A few weeks ago, we had an issue here.
Jason said something off-hand that hurt. He didn't mean to, but he accidentally touched a raw place of mine I was struggling with. He didn't know how I would react. Honestly, I didn't know how I would react. I quietly excused myself from the table, and a short while later, when he called my name, I went to him. He knew I was upset, but he was confused. He asked me why I was upset, and before I knew what was happening, the floodgates broke loose. I sat next to him on the couch, talking passionately, explaining why what he said hurt so badly, tears streaming down my face. He was completely blindsided, but could tell I was working myself up, so he stopped me as my voice began to raise in temper and said, "Go upstairs and calm yourself down."
I obeyed him right away, went upstairs, cried some more and calmed down. I don't like feeling angry at him. I don't like how I feel when I am frustrated, and hurt. He is not the type to ever intentionally hurt me, so I also felt guilty.
He is honestly very strict, so I expected when he came upstairs, he would spank me for getting so worked up and not controlling myself better. I'm expected to speak respectfully and with self-control. I thought I had been disrespectful, and my temper had gotten the better of me.
He came upstairs and immediately instructed me to kneel. I did. He explained how he didn't mean to hurt me, and that he understood why what he said was hurtful. He apologized. Then he said, "I am not spanking you for this. I was the reason you were upset. You didn't speak disrespectfully to me. You didn't disobey me. You came right upstairs when I told you to, so there is no need for me to discipline you."
I was grateful he was being so understanding. I was also grateful I wasn't going to be punished. I don't like being punished. But my emotions were so bottled up, I remembered what it felt like back when I would question his discipline. I remember how badly I would crave his discipline, and how upset I would get when he would let things slide.
But then I also remembered how he used to tell me, "If we do this, we do this my way." It didn't mean he didn't listen to me, or value my input. He always did. It meant that whether or not I would be disciplined wasn't up to me. And I was easily able to let it go, and put it behind us.
He wasn't being inconsistent.
He was being merciful.
And isn't that his right to exercise as my Dom?
Once I accepted that mercy wasn't inconsistency, never again did I question whether or not I would be disciplined. There are times when I am disciplined and I don't agree. But I accept that he is the Hoh, and I listen to his reasoning, and try my very hardest to make sure I know why he disciplined me so that I don't do it again. I have always come to understand his point of view. There are times when I expect to be disciplined, and I'm not. But I am grateful he is merciful, and consider myself lucky that I got another chance to do it right.
This is why I consider him to be exceptionally consistent.
Consistency doesn't mean I am spanked for every little thing I do. It doesn't even mean I am spanked every time for the same thing.
That's not what consistency is. It means he exercises his right to discipline when and how he sees fit. And he's the one in charge here.
But I do think it's extremely important to note why consistency is vitally important in a D/S dynamic. Over and over and over again, in chats and forums and blogs, you hear Tih who are letdown by their husband's leniency.
There is nothing that makes us feel more protected, cared for, and loved, than the certainty of a firm but loving hand. Those of us who crave this dynamic are wired that way.
I'd like to explain another scenario we recently had here to illustrate my point. The second scenario did not, shall we say, end the same way my first scenario did.
We have a rule here that I'm not allowed to speed. I used to drive like an absolute maniac, but those days are long gone. In the beginning, I would only be disciplined for intentionally speeding. If I caught myself speeding and slowed down, I wouldn't be punished. But that's not the rule anymore. Now, the expectation is that if I catch myself speeding, I need to confess, and I will be punished.
Let's just say...it's kinda of a really hard rule for me, and I'm really not "there" yet. Mostly I've made a habit of driving cautiously, but when I get distracted, at times I lose my focus and catch myself speeding.
Recently, I was on a long trip without him, visiting some family. I made the trip there just fine, obeyed the traffic laws, my phone rules, everything. But while I was there, I got some disturbing news. I got into a discussion that brought back some memories...it was an unexpectedly emotionally intense afternoon. On the way home, my mind was elsewhere. I was terribly distracted.
