i have said that “i didn’t choose submission, that submission chose me.” In this post, i intend to expand on that entire thought….
When i think back to my younger days, and even all the way back to my childhood, i would say that while i didn’t recognize it as such at the time, i have always had a submissive personality. i even contemplated the nature vs nurture thing here, and i honestly don’t know which it is.
What i know is, i have always been and always will be a submissive.
In trying to organize my thoughts on how to expand on this, i did a search of “personality traits of a submissive.” i then read through quite a few of the articles, and many of the sites portrayed being submissive as a negative thing. Many made it seem as if all submissives are in abusive relationships and need to be saved. One even said to seek therapy and “aggressive counseling.” i laughed at that one! If you couldn’t guess already, i am NOT abused, NOT in need of save for or therapy. Okay, maybe the therapy, but still. Lol!
While i can see that it could and probably does happen in some relationships (that a submissive is taken advantage of and/or is abused), this isn’t how it has to be or always is. And i would think the opposite is true too, that a dominant person could be taken advantage of and/or abused. i guess i would say that it just shouldn’t be assumed that submissive = abused. i know that’s not true for me for sure!
That said, i did find several articles that listed a lot of traits that i’d say pretty well define me, and i compiled my own listing in the process. Here’s my list along with some dialogue too!
Now to expand on those things above, as it relates to me personally
PEOPLE PLEASER (or “conflict avoidance”)
One character trait that shows up on every personality test i have ever taken is that i am a people pleaser. i like to see people happy and to the extent that i can make that happen, i do.
The old adage that says, “you can’t make all the people happy all the time,” is absolutely true, but it always causes me anxiety too. While i recognize and freely state that it’s absolutely true, when i am put into the position of being the one to decide who will be made happy and who is to be made UNhappy, i am suddenly also unhappy. i want to please ALL the people, and somehow knowing whatever i decide is assuredly going to cause someone unhappiness at my doing, seems wrong. i mean, i literally caused the negative situation by making a decision to chose someone else’s happiness and not theirs. It’s upsetting for me every time!
Now before you go saying, “yeah but…” i get how ludicrous what i just said really is. But it’s how i feel in that moment. i can’t necessarily apply logic and understanding to know it was not my fault, they will get over it, someone had to lose, made the best decision possible, etc. until later. But even then, while acknowledging it couldn’t be helped, i still feel bad about it too.
Now think of the flip side here in that at least one or more of the people are happy when i make a decision to serve or please them. That brings joy and happiness to them, AND in the process to me too! When there is more than one to serve/make happy, it’s then that i experience a quandary of what to do or say or how to act or who to please (or disappoint)!
i have been trying to serve others in my daily world my whole life. In a lot of ways, it could be said that i have always been submissive in the sense that my joy comes when other people have joy. i am a service submissive in that sense. Although i never recognized it as being a submissive at all at the time either, i know it now!
Without a doubt, this has defined a lot of my younger years. As i have grown older, i have learned to exercise more discernment about who i serve or try to please. That’s where i am able to rationalize the “it’s ok” part of “not everyone is happy all the time,” by recognizing that ALL the people’s happiness is not my responsibility and i have not failed them in the process.
i am now able to be much more intentional about who i want to (try to) serve snd make happy. Specifically, i now try to really only please my Sir, but to some degree you could also say my entire family, my co-workers/clients, and friends are still apart of that too.
As David is now my Sir and the only one i really ultimately serve, when i become overwhelmed from the others still in my life too, David reels me back in.
It may not make sense what i am saying because i am still (even as an adult) talking about serving multiple people simultaneously. So let me give you an example…..
It’s Friday afternoon and a few people from work want to go to a happy hour with heavy appetizers, drinks, and hours of fun. Most likely this will cause me to not be hungry for dinner that David is already in the process of cooking. i want to please the co-workers, but also David. While i could just say no to co-workers and head home, i also know if i always say no they will stop asking at some point and then i don’t exactly have friends at work anymore then too. Of course, i ultimately only need to please David!
What i do now is tell my co-workers, “Let me check with David and see if it’s ok.” Now i literally mean what it sounds like where i ask permission to go, but they don’t interpret it that way at all. They just think i am checking in or confirming a clear schedule, but what they think or interpret isn’t my concern (anymore).
Frequently David will say yes that i can go, but sometimes it’s a no too. And when it’s a no, i have to face the co-workers and share that news. i have learned that “No is a complete sentence.” And i just have to say, “David say no, so i have to pass on tonight. Thanks anyway. Invite me next time though too.”
