months, which has led to Shame-Rage. This is a cycle that i need to stop. Yes, i have behaved monstrously and i have been punished by Maximus, but i am working on modifying my behavior–punishment is over. Punishing myself serves no purpose but to increase shame. i need to stop punishing Maximus’ property and respect it.

Respecting your Dominant’s Property

The other thing Dan worked on early in their relationship was in regards to helping dawn get over her attachment to her body image. “i’m large, i’m not pretty…” Dan stopped her and asked, “Do you doubt your Master? I’m telling you you’re beautiful.” She learned to trust His words.

i really identified with this. i don’t think i have a big body image issue, although Maximus believes otherwise. i did identify with this in regards to trusting the Maximus chose me. Early on in our relationship, i felt out of my league with Him, that He was so athletic, so gorgeous, so affluent, so amazingly perfect in every way that i somehow didn’t deserve Him. In fact, i even told Him that i could not believe He chose me, that i pictured something completely different for the woman He would choose, someone tall, blonde, CEO, huge tits, etc. And when He told me i was the Best Piece of Ass (BPE) He’d ever had, i questioned Him on it, not believing Him. Well, that’s just downright disrespectful to do that to Him! When i put myself down in that way, i am essentially telling Him that He’s chosen someone who is not the things He wants, has made a bad choice, and that He’s an idiot! Why would i ever tell my Master that? Maximus is extremely intelligent, knows what He wants, and has picked me because i AM the things He wants! If He says i am beautiful, i AM beautiful! If He says i am BPE, i AM BPE! If He says we are Growing Old Together (GOT), we are certainly going to GOT. Doing anything to question or reject that is simply telling Him He’s a liar and that’s just completely disrespectful.

Shared Goals

Dan believes that the key to dawn’s training was that they had the same goals. In their case, that dawn become a stronger, more confident, more self-reliant being; and to embrace their sexual fantasies. Since their goals were aligned, they could train toward that. Training won’t be effective if their goals are not aligned.

i do believe our goals are aligned. We spent quite a bit of time this morning discussing what Maximus’ expectation is for the end result of our healing process and i agree with His vision. We received the intake forms from Fern this morning and there was an entire section the Maximus and i have to respond to about goals and expectations we have as a couple for this process. i have filled mine out and forwarded them on to Him and i look forward to seeing what He includes. This is one of our many strengths, that we do have a shared goal about resolving this and for our relationship.

i was excited to talk to Maximus about what i’d heard on the podcast. He listened to the podcast this morning and we talked afterward. It was a great discussion and we are very upfront and honest with each other about fears and concerns. It was great to have specific things to discuss, and these podcasts have been great for that throughout our venture into BDSM.

i brought up a concern this morning that i was initially going to blog about and then discuss with Maximus after He read it, but it came up during our conversation and i decided to address it then. As we have talked since the last rage, Maximus has stated over and over again that this can never happen again. i have never said anything to the contrary and fully agree. Addressing my rage has taken full focus and number one priority in my life–even over Ironman training, which is a significant part of my life. i cannot go through another rage situation, not only for what it does to Him, but whether He’s with me at the end of this or not, i cannot live with being a raging person–i simply cannot explain how horrible it is to be in the skin of a rager. i have been starting to feel invalidated when Maximus tells me yet  again that this can never happen again, as i feel like i don’t know what more i can say or do to show Him how hard i am working on fixing this–i’m feeling like He’s not hearing what i’m saying or seeing what i’m doing. In fact, i feel like i’m getting hit over and over on the head with a hammer. my ultimate concern is that at some point, my feeling of being unheard or invalidated will trigger me into yelling, “I KNOW!!!!!” at Him, and i just don’t want that to happen.

