I grew up in an environment which was quite tightly controlled. There were certain house rules and there were expectations of how you should behave. I think that is fairly usual and probably most homes are like that to a greater or to a lesser extent. Through my role at work I can see the way that parenting styles impact on the young person and so I am aware that consistency is key in setting those rules and boundaries and in having them accepted and adhered to. In that sense, the environment in which I grew up was not only tightly controlled but it was consistent in its expectations and so they stuck and were rarely challenged. To gain acceptance, I learnt self-control.

Controlling the environment and the expectations is interesting as it does set a blue print for how you want those within it to behave. Behaviour comes from feelings which are triggered by thoughts caused by actions, so to really control, you need to be influential over how that person thinks and feels. I do not suggest that most people are thinking about it on this level, as the majority of us are prompted by a thought which triggers a feeling and leads to resultant behaviour. This usually happens quickly and is part of the sub-conscience. It is only when trying to shift or alter thinking styles that you really become aware of it and have to slow the whole process down, challenge it, and make changes so that a new way of thinking becomes habit.

Under pressure I think that most people will return to the hard-wiring that their brain has adopted during their formative years. Those connections become your default and it can be very hard to change them later on in life. I know that there is a big shift at the moment from groups trying to persuade us that certain behaviours are nature rather than nurture, but I really think that while genetics play a part, so much of what we are comes from what we have learnt early on. It is based on protecting ourselves and finding a way to survive and hopefully succeed, within the environment which we are part of.

I was brought up with a strong set of core values which were modelled, corrected and reinforced where required. This led pretty much to good decision making, sensible choices, thoughtful responses and an expectation that I was someone who would do the right thing, whether that was concerning myself or my actions towards others. All good so far. The flip side of this was the thought process. As a family the thinking was often verbalised. There were always reasons and explanations. These were public and you were held accountable in a sense for the mistakes and failures that you made. I always remember this being about the negatives rather than the positives and the fact that we all knew about each other was part of being close and meant that we all learnt from the actions of each other.

The expectations were high: high to unattainable. Hence came the guilt and shame and the sense of failure. The fear of exposure and the need not to be discovered was huge. The desire for acceptance and the need for approval became the key at the root of the process. So the action would trigger the thought which became shaped by the desire for approval. I would behave in the way that I thought I should but the feeling would be negative – anxiety or guilt or a sense of failure. The anxiety would come from the fear of getting it wrong, the guilt from the fact that I was lucky, had no excuse and should be grateful and the failure because whatever I did, it was never good enough to meet those unattainable expectations.

These are things that I have been aware of for a long time. They make me who I am. They mean that I set myself unrealistic expectations, that I seek reassurance and approval, that I try to be what I think that others need and want me to be, and that I have a high level of self control. HisLordship deals every day with these symptoms and although he has an idea of the cause, I am not sure he has ever understood why it happens. Letting go has never really been an option for me. How can I be what I need to be if I let go? It also means that the level of complex analysis and the need to anticipate a variety of outcomes becomes an integral part of the thinking and this is also not conducive to letting go. Thoughts and feelings are predicted and responses are therefore controlled.

There is a D/s link to this self-analytical ramble in that this has really affected not only my need to submit, but also my submission itself.  Left to my own devices, I will control my thoughts, behaviour and actions very closely but to a never ending goal. The expectations I set can never really be met, the approval that I seek will never be gained and I will never be good enough. That is quite hard to manage and it is so completely wired as a default that it becomes hard for those who are drawn into it.  What I need is for someone else to set the expectations, to approve of my thoughts, actions and behaviour and to let me know that I am good enough.

HisLordship is the first person who has come close to being able to do that, and do it in a way which can turn the old negatives to new positives and begin to rewrite my default.  During the years with him, I have felt myself move away from some of the instinctive feelings and start to break away from some of the innate responses. I feel calmer and freer and that is reflected in some of my actions and behaviour. The past still affects my submission though, as acting in a submissive way and behaving submissively is just part of it. Unless he can break down some of the layers of self control, I am not going to be able to fully let myself go.

I am not saying that this never happens and during a scene where I am tested in an intense way, I will find myself slip into that place. When I was thinking about my relationship with pain I realised that my self control meant that I processed pain in a way which meant that I retreated into myself to fight and control it, rather than letting go and coming out of myself to clutch on to him in need. If it goes too far it becomes emotionally divisive for us rather than emotionally connecting.  Triggering my emotional vulnerability will have the opposite effect.  My need to be accepted, to gain approval, to meet the expectations will be huge, especially where I feel that I have been exposed and/or revealed as my true self.

