How many times have you heard a submissive say how he/she loves to be told they are a "good girl/boy" by their dominant? Yet how many times have any of them been able to pin point the why of the effect it has on them?

What is it about those words from their dominant that differs from those same words said by anyone else that would normally result in the loss of the hand, eye and even a lawsuit? It can sound so condescending and patronizing coming from any source other than our dominants but its something almost every submissive thrives on when said by the right person.

I have a theory.

What Is Ego?

Ego - the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world. {Merriam-Webster online Dictionary}

Basically what this means is that your ego is what interacts with the world, it's the part of you that is a reflection of your surroundings or even of your significant other. A creation of identity as you grow, mature and develop every day; or in psychoanalytic theory:

- that portion of the human personality which is experienced as the "self" or "I" and is in contact with the external world through perception. It is said to be the part that remembers, evaluates, plans and in other ways is responsive to and acts in the surrounding physical and social world.....the ego coexists with the id and superego... {Encyclopaedia Britannica}

In essence, your ego is responsible for consistency in behaviors by acting as the memory between events of the past and reactions to said events as they may pertain to future similar events. So if X causes Y to take place previously, then if X happens again your ego will know that Y comes after. When we are rewarded for good behavior with a pat on the head and a warm "good girl" remark, we later associate that same tone, situation and wording to be a positive force in our world. We've essentially Pavlov dogged ourselves!

And for kicks, an example of ego in motion;

- the main reason that I am better than you. {UrbanDictionary.com}

Though it could be argued that the last statement is more an example of narcissism, it's also a form of super-ego which strives for perfection and can punish us with feelings of guilt for wrong behaviors. The phrase "good girl" acts as a kind of salve to boost our ego, to enable us to know we are reaching towards perfection and coming close to it. It's an affirmation from someone we view as our moral compass, the arrow that points the way in our lives, that we have succeeded, even if just in their eyes.

The Cliché of Normalcy

I started to notice this effect a few years ago, the communal reactions that stretched from one submissive to another with almost identical reactions. I tend to talk with a fair number of novice submissives and have been asked by every single one if its normal to react so strongly and positively to such a seemingly innocent phrase. The answer is yes, it's very normal, so normal in fact it could almost be viewed as cliché!

Every submissive, scratch that, every person has an ego in some form or another because in every one of us there are things we take pride in. No matter your lifestyle or hobbies, ego plays a role so it's no great wonder that such a simple phrase from a dominant can stroke our egos and fan a smile from our lips. We want to please, be approved of and our super-ego allows for little comments and an otherwise condescending pat on the head to be such a reward.