There is no getting around it. This is a challenging time of year for many of us. No matter how much preparation one does or how much experience one has, this can be a challenging time of year.
I thought I blogged about our code word, but everyone says I haven’t. I think what happened is I thought about blogging this about a hundred times and never actually got around to doing it.
Knowing that this time of year can be hard, Jason and I have built in plans to counteract the stress. We do enjoy the holidays very much. But it involves being out of routines (and we’re both creatures of habit who thrive on routines. Our kids are, too.). It involves socializing, and our house is the hub of most holiday socializing for both of our families. And though we do enjoy it, and aren’t shy people, we’re introverted. We need quiet and downtime to recover.
So we work hard to make sure we don’t fight, we don’t let the stress rob us of our peace, and I don’t get my ass spanked.
Jason and I have been at this for five years this month. Hard to believe! A few years ago, I realized that I needed a way to tell him if I was getting overwhelmed. Now, initially the plan was that I would tell him if I felt like I was going to lose my temper and yell, since getting control of my temper was a major focus of ours for a very long time. So we talked about it… and talked about it… and we never actually came up with a code word. Oops.
Then one day, I felt it building. I was angry and frustrated and was going to snap. So I went over to Jason, took a deep breath, and said, “Code word!”
He blinked at me at first, then got to his feet and pulled me aside, and talked me through whatever I was struggling with and it helped. A lot. I was able to overcome my anxiety that normally led me to snap at someone, and calmly deal with the situation. That was several years ago, so I have no idea now what caused my reaction. But ever since then, he let me use “code word” when I was on the verge of losing it. It helped, for a very long time.
But eventually, he expected me to keep my temper in check, and now it’s exceptionally rare that I lose my temper. I still do get overwhelmed, though. I still have moments when he’s off doing something and the kids are driving me crazy, or something boils over on the stove, or whatever. I even get occasional bouts of anxiety attacks. So, when this happens, I go to wherever Jason is and I say, “Code word.” Sometimes I say “I’m at code over here!” My kids probably think I’m crazy, but I don’t really care. It works.
I did this just today. I was overwhelmed with many things, and fairly introverted out. We’ve had guests over the past few days with the holiday, and though I’m fine when we have guests over, I need lots of time to unwind after. I reached the point where I felt the anxiety building and finally I gave Jason the code word. He came right to me, and helped me breathe through it. He got the kids to help deal with the clutter, and things went off without a hitch. I was overwhelmed. I get that way sometimes. It don’t often reach the point of anxiety, but I’m very glad we have this way of communicating with each other.
Whenever there's a way to act preventatively instead of reactively, we try do that. It isn't just about rules, but about finding our peace, too.
But there were times when we are out, or don’t have privacy, and Jason needs to communicate something to me. Something like… watch yourself, or I’m going to spank you.
Eeep. You know, I try to behave. But sometimes my mouth gets the best of me, or my tone gets too sharp, or I get snippy with him. So a few years ago, he developed a system of five hand squeezes. One squeeze means yes. Two means no. Three means “I love you.” He does it in the middle of the night when he rolls over and grabs my hand, or when we’re at church, or wherever he wants me to know I’m loved.
But after three, things amp up a little. Four squeezes means “Be a good girl.” That’s my warning and it’s a very serious one. If my tone is off, or I’m getting close to the edge of something he doesn’t like, he will sometimes meet my eyes and just say, “Four.” I know exactly what it means. It stops me dead in my tracks. It means I’d better watch it, or when he gets me alone, he’ll punish me.
Five means “I’m gonna spank your ass,” and lemme tell ya, I’m not a happy camper when that one happens. If our kids are around, or we’re out, and he gives me the look and says “five,” I know I’m toast. He’s even texted it to me before. One time I was out with friends and he discovered something I’d forgotten to do that he asked. I got a text that said, “We’ll have a talk when we get home. That’s 5, young lady.”
It helps, though. We don’t always have privacy. And it’s important for us to have ways of communicating. I can’t say how many times being able to say “code word,” to him, or having him squeeze my hand four times, has helped me avoid trouble.
Communicating effectively is the single most important tool any Dom/sub needs to make their dynamic thrive. It’s far more important than spanking, or implements, or contracts, or rules. In my observation, the couples who thrive at this are the ones who make open and honest communication non-negotiable.
My readers on this blog are quiet. J But I’d like to welcome you to comment below or email me with methods you have for communicating effectively. What are ways you have for dealing with discreet communication? Submissives, do you have a way of telling your Dominant partner that you’re stressed or need help? Dominants, do you have a warning cue for your submissive?