Footnote to previous: the erratic

Thinking about it overnight it has become clearer to me that a central element of abusive behaviour is inconsistency or erraticism of demand. I feel – maybe I’m wrong, I’m not a sub – but intuitively I feel that as a submissive it would be possible to adapt oneself to almost any framework, rules, demands, or punishments as long as these are clear and consistent. Or, if not, to find another partner. It is the clarity and consistency that are (… I seek a better word but don’t find it) “nurturing”. But when the rules change mid-stream, or when contact/caring/consequences are given then witheld on an unpredictable schedule, that is impossible to adapt and shape to. Therefore it’s abusive.

To me erraticism correlates with weakness. I’m thinking of “The Secretary” and “9 1/2 Weeks” and other works that we all know, where the abuse was not dominance but its variable and unpredictable nature.

5 Responses to Footnote to previous: the erratic

  1. Doonstar says:

    For your better work try “sustaining” both in terms of the continuing dominant/submissive roles and individual self esteem and consensual participation.


  2. cutesypah says:

    for me, I don’t know that I call it abuse, but it is definitely painful. My last two D/s relationships ended because my partner could not, or would not put forth the effort to be consistent in actions, words, and rules. Perhaps there are those who considered me abused as my last partner (as noted on my blog) was completely inconsistent. I knew I had the option of leaving if it did not work for me, and thus, I did leave.

    As for “Secretary,” I did not see his actions as weakness. why? Because he was struggling to find himself, and accept himself. In the end, it was she who helped him accept himself. Accepting our kinks and our differences can be difficult, particularly if we’ve been rejected for those kinds and differences in the past, even more so rejected by those for whom we care deeply.



  3. Sex Warrior says:

    That’s a really interesting observation to me.
    My D/s (I’m the s) relationship is ‘on a break’, it is my first D/s relationship although I’ve ‘played’ a lot over a 20 year period and so the dynamics of it are new to me as it progresses. I wasn’t sure what was making me feel insecure and frustrated in my submission, I couldn’t quite pin down in my own mind all the reasons for this and your post has helped my clarify it for me.
    For various reasons he has been inconsistent and erratic in his dominance which has resulted in me moving in and out of my submission as a result and it’s destablised the relationship, the dynamic. I feared he would be too ‘weak’ to be able to dominate me from the outset, as many others have been, and I now realise having read your post that I was right…..
    I know what I need to do now, end it. Thank you for your insightful, articulate and thoughtful writing.

  4. beyondthestarsastrology says:

    the word i would suggest is “reassuring.” There is nothing less reassuring than a man who is inconsistent. Unfortunately, most men… fall into this category when it comes to discipline, because, let’s face it, self-discipline is the hardest of all, and if you are looking to a man to be a leader, he has to then assume that mantle of authority 24/7.

    This is not easy for any man, not because he cannot do it; that’s not it at all. Men can absolutely do this. But what has happened is that most men have learned how to ‘be nice,’ which interferes with authority, a different head space. So to learn the balance between nice and fair is harder. This is why having children actually helps a man become a better authoritarian, i believe, because raising children makes it easier to understand that ‘nice’ and ‘fair’ do not have to be mutually exclusive.

    So this is where inconsistency comes from; a man does not want to be the dictator-disciplinarian, he doesn’t want to be the bad guy, but… sometimes he has to be. But he’s uncomfortable with it; so it’s becoming comfortable with the balance that is key to consistency, I think. That and accepting the role of an authority figure, and that it’s kind of lonely at ‘the top.’ 😉

  5. Z says:

    The point of an abusive relationship is to keep the victim off balance. The abuser has to be erratic for this reason. They will not admit that to you and may not be able to articulate it (although they do it instinctively). I was involved with an abusive man who would talk directly about this, though, in relation to plans to destabilize rivals at work. My (defunct) blog was about dealing with this relationship and its aftermath.

    There are apparently also serious psychological studies which indicate that erratic or random systems of rewards and punishments make mice try harder for the rewards. (This may help explain why in my professional field, many respond to a weak job market by trying harder and harder for jobs in field, and showing less, rather than more interest than usual in jobs out of field.)

    I’ll have to remember that last thought.

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