Losing control (giving up my self-control) will lead to exposure of who and what I really am.  To do that and allow myself to be accepted and loved and approved of, despite the reality of who or what I am, is what I need to do to fully submit. Only through losing control, will I actually be free and that will only come through someone else taking complete control over me. I have hidden myself behind many layers and defences so that I can be what I think I need to be for that situation, and that holds me back, as a person and as a submissive. I have known for a long time that HL sees me, but for this to go any further I need him to show me myself. Not by telling me in words or by giving me examples, but by making me become it.

It is a lot to give up and I am not sure where it will go or if it will happen. When I was much younger I worried about who that person was. I wanted to find her and to see but that was difficult and led to so many conflicted emotions that it was impossible to continue. I had unpacked myself so far, but put the layers all back on, probably even more tightly with the knowledge of what I had discovered in the process. Since I met HL this is the happiest phase of my life and I have no real need for more than this. But the process of reflection that is part of D/s means that I have come face to face with the ways that I am limiting myself, and if he wants to push those boundaries then I am happy to try and see where he takes me.

This post was originally posted in January 2018 but I wanted to add it to the Wicked Wednesday prompt of self control. This post is significant for me as it was the beginning of my being able to understand the triggers to letting go and why erotic humiliation was one of them. I have explored this a lot since and have learnt more about how things work in terms of control and letting go, but because this is about the root of my needs, it still feels relevant.

To say that control is a reoccurring theme on my blog is probably an understatement, but if you would like to read more, these are some of the other posts that I have written.

Control Freak
Control and D/s
All about Control
Controlling me
Letting go of Control

Posted in Erotic Humiliation, Mental Health, Submissive Musings and tagged , , , , .


  1. So much of what you right resonates with me and my own experiences. I completely understand that unattainable perfection, the need for approval, never feeling good enough… And it is such a destructive thing. In some ways I’m glad I had my breakdown in 2005, it allowed me to process and challenge this belief system, to ultimately reject it. I’m not saying I don’t still have these personality traits because I do, but I have learned to temper them and ask for help in managing my expectations of self….
    I hope you find a way to do the same… It’s very liberating to be able to reject these negative expectations and to behave only as you wish not how you feel you should … After all, as you’re a level headed, “normal”, well rounded, highly educated, loving, generous, accomplished woman what’s the worst that could happen if you removed the expected mask and showed the world the woman underneath?

    • That is interesting. I hope that I find a way to let things go and just be more often. I know that I hold back that last little bit especially. Thank you ?

      • For me it was in learning to ask myself that question (and others)… “What’s the worst that could happen?”, “What am I afraid will happen?”, “Have I any evidence to support this fear/worry?”, And the most important and affective for me… “If this was a dear friend who was thinking this way, what would you say?”
        Mine was usually things like…. If I say no to someone they will not like me or not be my friend anymore…. I’ve no evidence to the contrary because I’ve never done it… If I was giving advice it would be .. then they weren’t your friend to begin with…
        Slowly I started to put it into practice, so the next time I could say that I had said no and they were still my friend so the evidence didn’t support my fear…

  2. Missy, We have had many conversations about this topic so I won’t rehash it here. Lol Suffice to say I understand that need for self control very well. I happen to have taken mine in a different direction of late, choosing to nurture rather than suppress, which I think is what you’re saying here that you try to do in order to access your submission? and that you need more help with from HL to do this? That’s the message I got, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. ?
    I’m sure he will take up the challenge and be galvanized by it. ?
    You guys have such open communication and genuine love and respect for each other. I admire that and wish you much success in reaching your goals together. Xoxo

    • Thank you SG. I don’t think I am trying to suppress it as much as enjoying the times that it is taken from me and acknowledging why I do it and how hard it is to break. I don’t think I can push myself past it so I would need that to be forced. I am enjoying watching you harness yours though. And you seem to be doing very will with it. ?

    • Aww thank you. That means a lot. I think that you had my number before now but I guess the past is often what shapes us. I don’t think I was aware of it really myself. I knew there was a need for things to be controlled and I knew that I held myself back but I don’t think I saw is as clearly before. Thank you for accepting me as I am ?

  3. Speaking from my psychological background, this is one of the best self-analysis pieces you’ve done, Missy. I’m glad you’re making positive strides through your D/s journey that affect and help introduce you to the real you. — AJT

    • Aww thank you AJT. That really means a lot. I have always been a thinker but this whole process has been able to highlight things in a way which means I can really do something about them.

