Shadow Play

Author: Lady Celeste ©

***I am not a doctor, I'm not a psychologist and I have no training in any area of medicine. What is writen is strictly from longtime experience and observation. YMMV. *** 

Shadowing is basically heavy (emphasis on the heavy) psychology but that is not to say that physicality does not play an important part. Shadow play is almost the exact opposite of a mindfuck. With a mindfuck you try to 'fool' the mind into expecting that something is going to happen. In shadowing or shadow play, you need to understand that the mind has had an experience and you need to draw it out so it can be dealt with in the light of day. Shadowing delves (normally) into a person's past and goes way beyond expanding a limit. I can explain it best by example. 

As a child I was abused, often with a belt, sometimes with a hanger, usually with a hairbrush. Michael and I were in St. Augustine one time and he started to use a hairbrush on me and I freaked. I'm a fairly heavy player and into some pretty intense scenes, so you wouldn't think of a hairbrush as being particularly intense or scary. But something in my mind snapped and so did I. I'm not sure and can't speak for Michael's reaction to that particular incident, but I do know that he was surprised at the violence and intensity of my reaction to something as innocuous as a hairbrush. All of a sudden I was not a full grown adult woman. I was not sure of myself, nor was I confident. It was not Michael in the room with me. I was 8 years old and it was my Mother beating on me again. I can't explain to you how terrifying that was for me in that moment. All rational thought left my head and I couldn't stop crying or shaking. 

So.. how to get past something like this? Maybe by Shadow play. The shadows pertaining to the dark parts of 'you' that you don't always know are there until something triggers them. It's almost like selective amnesia. When you start to explore this particular area of BDSM/psychology?, you need to make sure the trust levels are such that your partner will be able to respond to you no matter what.. that you will be able to help them get past whatever demons may haunt them and that the bond between you is so strong that nothing can break it.. because of all the areas of BDSM, this is the one that can do it. There is a great deal of danger in any number of areas of BDSM.. but none are so damaging as what can happen to the psyche of someone during shadowing. Physical wounds heal (usually).. sometimes those of the mind do not. Too many of us have experienced trauma in our lives that, perhaps, are best left untouched. But to many of us, being able to acknowledge those traumas, to bring those fears out into the open and to conquer them is one of the main reasons this life appeals to us. I was so terrified of hairbrushes that even when my switch was flipped and I was Toppy.. I couldn't bring myself to use one on a subbie. The first time I tried, I cried.. and cried.. and cried. 

It's still tough for me to deal with a hairbrush being used on me.. but Michael has been very patient with me for the time we have been together and slowly but surely, the fears are vanishing and I am gaining more confidence. It's just an inanimate object.. it has no power over me other than what I give it and as I tell myself these things, I know, deep down, I still do not like it used on me, but at least I don't get hysterical now. And I have no problem using one on someone else either. I don't know that I will ever be able to view a hairbrush as 'just' a hairbrush. It may always be a memory of what has happened in my past. One of the things that I have learned about myself in living this life is that I'm a hell of a lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for and I'm a survivor. Knifes, whips, needles, clamps, electricity.. child's play to me.. but a hairbrush.. well, I will go there, but it's still reluctantly. 

Delving into the Shadows 

Identify the area you want to explore if you can. Unfortunately, it is often unknown to the submissive that there is a traumatic 'trigger' at all. The best thing you can do for yourself is to explore your past (professionally if need be) then communicate all that you are so that your Dominant is armed with as much knowledge as possible. If you are already aware of an intense fear in a particular area, take the baby steps. Fear of knives? Start with the store-bought plastic ones, through the butter knives and you'll get to the long swords in your own good time. ::smile:: There is never a need to rush or push into areas you are not ready for. A good Dominant is going to want to take you very slowly into those areas, at your pace so that you remain healthy. Remember that you 'trust' your Dominant and they only want to help you. 

Hope that explains a bit about shadow play. If you ever do decide to explore your inner self through this medium, please.. please make sure you have a partner that is qualified to handle it and you. 

In leather and bondage,
Lady Celeste 



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