“If you're angry, take deep breaths. If you're really angry, swear.” - Mark Twain
My friend says on her blog, “Anger and I are old friends.” This is why I like her blog so much because she is very realistic. You'll probably see a lot of submissives say that they never get angry at their Dominants, but I'm willing to bet that they are either not being honest, or they are denying themselves an outlet for their anger.
In my relationship with my Dominant, emotional outbursts directed at Him (or anyone else) by me is inappropriate and not tolerated. Period. Fortunately for me, I'm a very laid-back person by nature, but that does not mean that I haven’t had my moments, oh no! We went through a few years there, where we really had to work on our relationship, which meant that emotions were often raw on both sides. So, what to do if you find yourself in a situation in which your emotions are escalating?
First, I am not a counselor or therapist. I am just a submissive woman who happens to have a few years of experience in a 24/7, intense D/s marriage with a Master who happens to possess a very short fuse. Everyone handles anger and frustration differently, but I think most would agree that the best way to deal with anger is to cool off before saying or doing something you will regret later on.
I have my own room, with a futon which serves as a loveseat and a bed. In my room, I have some of my books and music, my sewing machine, and my easel, paints, and paper and pencils. Everything I need to relax and recharge is in this room, so it's not only the room I sleep in when Master doesn’t feel like sharing His bed. I go there to cool off the moment I realize my emotions are escalating, because the funny thing about strong emotions is, they rarely go down if I stay in an environment that is fostering them.
So having my own room works well for me, but what if you don’t have your own room because that's not conducive to your particular D/s dynamic? You have other options. Think about where you like to be to relax, whether it's the beach or a walk in the woods or park. Treat yourself to something at a cafe, or shopping. Whatever it is, ground yourself in it and become part of that microcosm and just be there. Let your mind think about what your seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling on your skin and with your fingers. Your just another patron sitting in that cafe, or buying shoes, or sunning themselves on a beach blanket.
When you have become just another characteristic of your environment, you may find that your mind will start working out the knot of your anger quite on its own, without any conscious effort.
The Mayo Clinic has a very helpful list of tips to help you manage your anger:
Take a Time-out
– As I expressed above, taking some time to cool off goes a long way to helping you clear your emotions out of the way to make room for constructive discussion.
Express Your Anger
– As soon as your clear-headed, politely request of your Dominant Their time for constructive discussion in which you can express yourself in a nonconfrontational manner. Be direct and speak clearly without manipulating the conversation.
Get Some Exercise
– Take a hike, go for a run, work out at the gym, swim or maybe just walk your dog. Getting your heart-rate up stimulates certain chemicals in the brain that often leave us feeling calmer and happier. Giving your body something repetitive to do also helps to open your mind to thinking more clearly.
Think Before You Speak
– Insulting your Dominant won't help resolve conflict, it'll make it worse. Don't say something you can't take back. Remember to allow your Dominant to take Their time formulating their own responses to your statements and questions.
Identify Possible Solutions
– Stop thinking about what got your goat in the first place and start considering ways to improve the situation. Are you tired after a long day at work and now your Dominant is making demands? Politely ask for 5 minutes to get changed and rearrange your focus, and then fulfill Their demands with a little-added enthusiasm.
Use “I” Statements
– instead of accusing, “You always...” or, “You never...” try saying, “I feel angry about...” This maintains that you are taking responsibility for your own anger and not placing the blame for it on your partner, as well as opening up a safe discourse about the incident by not appearing critical.
Don't Hold a Grudge
– When the incident is over, it is over. Just forgive and forget and move on. Don't let hurt feelings on both sides live in to poison your future. I knew a woman once who held on to every wrong ever done to her as if her life depended on it, with the eventual result that she became an amazingly bitter and unpleasant person to be around.
Use Humour to Relieve Tension
– Look hard, chances are you can find something humorous about the incident! Sometimes when I argue, I am suddenly struck by how much I sound like my mother, which I might use as comic relief by taking it further and putting a spin on it. This gets us both laughing almost every time and laughter is good medicine.
Practice Relaxation Skills
– Deep breathing provides your brain with enough oxygen to think rationally in tense situations. Practice “belly breathing” by placing your hand on your belly to gauge its inflation with every intake of breath, and deflation as you breathe out. Avoid “shoulder breathing”, as those tend to be very shallow breaths.
Know When to Seek Help
– If anger is something that happens with a high frequency, or it is routinely difficult for you to maintain control of yourself and your anger, then you may want to consider seeking advice from a professional. Chances are, your anger is affecting you more than just within the context of your relationship with your Dominant, it could be affecting your career and even your health. Similarly, there may actually be a physical condition affecting your mood that may easily be treated and/or cured. So don't hesitate for any reason to contact someone for help.
When it is time to approach my Dominant with my issue(s), I find that even though He is not big into protocol in general, He responds more openly to me if I use our brand of protocol by first petitioning Him for some time to devote to a discussion. Depending on the situation I dip my head and curtsey or kneel, and speak while keeping my eyes lowered and my hands clasped before me. My Master is usually the kind of person who wants to deal with it right away, so even if He is in the middle of something, He is likely to put it aside to deal with the issue on the spot (He doesn't have a ton of patience – I suppose its a good thing one of us does!). He may raise me up to sit with Him, or He may not.
We established a long time ago that there are certain times where we need to approach an issue as equals, but that I need to earn that consideration by behaving civilly. Above everything else, He deserves to treated with respect. Getting snippy and mouthing off because I am tired is not respectful, and He does not appreciate brattiness. By playing the devout supplicant and showing Him deference, I am proving to Him that the years of training He has invested in me continues to pay off. The going has been rough sometimes, but that's no excuse for me to lose track of what matters to us, and strive to see to it that He continues to take pride in His accomplishment.