Maximus listened intently when i explained this and when i was done stated, “This is the best conversation we have had yet.” Wow, i was so relieved, as it was difficult for me to start this conversation, not wanting Him to feel attacked. Maximus volunteered that He would not say that anymore. He was repeating it because in the previous times post-rage i have assured Him that it wouldn’t happen again, yet it did. However, my actions are significantly different this time, in that i have agreed to go to counseling, am reading, blogging about it, and have admitted that i have a problem with rage. He acknowledges that this is a huge step and a huge change from before and will recognize that. i’m very glad that we had this conversation.

my next appointment with Fern is tomorrow. This evening i will go through all my posts and distill out main themes as she asked me to do. i will probably capture that in a post.

Categories: anger, balance, BDSM podcasts, BDSM relationship, communication, Dan and dawn, Erotic Awakening | 1 Comment

Courage

A quote i read this morning:

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

i thought that was very encouraging. As Maximus noted last night, someday this will just be a blip and nothing more. It feels like a crater now, time and distance will lessen the impact on the topography and it’s good to remember that.

i just got back from my first counseling session. i am very, very pleased with the counselor (i’m going to call her Fern). i can’t even remember what web directory i found her on, i had done many, many searches for kink-friendly counselors in the Portland/Seattle area and she came up. In fact, it was because of her notation on her website that she did Skype sessions that i ever considered adding Skype-capability to my list of requirements. The amazing thing, that i learned partway through my long introduction with her, is that she is in an open relationship with her husband, that they had incredible difficulties in their marriage at one point that included her raging. They were separated for nearly a year while she and they worked on their relationship and her raging. And, they are in a D/s relationship where she is submissive. i just wanted to hug her when she shared that with me. i feel very comfortable with her.

Most of the session was me telling my story, introducing myself and Maximus. She did share how raging is actually a physiological process, not only an emotional process, in that when you first start raging, you build neuropathways in your brain; future triggers or perceived risks then fire those neuropathways involuntarily, which is why often a person who rages feels they cannot stop the rage from starting–because the body has taken over automatically. This happens even if the person is not longer in the situation or relationship where they formed the neural pathways, because they have been formed and an easier path to travel than new pathways. Additionally, the triggers are related to the fight in “fight or flight,” in that it in response to some deep survival need, such as love, belonging, respect, that the person unconsciously fears is being threatened. So, we are going to be working on reprogramming my neural pathways away from raging and delving into what survival needs i feel are threatened. She is going to be using Imago Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well.

i am very encouraged. She was encouraged by my openness and honesty in sharing my story and issues and by all the work i’ve done so far. She is also pleased that Maximus is involved and that He is willing to be involved in the counseling sessions as well, both solo and as a couple. She asked that i journal about my feelings so we can work on triggers and survival needs, and we discussed how i am already journlling and will continue to do that. I will bring bullet points of my entries rather than pages and pages like i sent her already!

i have my next appointment Friday afternoon. i’m looking forward to it.

On a side note, i saw this today and oh, if it was only that simple!!

if shes freaking out

Categories: anger, bat shit crazy, BDSM relationship, communication, counseling, honesty, insecurities, rage, relationship needs | Tags: | Leave a comment

Blame it on my Wild Heart…

wildheart

As i noted in Abandonment Rage, i will be journaling about my progress, pitfalls, and wins. At this point, i will be doing a journal entry every day to go over my feelings, struggles, lessons learned, counseling sessions, etc. of that day.

i have finished the book, Rage, having gone through it line by line, chapter by chapter, several times, and written about what i have learned from it. i am thankful to have found this book–i’m sure there are others out there, but this was what i needed at this time to get started. i intend on printing out my journal pages and taking them to my counselor when i go, perhaps even send them to her prior to our first meeting, should she be interested in that, so that we can discuss my situation, what i’ve learned, and her impressions of those.

