Master has an article somewhere that his mentoree, we'll call her M, wrote about journaling. I think its titled something like "How to get your slave to journal". I know i've read it a couple of times, going through the binder that we keep all the BDSM articles written in. I'm not sure if she remember it, or still holds the same opinions that she expressed there, but I would like to write my own little piece about the topic here. However, i am expanding from journaling to communicating in general.
From this submissives point of view, journaling is just another form of communication with the Dominant. It is at times more honest, as some find it easier to be forthcoming in writing and there are no immediate reactions or judgments and no interruptions. Journaling can, if used properly, be an excellent method of open honest communication. I have seen some Dominants use the journal as a training tool, accessing the submissives thoughts and feelings after a scene, or during times of struggle. I have also seen it allowed for a submissive's journal to be a safe space- somewhere the submissive can write in a free space sort of way, away from any restrictions of speech, completely unedited. It is not free in that confession would go ignored or unpunished, but that some credit was given for confessing in the first place.
It is important to remember, however, as both submissive and Dominant, that journaling, should be only one method for communicating out of many. While journaling has the benefits i already talked above, it also has a drawback or to. First is clarity. It is easy to lose the meaning of a statement when it is written down. When said, something might be funny. When written, it falls flat. You lose your tone of voice. Body language- facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact (or lack of it), posture- all play into what is said, and all are lost when words are written. It is also as easy to lie when you write as to be honest. Someone can write pages upon pages without ever really saying anything at all, or without saying anything true. Care must be taken.
So, now after that basic information and slight bit of rambling, why does a submissive stop communicating? It is a basic service to the Dominant to communicate, to share needs, desires, limits, experiences, emotions, struggles, fears. It is a basic service to be open, to be vulnerable, so that they may know their property, so that nothing is kept from them. So that ownership is complete. So why keep secrets? Fear, guilt, confusion, and feeling ignored can all lead to a breakdown in communication.
Fear is a factor in daily life. We fear what we do not understand. We fear the responses that we might get from others. We fear our own recognition. To speak something, to write it, gives it validity. It gives it existence. It is no long a quiet thought in a hidden shadow in the mind. It has a body, a form, a life. The what ifs can be overwhelming. What if i said this and he gets angry, or disappointed? What if i am wrong?
Shame and guilt often keep us quiet. We don't want to be punished, or to disappoint. A submissive might be kept quiet by the values that society has placed on her. Even if the Dominant approves of something, or supports it, often upbringing and contemporary values do not. Reassurance is needed here.
A submissive may not understand her own thoughts or feelings. Confusion may lead to lack of communication as she sifts through what she is thinking in an effort to understand herself. Her confusion could also be about something that was said or done to her. She may not know how to respond to it, and so decides not to respond at all. Confusion can put a block to logical communication, and in this case, patience and careful discussions are the best ways to approach the situation.
The 'why bother' cause of a lack of communication is for me, the worst, and hardest to deal with. The attitude from the submissive side is something like "He doesn't read my journal anyway, so why should i write in it?" or "My opinion doesn't really matter, so i just won't say anything." These lines of thinking could have a few different causes. The Dominant might have been overwhelmed recently with other activities, causing is attention to shift from training for long periods of time (or shorter periods of time, depending on how attention seeking the submissive is). Previous experiences in life may have caused this line of thinking to settle deep with in the submissive's mind. Again, reassurances should be made, as well as a careful look as a Dominant at your own actions. Does your submissive have a point? If it has been several weeks since you last read anything from her journal, if you haven't taken the time to sit and talk to her about her feeling, her stances in her submission, do you really understand her mind?
The bonsai tree must be monitored closely and pruned wisely. It should be observed as it grows to that it can be trimmed, or tied as needed. If allowed to grow freely, or untamed, it loses part of its beauty. The same is true for a submissive. Communication is observance. It is pruning. It is part of the control that we, as submissives seek...