Miscommunication is so often the root of every conflict between two people, including submissives and Mistresses. How we speak and how we hear, affect how we interpret and relate to each other moving forward.
If you’ve ever studied communication theory or counseling, there’s a really basic concept that seems simple, but like so much it’s tougher in practice. There are two parties to every conversation, and they both play equal roles.
There’s the Speaker and the Audience, and they share a dynamic interaction, meaning what one does, effects the other. Here’s how it flows:
- The Speaker delivers a message – in practice, this could be in person, on the phone, via text, via email, or non-verbally.
- The Audience receives the message – the message is heard, taken in and interpreted.
- The Audience responds to the message – giving feedback to the Speaker.
- The Speaker receives the feedback.
This is called the feedback loop. In any conversation, we each play both roles. What is critical to understand is that the Message itself is only one part of what is going on. The feedback the Speaker receives matters every bit as much. The Speaker receives information back from the Audience and uses that information to evaluate how well the Audience has understood and to shape what message he or she will deliver next.
So often, in relationships, the way we communicate is ineffective because it is indirect. We send passive-aggressive messages and expect non-verbal cues to carry far too much weight. Direct words, spoken clearly in simple and straightforward way helps to guarantee our message is understood.
We also fail so often at listening, actually hearing and understanding the words being sent our way. We allow our emotions to cloud our thinking, or we jump on one part of a message and immediately begin coming up with our response. We force miscommunication because we don’t allow ourselves to hear anything without becoming angry or hurt or bitter.
The further we get from face-to-face communication too, the more opportunities there are for communication to break down. What feels like too long of a delay in responding to a text message can be interpreted as rejection. We lose the tone of a speaker’s voice in emails. We can’t read each other’s facial expressions and body language over the phone. And please, don’t think Skype is as effective an alternative to sitting down across from each other and really talking.
Here are a few suggestions to avoid missteps that will lead to miscommunication:
- The more important the message, the more important it is to be done in person.
- Set up a structure where you can both talk openly and candidly, as equals. Whenever possible, set aside BDSM protocols, like having the submissive kneel, during important conversations about your relationship.
- Make time to talk, and don’t blow off hurt feelings and growing resentment. Don’t talk when your emotions or Her’s are at a peak.
- Don’t assume. So often we think we know what someone meant instead of asking them questions or to clarify.
- Be honest. Openness builds trust. Lies build resentment. It’s better to deliver a painful truth directly than to hope things change.
- Talk about your feelings, but don’t let them cloud your message. Phrases like “It hurts my feelings when …” or “That makes me feel like …” will help get you there. Phrases like “I hate you” or “That pisses me off” will make it harder to reach understanding.
- Make yourself pause before you respond. Take information in and make sure you understand it before you reply. Open your ears and open your mind.
- Turn off the TV, computer, smart phone. This may sound obvious, but distractions eat away at our ability to listen and talk.
- Keep your focus on the two of you. Other people may be involved, but they are almost never at the root of what you need to communicate with each other.
- Ask as many questions as you make statements. Don’t dominate the conversation. Your goal is to understand each other, not to win!
Ultimately, the key here is trust and respect. If you don’t have that already, then you need to start there. Without them, Miscommunication is almost guaranteed because the bedrock of your relationship is already on shaky ground. Whether it’s jealousy, it’s close cousin insecurity or damage done over time, trust is vital to any communication. A direct conversation can be a wonderful way to build or rebuild that, by providing insight into your partner’s motivations and feelings.
Respect comes from holding the belief that your partner matters. If you’re a submissive, then this should be easier to give, but it’s not always guaranteed in return. If your Mistress doesn’t seem to respect your opinion in matters of your relationship, then that’s a pretty good red flag that something isn’t right.
Sometimes we let our BDSM roles override our common sense. Don’t do that. Both Mistress and submissive are human beings and both have the right to love, respect and understanding. Your place at Her feet does not mean you shouldn’t matter nearly as much as your position in Her head and in Her heart
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