Physically, i’ve lost five pounds. Normally i’d be happy about that, but i know it’s because i’ve not been eating. At times my stomach has been so upset that i cannot get food into my mouth, even after i’ve spent time to prepare something healthy. i have eaten at work, but small amounts, as i know i need to have some food to function in my job. i do know that i do need to eat, not only because i need the nourishment, but because low blood sugar situations initiate hormone responses, and fluxuations can lead to emotional imbalance, and i need all the help i can get to keep my emotions in check. Last night, after i’d made a beautiful salad for dinner, i found i couldn’t eat it because i started worrying about not hearing from Maximus in hours (it was only less than two hours when i figured it out, i’d thought my nap had been much longer), so to remedy that, i called a friend and took my dinner to her house and ate with her, which worked very well!

i talked to Maximus on my way home from my friends, for just a few minutes because He was exhausted and in bed. He sounded exhausted. i told myself not to take it personally that He didn’t want to talk long.

i finally slept well last night. Some of the sleep deprivation has been work-related, a necessary evil of my occupation, but the majority has been tossing and turning, mind-reeling, thinking about what has happened, worrying about what is or will happen. i’ve never used sleep aids, and will continue not to use them, as i don’t need anything in my system that alters my chemistry right now.

i also masterbated for the first time since the incident yesterday, which is a long time for me. i’ve been at work a lot, so obviously not going to do that there, but when i was home, i just didn’t like myself very much, so pleasuring myself was not palatable. i masterbated three times, used that as a sleep aid, actually, and each time envisioned Maximus making love to me, enjoying me, the two of us happy and entwined and together. This was a beautiful vision to have, full of beautiful self-talk and self-loving.

The dramatic decrease in communication between Maximus and me has been the most difficult part of this. We text, email, and talk all day, generally, and we are texting and talking only a couple of times a day now. This is so palpable. It’s often hours and hours between a text to Him and a reply. i feel myself become anxious about it and start to worry what that means. But, i apply the lessons i have learned from Rage, breathe, give Him the benefit of the doubt that He’s hurting, healing, and probably busy to keep His mind off this, and remember the little reassurances that i’ve had from Him. Sure enough, all those things are true–imagine that! i’ve taken several baths to relax too.

i have been concerned that perhaps my open journal to Maximus might make Him feel barraged as every post sends an automatic email to Him–Friday had three posts alone. We talked today and i asked Him about that and discovered quite a bit from Him. He has been reading my posts, says that they have been very insightful and have been acting as a sort of antidote to the poisoning He has felt from my rage. He does not feel barraged and would like me to continue my journaling in this forum that He can see. i let Him know that this would be a daily thing for a while and will show ups and downs, and He understood and reiterated His support for me doing this. i did make a joke, and checked with Him to see if it would be ok for me to do that, which was that the last two times He’s mentioned being poisoned all i’ve wanted to do was to ask if i could suck the poison out! He chuckled and said that was actually really quite desirable and was very insightful to hear from me! He also went on that He’d not lost interest to tie me up and fuck me, etc., although He was a bit fearful that the flogging might be a bit more forceful than it should be. i was so relieved to hear Him say that, as i had kind of assumed that He lost interest in me sexually over this, mostly because i know i, myself had lost interest in it (an illustration of shame response, figuring i was no longer sexy or desirable). i told Him i really desired to have Him flog me and a little more forceful flogging actually sounded good to me. He said He was a bit fearful of losing control and flogging too hard out of being upset, not wanting to do that, and added, “It will leave marks.” To which i replied, “Well i left my marks on you already,” which He concurred. It felt so good to have this discussion. And His voice sounded more back to normal today on the phone too. Little things.

i also worked out today. i swam 3000 meters, working on stroke improvements, and did take a few momentary breaks when my concentration lapsed. It was good to have the technique adjustments to work on to keep my mind focused on something else. And i ran 3.25 miles on the treadmill too. Both great things.

This afternoon was a lot more like normal in that Maximus texted quite a bit. He was out shopping and saw the shirt in the photo at the top of the post: Blame it on my Wild Heart. It’s so good to be able to have a piece of our humor back again! Baby steps.

