I’ve been thinking more about punishment today and one of the things that goes hand in hand with punishment, I think, is modifying the behavior of a submissive.
I don’t, I hope, punish you because I find it amusing, or just for the hell of it.
If I do, odds are, after a relatively short while the number of people willing to offer themselves up to me for said punishment is going to dwindle.
I punish you because I want your behavior to change. It’s a little like cutting out a rough outline of a paper doll and slowly, over time, trimming away the edges here and there, maybe adding a little piece taped on to expand a curve.
I think that you’re given to procrastination, or a little too quick to promise and a little too slow to follow up. It might be that I’ve told you exactly how I want my tea prepared and you seem unwilling to actually do that, whatever.
But that leads to a bigger question. Is it even really possible the change?
I don’t think you can really change another person in the strictest sense of the word.
You can, however, inspire someone to want to change to please you, or even to avoid displeasing you. And changes maintained do become habit.
But maybe we expect too much, too. Change is hard. Very few people do it, really. We talk all the time about it, but it’s an uncommon thing when it actually happens.
Leopards rarely change their spots.
I did change a long time ago when I found the box I had built for myself no longer fit, and that I was suffocating inside it. I stopped being gay, and that change cost me enormously. I lost my relationship, obviously, but also my best friend. My other friends because, alas, radical Lesbian separatists do not really take kindly to it when you turn straight.
I moved out of the house I loved, left my dogs behind. Her family had been my family, so I lost them. I lost my mind, too. In the end, I got most of them back, although there are those who will argue that my mind never returned.
I did change. And it was painful and unpleasant and often felt as though I was tearing myself apart. I remember at times thinking, “This is why they say your heart breaks, because that’s how it feels…”
So maybe as dominants we flatter ourselves to think we can ever change another person’s behavior, at least really.
Or maybe the stakes just have to be high enough.