A History of Humiliation, and Surpassing It
I’ve touched on the concept of humiliation before in my blog and why I don’t use/encourage it but someone contacted me today and raised a really interesting point about humiliation and a perspective I’d never considered so I want to share it (and my thoughts) with you. It does get a little personal and may be triggering as there is talk of emotional abuse so please be aware of that before you continue reading.
The main idea was that yes, humiliation in BDSM focuses on the “traditional” forms of humiliation – put downs/asking the sub to complete humiliating tasks, etc, but that there is another more insidious form: the humiliation of being “found out” by people who aren’t aware of your kink and who don’t approve.
The idea that kinksters are aware of at least the possibility of humiliation – that its risk is a natural consequence of engaging in activities in which society “as a whole” does not particularly understand or approve. The potential shame of being mocked or humiliated or ostracized for your indulgences.
I’d never really considered this aspect so it took me by surprise. I had to think to myself – honestly – would I be ashamed if people found out? I sort of half expected the answer to be yes due to years of social conditioning, but in all honestly whilst I think I would potentially have to deal with some negative impacts/feelings (depending on who found out – most of my “circle” (friends/family) knows, but some don’t) but I don’t believe that shame/humiliation would be among them. Annoyance, frustration, potentially anger at the fall-out (some people may cut me out of their lives, some may throw insults at me) but not shame.
That kind of intrigued me until I realized the rather depressing reason behind why I think, for me, humiliation doesn’t come into it. Growing up I endured a lot of emotional abuse at the hands of my parents – especially my mother. I don’t want or expect pity for this. It happened, I’ve dealt/am dealing with it. I only mention it here as context for the larger point I am trying to make about perspectives on humiliation and why I never use humiliation.
Growing up humiliation was the norm for me – it was my comfort zone because it reinforced my beliefs about myself which were fed to me by my folks. Receiving a compliment was at best uncomfortable and at worst almost painful because it jarred with what I “knew” to be “true” about myself. I thought people were mocking me, or were working an “angle” because they wanted something from me. It’s a very unpleasant and fucked up head-space and I suspect a lot of desire for humiliation stems from abuse because the abuser has trained the sub to believe that they deserve to be humiliated – that it is their “norm” – and it becomes, in a sick and twisted way, their “comfort zone”. Being humiliated reinforces their beliefs about themselves rather than challenging them with compliments which ironically become uncomfortable.
It’s taken me many years but I am in a much better head-space – I’ve more or less made peace with myself and accepted how fucked up the emotional abuse from my parents was (they still do it, but I’m now largely immune). It took a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of pain if I’m honest, to get to a more positive, self-accepting place. I still suffer from depression and anxiety but I’m also much more confident in myself and enjoy accepting genuine compliments (unless they’re about my feet. I’m not a fan of my feet which is why you never see them. Haha).
Building my self worth took a lot. Changing my inner monologue from “you’re worthless” to “you’re amazing” took a lot. I’m not arrogant and I recognize I’m not perfect but I like to celebrate my positives. I encourage my boys to do the same. It’s why I *never* use humiliation. I know that dark place. I understand the twisted “pleasure” and how poisonous it is. I will never, ever inflict that on one of my boys. I see my role as a Domme as being one of encouragement and support – in lifting them and encouraging them to be the best version of themselves they can be. I want to build their confidence and self-esteem rather than tearing it down. I don’t need to humiliate my boys to be in control and I don’t want to.
I also believe this is why I am not humiliated at the prospect of being “found out”. I am not ashamed of what I do and why should I be? Someone may not agree with my lifestyle but that does not mean I don’t have every reason to be proud of what I do. I am a purveyor of hypnotic pleasure. I transform fantasies into reality. Go ahead – tell me that is not an absolutely insanely amazing thing to be able to do!
Thoughts and comments are always appreciated – please feel free to share below.