  4. Interestingly, my background was very different, yet the rest is so similar I could have written it myself.
    I grew up with a mother who married 6 times. There was not a lot of consistency, thus my regulation was developed internally. However, that inconsistency meant that I never felt like I quite lived up to any expectation; the praise was not always external, it came from within. That made for a forced strength for which I’m eternally grateful, but also ongoing unrealistic expectations, much as you described. It also lead to an external locust of control – seeking external praise, doing what I thought others would like/need from me, and not always listening to my gut/instincts. Those internal instincts existed as part of that developed strength, and they were loud, because they had to be – I needed to count on me in so many situations. I just didn’t always make the choice that was smartest or safest for me in my quest to please.
    I believe that’s why giving up control has been so very difficult for me for so long. The process of unbecoming all those things I convinced myself I needed to be in searching for that external praise and belonging has been long and hard. I needed to trust someone to be consistent and that wasn’t easy.
    My relationship with M evolved over our 24 years to a place I felt like I could begin to shed those beliefs and expectations and truly listen to ME for the first time ever, really. But I know I hold some back, too. I believe we’ve come to the place now where it’s right there, ready to be challenged, if he wishes to do so. And he does, more often, and unexpectedly. It’s both amazing and scary as hell. I surprise myself often at my reaction to it – sometimes melting into it and other times I feel the claws coming out! Lol. Either way, I’m enjoying this place and whatever comes next.
    As always, thank you for sharing, Missy. Also, as always, it feels like I’d much rather pick up the phone or meet for coffee and have a chat instead of writing a novella on here, lol.
    Love to you. ?

    • Oh I so wish that we could Kay and if the opportunity ever presents itself then I will jump at it.
      It is interesting to hear your story and to see how, although sort of the opposite, it has had the same effect on the way that you manage. I have always thought how similar we are in the way that we think and feel and that is why I relate so much to what you write. It is funny to see that it is deep rooted to what we were so many years before what we have become now.
      I think that I am still the stage before you. I am ready to be challenged but that has not happened to the level I am prepared for yet. Good to know that although scary as hell it is also amazing. That is what I had hoped. Hugs to you and remember there is a room here for you and M in Scotland if you ever choose to visit!

      • Me, too.
        It is interesting! But so helpful and comforting to share with you and gain both insight and camaraderie.
        I’m not sure you’ll be prepared, lol. I often wonder if I am. Some days I hope for more challenges and others I wonder if I really want what I Image! Lol. And as I mentioned, I’m often surprised at my reactions. So is he.
        Thank you, Missy, that means so much! I will certainly remember that! Let me know if you’re ever near Ohio!

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  6. It wasn’t until I saw the comments that I realised this was an updated post from just before I was blogging. Thank you for linking to #sb4mh on this prompt.

    I do find your writing on control, or facing up to the wall it imposes on you that stops you going where you hope to go, to be fascinating reading. Breaking away from what we were taught to be during our formative years is really hard to do. Rarely is it done in one big leap into the unknown.

    For me, there was a fear that to lose control meant giving up and losing a vital element of who I am. That it was a zero sum game where for her to take something meant me losing it and being diminished in some way. I guess that what she taught me was that it was a win-win game. Mind you, I’m still not sure how I made that plunge.

    Always love your thoughts on your place in D/s ??

    • Thank you Melody and I hope it wasn’t too confusing that it was an older lost. I have thought a lot about control and have traced back where my need for it came from. I know that I hold back and realising that has been helpful. I know that your situation was very different and it is always interesting to see how it works for others. Thank you ❤️

  7. Thank You Missy for linking up an old post to SB4MH. New & old posts are always welcome.
    Sounds like you are well on your way to a better understanding of yourself. 🙂

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  9. I found myself nodding through so much of this, having grown up in a controlled and conservative environment, a place where expectations were incredibly high, and where emotions and reactions were controlled too. Guilt and shame is something that was imprinted in my DNA from before I was born, which means that I still have difficulty to show negative emotions, to show when I hurt, when I am disappointed, angry. Master T manages to ‘extract’ pure emotions from me, and in my submission I can find peace, and truth. It’s difficult though to let go of the control, and just be. Great post, Missy, and thank you for linking up now, as I missed it the first time.
    ~ Marie xox

    • I wonder if that is why submission works so well for us. There seem to be many subs who struggle to let go of control of themselves and find submission helps. Missy x

  10. I love the idea of D/s as a way of bringing us face to face with our limits. The edges of ourselves are where all the most interesting parts our psyches are found, I often think, so they’re certainly worthy of being explored.

    • I agree with you. I find it hard without the Dominance to push me though. I want to do it but I try to wriggle out of things sometimes. missy x

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