Your profile indicates you have been both a Master and a slave. My question is directed to your Master side.
Question: If you have given your slave the proper information so that she knows your wishes inside and out (so much so that she knows if she were to tell you something you'd be upset) and you find that she is indeed keeping some/most of her actions from you because she knows you'd be upset, how would you handle this?
Background: We have been in a power imbalanced relationship for a little more than three years. We had this problem in the beginning of the relationship and seem to be having it again.
Issue: If slave knows that she is doing something that her Master does not want her to do but does it anyway - isn't this a signal from slave that she does not respect Master and is willingly not following Masters direction for the relationship?
Thank you for your time.
Hello, MJ, thanks for writing…
I can tell by your languaging that you are an experienced Master.
You are in a difficult area and one that may be hard for me to answer as an outsider. As it happens, you are asking a question that has sometimes crept in to my current relationship with my Owner...
While on the surface you may be dealing with willfulness, it is seldom so simple -- particularly after many years together: you may be dealing with something quite different -- it depends upon the area of resistance. As I don't know the particulars of your situation, I'll be guessing to provide an answer.
Viewpoint: as I have written in my book on Master/slave Relationships, the M/s dynamic is particularly suited for fact-based leadership -- Master informs slave whether or not it is raining. On the other hand, when Master's leadership crosses into areas where the slave, itself, has better/different knowledge/experience, Master's leadership can get entangled in slave's approach to past experiences that are similar. I have experience with this particular situation. In my experience, I -- as slave -- have occasionally found myself facing a situation that I simply "know" needs to be approached in a certain way even as I also know that my Owner does not want it approached that way. In such cases, the overriding question I must ask myself is whether I believe that the result serves the best interests of the relationship. The slave's ability to act in this quasi-independent fashion depends upon the degree of problem-solving autonomy Master has granted slave -- and, of course, on the details of your own M/s dynamic.
Perspective: another question arises out of the "intent" issue. Do you and your slave look at the triggering situation in the same way? Do believe that your slave intended to disregard your directions or intended to serve in an area where the slave had reason to believe that the result would please you even if the way slave was serving didn't please you.
If you truly believe that you have given slave clear directions and that the slave is failing to follow those directions, the next question is to separate "reaction" from "resistance". Did the slave react to your guidance and oppose you in one particular area or is slave resisting you across multiple fronts? The answer to this question leads you to consider whether you have a training challenge or the wrong slave.
Hope this helps. Feel free to write back if you have follow-on questions.
AH -- First, thank you for your high ratings. I see that my answer needs focus.
From the Master's perspective, I'd seek to learn a few more things:
1) Why did the slave move forward ahead of your direct guidance?
2) How is this act similar or dissimilar from prior behaviors that displeased Master?
3) How does the slave propose to prevent similar episodes in the future?
4) How does the slave interpret her actions in light of the reactance/resistance dichotomy?
5) What possibilities are there as a result of the slave's actions that would not have been possible before those actions?
6) What limits did the slave's actions now impose on your future?