There is some recent discussion of "breaking a slave" going on on the popular social network, FetLife right now. I'm watching it spread across the groups that I'm in and thought I'd not chip into those discussions but share my thoughts and opinions on it right here. These are not the only interpretations and I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I do encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments.
There are two separate meanings when it comes to breaking a slave. The first I'd like to cover is breaking IN a slave. In this meaning, training is meant to adjust the slave's core attitudes and behaviors to be more in tune with the Master. Think about the things you typically break in; shoes, furniture, gloves, hats. All of these you've flexed and bent to fit into your mold and hold its shape, whether this is your feet, your behind or your head. The same goes for breaking in a slave. We all go through a molding process. It certainly seems that as slaves, we do pass a point where the major force of our resistance and self-defensive mechanisms, the shell, is broken, and we enter a state of pliancy and moldability for our owners.
The training we undergo is also a form of breaking in. You will be told what is expected of you, learn the right and wrong way to go about certain tasks and anything else that the Master wishes to enhance or downplay in your manner or behavior. It is not uncommon to always undergo training and also to have to retrain when a new relationship commences.
The idea of "breaking a slave" is the more extreme form of molding. I perceive it as a forced breakdown of someone’s own will, their own attitude and sometimes their own thought processes. What generally results is a blank canvas upon which the Master can apply behaviors, attitudes, and reactions that would please them. In many broken slave cases I've read about; the submissive/slave doesn’t even remember how to think for themselves anymore. They have no dependence, they have no limits where they used to have limits and in very rare cases I've seen the fear of the unknown where things once were known.
My impressions of breaking a slave are that it could have severe and harmful effects on the slave if done incorrectly or incompletely. I don't think I'd agree to "be broken" by anyone that I didn't trust implicitly not only with my safety but with the methods they employ to change me.
Now I’ve seen and read about submissives and slaves that consider themselves broken but I see them in a different view. They have willingly become powerfully subservient, brainwashed (for lack of a better word), and live solely for the rule of the Master of the house. I find these relationships challenging and hard yet beautiful and very moving. It’s like these people move as one person. I don’t believe that the process has hurt the persons involved.
I'm not sure what would be more work though... to break someone down to the blank slate just to rebuild them in whatever manner you choose, or to mold and bend someone from what they are to what you want them to be. Either way, in both cases, it needs to be consensual and negotiated.
What are your thoughts?