I caught myself speeding three times.
Jason wasn't home when I got home. My stomach was in knots. I hate confessing and prefer to have it over as soon as possible. I was saddened knowing I'd disappointed him. I knew without a doubt he would spank me.
He came home, and I told him I had to talk to him. He gave me a kiss, said it was time to put kids to bed, but that we would talk as soon as we had time alone.
When he called me to him, I went in, knelt by him, and told him, "I caught myself speeding three times on the way home. I'm not trying to get out of being punished, but I wanted to explain what happened."
He nodded. "Tell me what happened."
So I explained the situation, what I had heard when I was up there, and why I was so distracted driving home. During my explanation, he was completely empathetic, asked about certain things that happened, and told me he was sorry about the news I got and the afternoon I had.
Then he stopped talking and looked meditative.
"What are you thinking?" I asked him quietly. He looked to me, and very gently put his hand under my chin."I think I need to spank you, because you broke a rule, and a safety one at that. But I also think that given the circumstances, I'm not going to punish you severely."
I nodded, and buried my head in his lap.
He was exercising consistency. And it made me feel loved.
I didn't look forward to being disciplined. Even though I do like to be spanked (for other reasons), the emotional impact of being disciplined makes it very unpleasant. Plus, he really makes sure punishment spankings count.
It's actually pretty rare that he metes out discipline with gentle understanding the way he did that night. When the time came for him to discipline me, the word "gentle" doesn't exactly come to mind -- he made his point alright, and I did, in fact, catch myself speeding the following week and he did, in fact, spank me soundly for it.
But I consented to this lifestyle for a reason. It was far deeper than merely an erotic attraction. If that's all there was to it, we never would've gone beyond sexy spanking in bed. It's more than just a game. My obedience to him, and his leadership, are things we both work on constantly. And though I dislike being punished, it cannot be denied that the punishment aspect of a d/s relationship is one of the many things that make it work.
And this is why consistency is so important. It shows me that he takes his role, and mine, seriously.
When he disciplines me for doing something unsafe, I know he wants me to take care of myself, because he loves me. When he spanks me for losing my patience, I know he's teaching me to be a better person. When he punishes me for speaking rudely to him, I know he does so because he values harmony in our relationship. When he swats my rear for a self-deprecating remark, I know he wants me to be gentle with myself.
It takes great strength to allow yourself to live this dynamic. When you willingly choose either role -- whether you are the one in authority, or you are the one relinquishing control -- you choose vulnerability. The choice to be transparent and vulnerable takes great courage, because you run the risk of being hurt.
So even though being punished is certainly unpleasant -- it is, after all, meant to deter -- a consistent adherence to the expectations is crucial. With consistency, the submissive knows the trust she has given is cherished. She knows her efforts are not in vain. With consistency, the Dom understands that he has been given tremendous responsibility. It is with consistency that the Dom grows confident in his role.
When Jason takes the time to instruct me, I know the values he and I hold true mean something. When he disciplines me I know he does so because he firmly believes it is for my own good. It has become clear, as we took the plunge and incorporated d/s into our relationship at a deeper level, how well this dynamic works for the two of us. There is peace, and harmony. We still have disagreements. We still make mistakes. But problems are solved rapidly. We have both grown to trust each other more. We've both become more in tune to the needs of the other.
So even though punishment is largely unpleasant, it's a facet of our dynamic that makes this work. When I willingly lay myself over his lap to be disciplined, it shows him that I trust him. I have the strength to submit, and he has the strength to exercise self control and fairness when meting out discipline. I feel that our relationship, our family, our values are important to him.
But most of all? I feel like I am important to him.
Although I am only speaking from personal experience here, I have attempted to draw from the thoughts and feelings of others in the community as well while elaborating on the importance of consistency. I feel I've barely scratched the surface, so I would love to hear from readers as well.
What are your thoughts on consistency? What have been your own experiences, struggles, and conclusions?