It’s been a good day.

Categories: anger, balance, bat shit crazy, BDSM relationship, communication, insecurities, patience, Reflection, submissive journal | Leave a comment

Shame-Based Rage

Image

The last type of rage i experience is Shame-Based Rage. This is to a lesser extent, and related to the shame i feel after the times i have exploded in sudden abandonment rage. i get horribly embarrassed and feel humiliated by my actions, beat myself up internally. Only once has this been the sole type of rage event for me, but it is a secondary issue in episodes of Abandonment Rage.

Shame is both a feeling and a belief. It is an unpleasant feeling of being totally exposed to people’s criticism, where the person  can come to believe that they are somehow defective, broken, flawed, damaged. The instinctive reaction to a moment of shame is to flee, run away, or hide, to become invisible so no one can see your flaws. While running away makes the person feel safer, it triggers a self-defeating spiral where they feel additional shame for fleeing. However, in shame-rage, the person tries to get rid of the feeling of shame by giving it to someone else–dumping all their anger on someone else.

The time i experienced Shame-based rage was during a dinner with Maximus and The Englishman. Maximus and i had confided in The Englishman about our relationship and difficulties i was having as he had overheard a Skype episode where i had raged at Maximus in December. The Englishman started to, what i perceived, lecture me in front of Maximus about how i needed to trust Him and that He loved me, something we had worked out. The Englishman didn’t have all the information and i felt i needed to defend myself from this onslaught, ambushed. i started to feel my emotions take over and in effort to calm down and not rage, i excused myself to the car to breathe. As i was sitting in the parking lot, a man from an adjacent car started banging on the car window and yelling at me, i have no idea why. i locked my door, put my face in my lap and he went away. Soon i heard the driver’s door open. i assumed it was Maximus, so i sat up and leaned into Him for Him to hold me–however, when i opened my eyes, i saw it was The Englishman and i exploded inside, felt invaded in my safe place. i yelled for him to leave me alone, ran out of the car and ran down the street. i ran and ran and ran. i was angry at Maximus for sending him out to me–my assumption as to what happened. Eventually i settled down and decided to go back to the car, however, when i returned, Maximus and The Englishman started yelling at me from the restaurant entrance. As i didn’t want to see The Englishman again at that moment, i tossed my stilettos and beautiful necklace Maximus had purchased for me at the car and ran away again. i tried to get a cab from an auto shop to go home as i had left my cell phone in Maximus’ car, but they never called one for me. Eventually i returned to the restaurant where Maximus tracked me down in His car, frantically searching the area for me, and i got into His car only when The Englishman left to another restaurant. i was furious with Maximus, thinking He’d sent The Englishman to shame me more, accused Him of sending “a rapist to rape me some more!”, screaming at Him. At one point i ran from the car, telling Him i was going Home and we were done. After i sat and breathed for a few moments, i returned to the car and He drove me home.

At those moments, all i want to do is run. Run fast, far, away from my shame, away from the hurt, away from, what i feel, are critical eyes, embarrassed, humiliated.

9 Steps to Tame Shame-Based Rage

1. Make a strong commitment right now to gain control over shame-based rage.

I’m so there!

i, gabriella, promise today to quit raging. Specifically, i will refrain from raging against anybody, especially the people i love. If i feel personally shamed by something others say or do, i will step away until i gain control over my urge to attack. i will use no excuses to justify shaming, blaming, or treating others with contempt.

Part of this is that during discussions or when i feel overwhelming emotions starting to build, i need to let Maximus know that i need a break. There are times that i have run away without telling Him this and walk away, which prompts Him to ask me to come back and not walk away from Him–i usually return and fail to tell Him i’m needing a break, which further accelerates the situation. i have to own my commitment to communicate my needs.