Because David knows how i take all of everyone’s happiness (or unhappiness) on myself and how i have a propensity to want to please everyone, he brings me back. He makes me focus on what’s important. He makes sure i focus on him. Sometimes he delivers a maintenance spanking to ground me too (and it works every time)!
RESERVED AND QUIET (or “Tendency toward shyness”)
This too has been part of “me” since i was little. People who really know me think i am anything but reserved and quiet, but that’s because they forgot how i was when they didn’t know me so well.
i absolutely hate meeting new people, making small talk, and having to talk about ME! i would (almost) rather be invisible than to have to be the focus or center of a conversation.
On the same note, i love to people watch. i find enjoyment in watching and listening to others. i would say i “catalog” a lot about a person in just observing them… the obvious about how they dress and carry themselves, but also more about their personality when you listen to them talk.
So even when David says yes to happy hour, i don’t tend to actually talk much. And when i do, i tend to be focused on group dynamics, ensuring everyone is happy, and no one is left out. i will always try to situate myself in the middle of the group table so i can make sure everyone to both the left and right sides are included and part of the discussions. But when all is well and all are talking, i just listen. I just catalog all that i you hear and let the happy hour play out.
i have always been a rules follower. At times, it used to drive my mother insane. i have always felt that “the rule is there for a reason.” And even if i don’t understand the rule or know the reason, if it’s there for a reason, i should follow it.
i made straight A’s in school. The A’s were easy because the rules were set and to follow. i knew when the homework or project or test would happen and i planned my schedule and was ready. i never once had to go to detention or the principal’s office. i drank alcohol exactly one time before i was of age to do so legally. i have never stolen anything. i have never tried illegal drugs. i have rarely ran a red light, and when i did, i almost always have had a good reason for it.
As an adult, i don’t cook well because there aren’t enough rules. (What is a “pinch” or “an amount to taste” even mean?). My career choice is chopped FULL of rules, and i find it easy to do while many do not. (i won’t tell you what i do, but so many have said to me, “I don’t know how you do what you do!” But the fact is, once you learn “the rules” it’s easy.)
So when David sets rules, like “leave Happy hour and be home by 6,” i know exactly what i must do. And i do it. [Of course, i don’t always do what I am told, which is what leads to discipline. But even then, i know what to do and i mostly do what i am supposed to. And when I don’t do it, i know the consequences too!]
AGREEABLE (or “Aren’t assertive”)
i am not always agreeable, but i suppose i am not always any of these characteristics. i am only just mostly all of these things most of the time, which is true here too.
When my co-workers say, “let’s go to the Tex-Mex place” for the happy hour, despite the fact that’s the exact same place i went to lunch that very day, i agree. In the scheme of things, i figure this decision or choice just doesn’t matter. And it’s not like i don’t like Mexican food and drinks (frozen margaritas are the best!), so it’s just easy to have someone else to decide and for me to just agree.
When things just don’t matter, why disagree? It’s not like i am NOT able to assert myself, it’s just that i do it selectively. i try to ask myself, “Does this decision matter?” And most of the time, the answer is, “no, it really doesn’t.” So why disagree if the decision doesn’t even matter? It’s just easy to agree then!
Most of the time, i am actually happy to agree as i am grateful that someone made a decision. It irks me to no end when people say, “I don’t know, what do you think?” And the answer is, “I don’t know either.” And then we stand and stare at one another. Someone make a damn decision already! Sooooooo when someone does, i am (almost always) happy and agreeable!
YIELDING (TO THE WILL OF ANOTHER)
i think “Y-I-E-L-D-I-N-G” is an interesting word. It means not rigid, pliable, and giving way. That is the very definition of a submissive person and who i am!
i am unsure there’s anything more to say here. I love this word and character trait. i would say i told the story will all the previous words and traits above.
All that was build up to say, i have always been a submissive person. i can lead, but i prefer to follow. In fact, i have to lead frequently, it i don’t especially like it. If i see that someone else steps up and takes charge, i let them. Because i am agreeable, yielding, and submissive!
Whether nature or nurture, i don’t know. What i do know is: submission chose me long ago. (i also know Happy Hour at a Tex-Mex place, drinking frozen margaritas and eating chips and queso is easy to agree to, make people happy, and yield to the will of others. If you are in Texas and want to prove me right … let me know and i’ll be there!)