Many people have touched upon this subject recently. For me, it conjurs the image of a wild horse, the animal being roped. She struggles, fighting wildly against it. Eventually calming, only to have a rider on her back. The sensation, odd at first she bucks fiercely trying to knock the rider off. After several times, she calms, relaxing into it, accepting the rider. Eventually it sinks in, she intrinsically understands it is hopeless to effect a change.
She becomes dependent on her owner, who feeds her, washes her down after a ride and she remains fiercely loyal to her owner. The horse is broken, but has gained a greater purpose in service to her owner.
It is important to keep reminding one self; women are not horses.
The topic of breaking another conjures such great visceral responses, mostly negative in nature. We have heard the stories of women captured, held captive often in plain sight. The first question one might ask, why did they not run at the first opportunity?
Simply put they were broken, their spirit crushed, their delicate psyche shattered. Every moment of their life was spent trying to curry favor to avoid harsh treatment. Yet, knowing it would make little difference.
That was what I learned one evening while holding mouse in my arms listening to her speak. She disclosed that it mattered not how she behaved; good or inappropriate behaviors made little difference. She always ended up in the basement. Then she would receive a reward of sorts, something small of little significance but enough to give hope. To hold her focus on meager reward.
Few submissives consider that when they whisper to their Dominant they want to be 'broken.' When a sub first asked me to, many years ago; it made me feel an odd combination of pride and simultaneously fear. Fear, it should be mentioned, to a sadist is rather like catnip. An intoxicating combination.
It demonstrates complete trust. However, what are they really saying? Do they want to be shattered, humiliated and abused? I do not believe so, what they are asking is far more simplistic. They are begging to be controlled. They are asking to have their deepest secrets revealed and brought to light. They are begging for their walls not to be torn-down, but demolished. They crave containment and to feel safe. The path to that is never easy and if I am honest, it will remain elusive for most who dare to ask. It requires much work on their behalf. They struggle against it, like the horse fighting it wildly. Ultimately most decide it is beyond their reach. They are beset with deep feelings of failure. What they do not realize it requires much time to achieve the goal.
Sadly, submissive women with a history of abuse tend to not struggle as much. Mentally, they tend to drift into the mindset that it is useless to fight it. Those are, for them, rote emotional responses and require the utmost of care.
DV penned an excellent post on this topic. His views on this greatly echoed my own.