Friday, April 8, 2011

Leather Bear Tails: When service becomes unhealthy

Let’s face it; service is a heady experience, for everyone involved. It is intoxicating to have someone so vested in who you are as a person that they are willing and able to cater to even your most subtle of needs. To have someone who knows when you are hungry before you do, brings your drink before your throat is dry, who can read you like a book and respond with care and love and attention is the most amazing experience. It redefines not only how you look at relationships but how you relate to the world.

A lot of times when we talk about unhealthy service, there is an element of abuse involved, and we can all basically step back and take a look at things and say, well yea, that looked bad, and agree that the situation was unhealthy. But I have found that unhealthy service, one, can come from both sides, and two, is much more subtle then easily identifiable abusive situations.

Let’s look at the side of the dominant. When does the service of a loving slave or submissive become unhealthy for the dominant?

First if the Master or dominate becomes so detached from responsibility they stop taking care of themselves in the process. What I mean is when people use the concept of slave’s duty to allow themselves to become inert. Since taking out the trash is the slave’s duty, and doing the laundry is the slave’s duty, the Master will not pick up a single can from the living room and throw it out, or put their dirty shorts in the hamper. At first glance, it doesn’t seem so bad- but over time it can become were every little thing is the slave’s duty, this allows the Master to detach to such a point that they simply stop dong the basics in life because they know that someone else will do it for them. The Master will sit in a mountain of trash in their dirty clothes, because it isn’t their duty to take care of those things. This amount of detachment is not healthy for the Master~ being detached from life, although it may be something that we all need from time to time, if done on a day to day basis becomes a self destructive habit, and pulling oneself out of that habit becomes not their responsibility.

Secondly when the service becomes the excuse. When the dominant in essence stops being able to relate to the world around them because generally the world isn’t service based in their needs. I see this a lot in dominates that don’t push themselves to be social, were the submissive has become their whole life. Then when they come out to a conference or an event, they are unable to relate to other dominates, because they don’t know how to relate to those that wont cater to them, and they occasionally become very inappropriate with other slaves and submissives because the expectation of their own needs is fixed in their mind.

So when does service become unhealthy in the capacity of the bottom?

When slaves or submissives use their sense of duty to overlook or take precedent over their own emergent needs and responsibilities. What I mean by this is sometimes concentrating on someone else is easier than focusing on the self, and for some slaves, the ability to serve allows them to ignore even pressing things in their life under the guise of I need to serve first then later I can take care of myself. At first look, ok, the slave’s needs are generally put aside for the Master, but when it becomes something truly pressing, like putting off a medical procedure because they don’t want to take from Masters time, or worry the Dominant with the possibility that something might really be wrong. Or not doing the daily things that it takes to care for the self because of the intense responsibility they feel to the Master, the thinking that taking care of themselves takes away from the care they give their Dominants. That is using service as an excuse to not care for the self.

There are a lot of ways that service becomes unhealthy, but I have found that they start with the same concepts, making your life another person’s responsibility, or not wanting to look at yourself and so you delve into the needs of another person. Like I said, service is a heady and intoxicating experience, and like all intoxication when taken to extremes, it can lead to less of an ability to deal in the real world.

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