It occurred to me while talking with a friend, how many submissive-minded women feel damaged by their past. Instead of dealing the trauma they suffered head-on, they take interesting and often disturbing paths. Many find their way into BDSM. A caring Dom sometimes recognizes the damaged sub but all too often the deep wounds go unnoticed. At some point, however the Dom is faced with it. He knows he must act but often is uncertain which course to take.
In dealing with past anguishes the submissive will actively seek out pain, since the raw pain masks the deep festering hurt they carry with them. Logically the caring Dom will suspend hard play and even maintenance during this time. Thereby forcing the sub to deal with their issue. During this period there is many hours spent talking and discussing the nature of the abuse.
The Dom is doing as he should do during this time. If pain is used to mask to the reality, then the remedy they are most comfortable with must be eliminated. Now some well-meaning submissives will take it upon themselves to engage in self-harm because simply put, they are not receiving it from their Dominant. They feel they need pain and since the caring Dom has placed them on restriction...the reader can certainly surmise what will occur next. These submissives are simply wired incorrectly.
The question there in lies, how to rewire the submissive. First and foremost, the submissive must be aware that such wounding will not be tolerated. There needs to be a consequence for such action. Normally, a Dominant's best friend at that time is his trusty cane. However the no pain clause changes that. What the Dominant needs to understand is that the submissive is simply trying varying ways to top him from the bottom and they will be very clever at inciting near riots within the home. They want and desire the pain so deeply they will do anything to get it.
The Dominant must be equally clever to keep his sub on track. Zero tolerance to misbehavior is key. When the submissive engages in such activity, the Dominant needs to explain they understand this is what the sub is doing. They need to direct the submissive. Ask them about the steps they took, what they thought about, how exactly did they do it. They might be surprised there is a whole ritual the submissive follows to perform the task. Such things are rarely done on the spur-of-the-moment. Giving the submissive a new ritual to follow is useful.
For example if a submissive engages in self-harm by cutting or burning, the Dominant must let that submissive know he is deeply disappointed in her and engage her in how she did it, why and the method she used. The "I do not know." is the incorrect response. His disappointment will not be easily quelled by simple apology. The caring Dominant needs to let his girl know that she will not be punished for the offense in a physical way but at the same time let her understand that it is HIS place to inflict a punishment or pain.
Anger and raising of his voice will help drive the point home. I also favor adding a mantra for the girl to repeat when she feels such needs. Something along the lines as, "Only Master may inflict pain on his property." Simple, direct and rather to the point.
If the submissive begins to misbehave in other areas, similar tactics can be used. Again zero tolerance for such behavior, turning it around by telling them you understand why they are doing it. Directly telling them to stop seeking punishment because none is forth coming. The past must be dealt with. It is never easy nor simple, but well worth the effort.