In my experience and interactions with submissives in long-term, committed relationships, we attempt to be superheroes, to do it all, all in the name of taking care of our Dominants. Sure, there are probably some submissives in the world who prefer to be pampered and only take care of their Dominants in sexy, erotic moments, but the people I know are decidedly type A, anal retentive people who only ever want to do their best - for their Dominants, their family, and their job.
Submissives Work Hard - at Home and Work
I know I'm that type of submissive. Part of my nature is to strive for some version of "good girl." From John Brownstone, I quite literally want and need to hear "good girl," "thank you, Babygirl," and "you take such good care of me." I want to know I've made his life a little easier, shouldered his burdens, and when that's not possible, granted him a reprieve from a hectic vanilla world. A stress-free Daddy has more time to giving spankings, forced orgasms, and kinky fun, too.
This means I take on as much as I can and do more than other people might. After (and before and during) a day of working, I'm cooking, cleaning, making the phone calls, running the errands, and keeping our home life on a steady, even course so when he gets home, he can relax and attend to the things we both consider "his domain." I do this by choice and because it makes us both happy.
In my professional life - when I worked for a corporation and now that I work for myself - I'm the same way. I set expectations for the amount of work I can and will get done, and then I move heaven and earth to do it. Part of it is so that I keep the people who've hired me happy - so they'll continue to hire me. Part of it is because that's simply how I work. I set a goal and I meet it.
On long-term projects, I'm fortunate enough to set my own schedule once I know the deadline. I decide if I'll write this much or that much, but once I set that goal, I treat it as if the client is expecting that from me. And I do my absolute best never to disappoint and (so far, knock on wood), I've never missed a deadline.
We Put More Pressure on Ourselves than Anyone Else
I'm a goal-oriented person who prefers routine. On Monday, I do this. On Tuesday, I do that. I like to keep it that way when I can. I've become more relaxed and I understand that my hour-to-hour schedule might change based on whatever life throws at me, but at the end of the day, I have certain things I think should be done. I'm constantly planning, constantly thinking, constantly figuring out the best strategy to work in running this errand with getting that assignment in by the deadline while still helping this child with homework or making that doctor's appointment.
Every submissive I know well spins their wheels like that. There's always something to be done, and we're the ones to get it done - the right way, damn it. I'm sure it's why so many submissives are in high-pressure, high-stress jobs often with a certain amount of authority.
This week was going to be bad. Both Daddy and I knew it going into it. I was doubling up on my workload so I could take the following week off. At the same time, we decided to put Daddy's motorcycle out of commission to get some much-needed repairs done. Three days of driving him to and from work - I never mind because I enjoy the time spent with him. But, I didn't plan well, either. I set several necessary appointments for this week because I knew the following week was out. It meant that on Wednesday and Thursday, I literally spent six hours each day in the car. Since I typically spend less than an hour in the car on any given day, that was 10 hours removed from my working day.
But I still had a doubled to-do list to complete, clients who knew I was getting next week's work done for them, dinner that still needed to be cooked - no matter how late we got home, a house that needed to be cleaned, and plans that still needed to be finalized for the next week. For a brain that's normally full of thoughts, plans, and lists, mine went into overdrive.
The headache began on Wednesday. No amount of meds, caffeine, or lack of screen time (once I was done writing for the day) made it stop. I started considering that I might get behind. I might not get it all done - and there wouldn't be time to do it for several days starting on Saturday. It was enough to send me into a tailspin. For me (and many others) stress affects me physically - headaches (blinding, excruciating, and maddening), stomachaches, backaches, stiff neck. This time, it came on fast and was worse than I've ever felt before.
By Thursday, I couldn't keep my eyes open without an effort. As long as I focused on the work at hand, I could ignore how I felt - and I could even ignore the screaming voices in my head telling me there was still more to do, still more to finish, still more, always more. When I pulled into the parking lot to pick Daddy up at work, with that small break of simply sitting still with nothing to concentrate on, whatever my stress was doing to me finished me off. I couldn't keep my head up, I couldn't keep my eyes open. For the first time in my life, I understood what it meant to have zero energy. (I wasn't even this tired after I gave birth, y'all.)
Stress Kicked My Butt
Daddy knew something was very wrong when he came out to the car. No smile, no brightening of my eyes, almost no recognition that he was with me. As he drove home, I whimpered at every bump he went over. My body ached and I couldn't find a comfortable position in the car. I hurt so bad.
When we came home, I began to finish dinner (thankfully the main course was in the crockpot, thank gawd) even as I shuffled around the kitchen, unable to lift my feet. Daddy and the boys scattered to do whatever it is they do while I work on dinner each night. I started to cry. Bending down to get a pot out of the cabinet was an effort. Anything I picked up with my left hand fell or was dropped - there was no strength left in me. Daddy found me standing over the corn, attempting to spoon it out, crying - not quite sobbing, but still pretty pathetic. I almost fell asleep while eating dinner. When I tried to help put the dishes away, he made me sit back down and took care of it. I laid my head down on the dinner table over my dirty napkin and dozed.
He put me to bed at 6pm that night. I was under strict orders not to get up and if I needed anything, I had to send him a text message. If I needed anything, I don't remember because I fell asleep until my alarm went off at 4am (yes, that's my normal wake-up time). I remember waking up while he was reading in bed, and I remember waking up when he got up to go to the bathroom, but I didn't care enough to fully wake up. I just rolled over and let sleep take me - it's all I could really do.
Asking for Help is Hard But Paramount
Friday morning, I felt much better. The headache was still there but I had some energy back. I wasn't 100 percent because by the time 8am rolled around, I needed a nap, but at least I wasn't in the sad, scary state from the night before.
"Why didn't you just ask me for help? Why did I have to discover you like that in the kitchen?"
All the answers were legitimate because they're true, but none of them were good answers.
I felt like he should have realized I needed help without me asking. Breaking rule number one of communication, in D/s or any relationship.
I felt guilty for needing help. I've been through much more stressful situations than this one without having a breakdown.
I felt bad for asking him to do something that I see as my job to do. Something I clearly need to get over.
When he asked me how he could help on Thursday (while crying over corn), I was physically and mentally incapable of telling him. "Everything" didn't seem like a legitimate answer except that was what I needed him to do for me. Thankfully, he did take care of me - down to the smallest detail of putting ketchup on my meatloaf for me as if I was 5.
Y'all, I might be a submissive and want/need/enjoy/crave giving my Dominant control, but I'm also not helpless. I take great pride in what I do professionally and personally. Asking for help simply because I'm "tired and stressed" seems wrong to me, like I'm being lazy or not dealing with my problems well. (Yes, I know that's the exact wrong way to view it...I really do, promise.) But this episode scared me. Even I know I've got to change something so this doesn't keep happening.
If You're a Superhero, Where's Your Cape?
Daddy and I still have plenty to discuss and work out to try to prevent another breakdown from happening. I even wondered, briefly, if I have anxiety in some form (the clinical, diagnosable anxiety, I mean). But I'm under strict orders to stop acting like I'm a superhero and start asking for help.
"Should I get you a cape, Miss Superhero?"
My response? Only if it's purple.
I'd totally rock the purple cape and move mountains to finish my to-do list, take care of my family, clients, and obligations, and put a healthy, homecooked meal on the table. But I might also give myself a heart attack in the process.
So, if you've conquered the stress and asking for help thing, share your secrets with me. And if not, realize you're not alone and unless you're going to leap tall buildings and fly, you're not a superhero and asking for help is a good, healthy thing to do. If your Dominant expects you to serve and refuses to help, you're not with a Dominant, you're with an asshole.
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