December 6, 2011

When Communication Goes Wrong

Any of you who have read much of what I have written, or have read many blogs on the subject of D/s, know how important I think it is to communicate.  Being able to talk openly with your partner, tell them what you are feeling, express what is on your mind, good or bad, is vital to any relationship, but especially in TTWD.  I don't care what dynamic you have with your partner, from vanilla to the most extreme BDSM, you have to be able to talk openly about anything and everything.  That is the key to the door that unlocks the entire relationship. 

But what happens when that goes wrong?  What happens when there is miscommunication?  That can be a problem...even as much of a problem as a lack of communication itself.  This is where the art of communication comes into play.  Sometimes it isn't enough just to talk and express.  There are times when how what you say what's on your mind and how it is perceived by your partner that can make the difference between understanding and being offended. 

Personally, I demand open communication.  I don't want my partner holding their thoughts, feelings, and issues inside and letting them fester into something bad.  This has a potential down side of which you need to be aware.  With some people, maybe they haven't fully processed what they are thinking or feeling.  Yet, because I have asked for her openness, she lets it flow off the cuff...just letting what is on her mind spill out.  It is something she need to share and discuss.  The problem arises when it just comes flowing out and how it is presented isn't taken into account.  To a Dominant, it has the possibility of coming across as demanding or controlling.  It can hit him the wrong way, thereby putting him on the the defensive.  The dilemma is that, for me, I have asked her to be open and share, but now I am berating her for doing so and for what she is saying.  

So...what's a man to do?!?!  I guess I could spank her until it makes me feel better.  (joke)  But that really isn't going to solve the issue.  I don't need to confuse her and make her think that being open with me was a bad thing to do.  Communication is a two-way street, so if you reach this point you need to take a step back.  Look at the situation and see why you are even talking about this.  I need to notice what is happening and dig deeper.  I need to be able to find out and understand where she is coming from with this...what is behind it and what is driving it.  She needs to be willing to look deeper and see what has caused her to feel the way she is feeling and be willing to express that. 

I know some of the Dominants and Masters might look at this and say that there is no room for disrespect, or coming across as demanding or controlling.  I agree to a point, but that is not the point of my post (that is an entire different post in itself).  I think the most important thing, though, is to find out why you are having the discussion in the first place, why it is an issue for her, and what is causing this issue.  It's possible she didn't mean any disrespect, and she just used a poor choice of words in expressing herself.  If this is not the case, then feel free to punish her as you will.  But for me...I am more concerned with the bigger picture of why this is an issue in the first place, and reaching a resolution.  And for the record, this isn't easy.  I will be the first to tell you that I can take something the wrong way and fly off the handle about it.  Or let me re-phrase...I can take something at face value as it was presented, but that may not be the intention behind what was said.  As I learn to take my own advice, it's better to slow down and find out what is behind the spoken words, than to just assume you understand how they were presented. 

Communication can be a double edged sword at times.  We all want open communication and to be able to share what is on our mind.  Yet, you don't want to feel like you are in a lose/lose situation for doing so.  When communication goes awry, try to look at the subject and intention behind it.  Sometimes things may not be all they appear on the surface.  It is worth the effort to figure out what is happening behind the words.  That potentially can make all the difference in the world.


  1. DV - a great post, thank you.

    My DM demands open communication also.

    I was going to send him an email and expressed to him "I want to share something with you, but I am afraid it may be misconstrued or taken the wrong way.". He replied (not exact words) "then I suggest you keep writing and working in it, to ensure it doesn't come across that way.".

    So now, I still share with him, but work through my feelings (not water them down or filter them) but rewrite until I have it clear in my mind and so I'm not "ranting" or "spewing my guts". I have found it helpful and I think he appreciates it.

    As always, you touch on important subjects that we can all learn from. No matter how long we've been doing TTWD or in our vanilla relationships too.

    Take care. Sky

  2. During intense, emotional moments so much is being focused on. Trying to figure out what you are feeling, and dealing with conflicting emotions makes it hard to stay focused on being respectful at the same time. Things become too overwhelming. You are so right in that what is being intended may not actually be quite the same as what is being said.

  3. This has been my life for the past week. Some times no matter what we say, it's not enough because the other person stopped listening.

    Good post and topic.

  4. You're right but sometimes people just arent good with communication. I know I'm not. A marriage counselor told me once to begin a conversation with "I feel like _____ because of _____" and then the partner answer "You're feeling ______ because of _______. Am I getting this right" Then it leaves the communication lines more open. It works when you remember it...

  5. it should go with out saying (I know you know this) that if you ask for open communication you should expect to hear something once in awhile that you do not like.

    I like the way you have presented this and I understand your situation all to well.

  6. In writing a response to this post I wound up writing paragraph after paragraph. Lol. Oops. I decided to turn it into a blog post of my own instead. Giving credit where it's due of course ;)

    Thanks for such an awesome topic starter, DV! So much so that I posted it on my "vanilla" blog!
    --autumn (formerly ariia)

  7. Sky...thanks for sharing how you face and handle communication. It's always interesting to see what works for others.

    Serenity...what you point out, the intensity of the situation, and trying to sort through the emotions, is exactly where things can get out of whack. Thanks for bringing that view to light.

    CuddlyKitten...hang in there, it will come together. Don't give up.

    The Mrs...good advice from the counselor. I'll have to remember that one.

    Sir are right on the money. If you ask for it, don't be surprised when you get it. LOL!

    Autumn...Glad to know I could inspire you into your own post. I always enjoy your views and thoughts.


  8. Great post!
    Master and I have spent a lot of time working on our communication and His expectations. I am lucky that He understands me well enough to know that I sometimes need time to work through something in my head before I lay it out for Him. He will only give me a certain amount of time to do so before He starts pushing me, but even that little bit of time He will give me makes me able to be more open to His pushing.
    When my temper gets the best of me, He will also make sure the issue is resolved, then deal with the temper/bad approach later as a separate issue. Him taking my concerns that seriously has helped me trust Him implicitly.

  9. I have to say, I think this is overlooked far too often--if you want real honesty, you aren't always going to like what you hear.
    And as someone who can make an apology sound like an insult completely by accident, I do appreciate an effort in understanding.