Punishment: View From The Dragon's Lair

Author: Dragon~Lord aka Dennis © 2004


Used With Author(s) Permission



"I'm not the one who's so far away
When I feel the snake bite enter my veins.
Never did I wanna be here again,
And I don't remember why I came.
" Candles raise my desire,
Why I'm so far away.
No more meaning to my life,
No more reason to stay.
Freezing, feeling,
Breathe in, breathe in...
I'm coming back again...
Hazing clouds rain on my head,
Empty thoughts fill my ears.
Find my shade by the moonlight,
Why my thoughts aren't so clear.
Demons dreaming,
Breathe in, breathe in...
I'm coming back again...
Voodoo, voodoo,
voodoo, voodoo.
[So far away...
I'm not the one who's so far away...
I'm not the one who's so far away...
I'm not the one who's so far away...]
-Godsmack- "Voodoo"


I’m not the one so far away"

I wonder how many times a slave/submissive has felt this way" especially during punishment? And then throw in the possibility that it is not a clear infraction, or a rhyme or reason for the punishment: ""When I feel the snake bite enter my veins. Never did I wanna be here again, and I don't remember why I came." Damn, every line points to my topic, though it may not have been the author’s intent. Yet it still works" eerie huh?

I am asked many times what my thoughts are on punishment. I used to have a pat answer that let me slide out on this one: "that’s an individual choice within the dynamics of the relationship." As I look back at this answer I see where the flaw is" all of the words between the quote marks. This statement does not really offer much except a possible escape route for me from a somewhat touchy situation where I may be perceived as the subject matter expert. Which I am most assuredly not! So with that in mind here is my take on the matter.

I am a firm and ardent believer that, as a Master, it is my duty, honor and responsibility to insure that in all aspects of my charges lives that there is real learning and growth. Yet in my original paradigm, as a young Dominant, I felt that to accomplish this task there needed to be a set of clear and defined rewards and punishments. The first was to be used sparingly and the latter was to be liberally administered. Because after all, was I not in the most qualified position to illicit modification in another’s behavior? This did not last very long. I realized that this modification of behavior was all well and good for Nanuk the dog but not for my human charges.

The task of modifying behavior of a dog, or even a hamster, can be very time consuming. If you are not watching that dog every moment, then behind your back while you are praising your animal to another, she may be changing the color of your carpet. It becomes a case of extreme micro management. You are constantly running around trying to catch them doing well, and prevent them from doing wrong. And this is with a creature that does not try to push your limits, or test your resolve. It got to the point where I asked myself "who is really being trained here?" Me or the slave?

Well damn, back to the drawing board. What I needed was a way to motivate my charges to do my bidding and will! (Stop laughing, I was young then.) So I thought maybe rewards, more so than punishment, was what was called for. You know like when your kids in school get a smiley face on their paper, or a piece of candy because they did good on a test. This quickly seemed to work, but over a period of time it hit snags. It seemed as if the rewards became more expected and lost their unique treat feeling. Sort of like asking your kid to wash the dishes and their response is "what do I get if I do it?" Granted the first answer that comes to my mind was: "to breathe or to just exist!"

Rewards it seemed became the focus more than the lesson that was being rewarded. A punishment for punishment sake is abusive in my eyes, if there is no lesson behind it. Now throw in our lifestyle and a masochist and your punishment become those rewards. So your little one decides to act up to get punished, which is in reality is their reward. Convoluted isn’t it? Rewards become expected and meaningless and poor behavior gets rewarded with punishment.

Erasing the board again, I realized that if I defined too specifically the rules and regulations that my charges, being the imps that they are, would look for loop holes, slack wires, broken fences, and any other way to circumvent my will and law. (Yea I know it sounds pompous, but hey it’s a learning curve on all sides.)

I soon realized that I can not motivate anybody because another name for motivation would be compliance. And rewards were really just control through seduction. So"how can I get my charges to do what is best for them, which of course is what I want them to do. A 250 page manual of do’s and don’ts is out of the question. Because no matter how much thought goes into that manual, I guarantee you, there is a contingency or loop-hole that they will find. So I decided that a broader scope of expected conduct was needed. So in my house:

1. The slaves must take care of themselves first in order to be able to take care of me.

2. Truth, honesty, trust is always expected to be able to give clear communication. If any of these are not present then I, as a Master, can not make an informed decision.

3. Your purpose, as a slave, is for the betterment of all within the Clan, not just the service to me.

4. Remember you always represent your Master, the Clan, and yourself with Honor, Pride and Decorum.

5. A punishment, if ever required, will be dealt with swiftly and fairly, with no doubt as to its purpose as punishment. (This may include anything from non-playful pain to being ignored for a certain period of time.)

6. After administering the punishment with a review of the infraction and causes, the case is done and the slate is wiped clean.

7. Mistakes are unintentional and that though it may be dealt with punishment, it is not made to be lauded or held over your head.

8. I do not want shame and fear; I do want communication and understanding, with the willingness to learn how to prevent a reoccurrence.

I find this is easier to control and far easier for them to follow, than a 250 page manual. My charges are not animals, to be trained with a bell and food. They are human beings whose insight and service are highly desired. I came to the realization, especially after reading an article, "Punished by Rewards? A Conversation with Alfie Kohn" by Ron Brandt 1993, that "both rewards and punishments are ways of manipulating behavior that destroys the potential for real learning." Punishment can be viewed as destructive, so sometimes we say consequences or even logical consequences. Alfie Kohn calls this ‘punishment lite, a kinder gentler way of doing things to someone instead of working with them.’ I want to work with my charges.

What do I want?

1. I want to give them the opportunity to be better than when they first came to me.

2. I want them to be proud of their service with a true desire to give it, not because they have to but because they want to.

3. I want to have my needs met by someone who is just as motivated as I am towards that goal. Not compliant, but impassioned.

4. I want to be able to have time to enjoy my charges, not to police them.

5. I want to be able give to them, my time and focus to assist them in finding theirs.

So when I am asked what my thoughts on punishment are, I can say with great confidence: "that’s an individual choice within the dynamics of the relationship." Then I explain my view within my household. I am not a micro-manager, though I may use aspects of that to mentor a lesson that is needed. My charges know that if I have to give punishment then, there was a breakdown in communication on their part, the punishment will be swift and will not be confused with play. It will not be given in anger and it will as a Socratic lesson. (Why? Please explain yourself.) And most importantly it will be under consistent review and revision as needed, for not all contingencies can be accounted for.

So that is my take, remember take what you like and leave that which you don’t. This article is just my opinion and is neither a testament nor decree as to the only way things are done. Relish in the wide variety that life and this lifestyle has to offer.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me: Dragon736@aol.com

Be well and blessed be!
Dennis (Dragon~Lord)






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