One of the most difficult subjects to discuss is abuse within the lifestyle. It's important to begin any such discussion with a bit of reality. BDSM relationships across the board, are not more or less likely to have potential for abuse. Demographics show that abuse does occur but it's important to realize that it's a constant regardless of economics, religious belief, race, or ethnicity and gender. You cannot say one group is more or less likely to be abusive.
Jasmine asked, "Hello mouse and Omega, I recently had just left an abusive M/s relationship with someone for a few years. I am unsure how to untangle the mess...so I am seeing a therapist. Needing advice: How can I separate and identify what was abusive behavior from what the dynamic should be? How do I navigate the PTSD symptoms I have from my past relationship with my current partner? How do I talk about M/s relationships in the realm of psychology/psychiatry? Thanks, any help would be great. I've been reading your blog for years."
Thank you for reading Jasmine and we are so sorry to hear of your past troubles. Abuse is awful because it destroys trust. First, not to complicate things, but there isn't a BDSM primer that says 'this is abusive'. To some, the control Daddy has over mouse might seem to verge on abuse -- but it's important to understand that mouse welcomes his control. Without it, mouse feels completely adrift.
Everything about this lifestyle should lift you up and not bring you down. This is why Daddy feels consistency is important. What's wrong today will be wrong tomorrow. There's no changing course on that. It's important to mouse so that she doesn't need to worry about walking on eggshells. At this point in our relationship mouse is well aware what she does to receive punishment or demerits. It's never surprising. If he makes a mistake -- it's likely harder on him than mouse appreciates.
Separating the abuse from normal is difficult, but really it's all about how it made you feel. Did you feel like you were existing in a perpetual earthquake? Sometimes the 'tremors' can be small and other times huge snd explosive? Did you alter your behavior but quickly found there was nothing you could do? How do you feel about your current relationship? Contrast that to how you felt before?
Speaking with a therapist, mouse would suggest that you make appointments with several to begin with. Look for ones who are kink aware at the very least. See who you feel most comfortable with. Therapy can be good, but you also shouldn't feel you need to hide things from your therapist. If you find that you do that, it's time to reevaluate it. This is not to suggest they should always agree with you either. Some therapists who are kink aware, can whether intential or not kink shame, because that thing you do -- isn't what they'd like to do.
In mouse's experience most are fine with a little kink in the bedroom. It's when it goes beyond that some have issues with. Look for a therapist that you can get on fairly well with and seems respectful and knowledgable about your flavor of M/s.
Navigating triggers, the only thing mouse can say for sure, as you build trust and your Master demonstrates trustworthiness, they (the triggers) will lessen eventually. Whiie you're building those things (trust) however it can feel like you're moving backward instead of forward. Try not to get discouraged.
As strange as it sounds this description was apt for mouse, a good friend once said she'd pick up her children from preschool or daycare and they'd just have a huge meltdown. The reason was during the day, whiie they were having fun, they had to focus also on being good. Home was a place where they could let it go. It was the safe zone. The tiniest thing would set them off. In mouse's dynamic with Daddy as we worked to repair the damage from our past, the triggers for a time would come on more often. Many times mouse would fall apart over something that should seem trivial. It could be anything a sound, a scent, or something else that put her back mentally into that place years before. Having a safe place to talk helped probably more than anything. For us it was (and still is) in bed. Daddy was careful to never interrupt or ask questions about the things mouse shared. He just listened. He never offers his opinion or says anything -- it's mouse's time.
Cannot begin to express how cathartic it was for mouse to realize not only that sky didn't fall by sharing those things done to her, but also that he still loved her. Although, he admits today that some was very disturbing for him to hear and he would lay awake for hours sometimes after -- but he also realized that mouse needed to feel safe. If he began questioning her too much, she'd shut down.
Days later sometimes he'd revisit something with mouse would share his thoughts or open a discussion. It helped because the initial issue or feelijgs had passed, so it was easier for mouse to talk about. Talking with him helped a lot.