2. Follow the shame-rage trail back to your own shameful thoughts and feelings.

These are not caused by what someone else says, even though it feels like it, it is based upon what is going on inside my head. No one’s blaming me, they are discussing things because they care, so don’t take this personally. This will be extremely important as i work to eliminate raging as it will require me to discuss these things with Maximus, with a counselor, and with the two of them together–i will feel intense shame, guilt, remorse, and i need to manage that without letting it take me over.

3. Discover how you temporarily get rid of your shame by raging.

My shame gets aimed at Maximus. When i had the episode with The Englishman, i blamed Maximus for allowing The Englishman to ambush me, which was not true. He never sent The Englishman out, He was stuck inside the restaurant trying to figure out what was happening and trying to pay the bill for a very expensive dinner we had ordered. He could not run out after The Englishman, He could not go out to me until He had dealt with the bill.

During episodes of abandonment rage, i call Him the things my shame was telling myself about me. i’m attacking Him as if He is my shame.

4. Reclaim your shame to break the shame-rage connection.

i have to accept that i feel shameful, that i have behaved in a manner that is causing me to feel embarrassed and humiliated in front of the person i love. i need to own it and i need to deal with the abandonment issues that trigger the raging that makes me feel ashamed.

5. Challenge the validity of the five core shame messages.

It’s time to replace negative self-talk with healing thoughts. Change:

  • “i am no good” to “i am good.”
  • “i am not good enough” to “i am good enough.”
  • “i am unlovable” to “i am loved and lovable.”
  • “i don’t belong” to “i belong.”
  • “i should not exist” to “i am.”

i need to be patient and kind to myself in this process. It is already a bit of a struggle here because as i have wounded Maximus so deeply and He feels poisoned, He has pulled back from me, which i have focused on as humiliating. This has changed our communication patterns dramatically, as text messages and phone calls have drastically reduced, bringing up feelings of loss, memories of abandonment in past relationships, and is extremely uncomfortable. it is easy for the self-talk of, “look what you’ve done” to start and i have fear in feeling emotions right now. i am so afraid of having another raging episode that i fear my feelings, wishing i could will them away, but realizing that it is natural and normal to have emotions, i just need to deal with them effectively. Healing self-talk during these times has been helpful.

6. Treat others with respect and dignity at all times.

This has a lot to due with the last paragraph. i have wounded Maximus; He is feeling pain and loss too, trying to both heal and protect Himself. i need to respect what He needs and realize that He’s not doing that to hurt me back. i respect that He is still here, that He did not end our relationship, and i give Him the benefit of the doubt. i will use the little things that return and celebrate them.

Potter-Efron suggests the Five As for ways to be respectful:

Attend: Take time to really listen and give complete attention.

Appreciate: Like what Maximus does and how He does things.

Accept: Maximus does not have to change, He’s okay how He is.

Admire: i can learn from Maximus. He does things with grace and skill. He has dealt with past abandonment which, in many ways, were so much worse than i encountered, and doesn’t resort to raging. i admire that and wish to learn from Him.

Affirm: i am so happy that Maximus is part of my life. i cannot imagine my life without Him. i want to celebrate our lives together and embrace GOT every day.

7. Give praise instead of criticism.

i will stop looking for something wrong. i will notice thoughtfulness, creativity, generosity, appearance, individuality, intelligence, and accomplishments and then give praise for it.

8. Surround yourself with people who treat you respectfully.

i do this and will continue to do this.

9. Watch for relapse signs that your shame rage is getting out of control.

i will monitor the self-talk and the feelings of anxiety that come with dealing with the aftermath of these raging incidents. When i feel them growing beyond simple emotional responses, i will work to calm myself down, breathe, not let the emotions go out of control, take a time out, ask for space, do something else to occupy my mind and feel fulfilled.

And never, never give up on myself. i can do this.

Believe that we will heal. Believe that we will be stronger together. Be patient in the process.

Categories: anger, balance, bat shit crazy, BDSM relationship, conflict, counseling, fear, rage, relationship needs | 1 Comment

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