Ignoring as Punishment

Recently I was at a discussion group where we talked about punishment. One form of punishment came up from several Dominants – ignoring the submissive. I have had this talk with Dominants before and I never can clearly express my thoughts, so I am going to try to tackle it now.

This form of punishment always sets off little red flag buttons in me. I started to think of the reasons why I do not think this is a good form of punishment.

The majority of submissives I have talked to have some sort of abandonment issues and trust issues. Many submissives also have self esteem issues. I feel ignoring a submissive sets those fears off even more. I feel it makes those issues grow instead of healing and working past them.

The submissive does something wrong and the Dominant ignores the submissive. The submissive frets, feels terrible and beats themselves up, while in many cases the Dominant is off doing something they enjoy – being with family and friends, watching tv, shopping and so on. I feel that shows the submissive the Dominant does not care. I feel it shows the submissive that when there are tough times the Dominant will leave. I feel it re-enforces low self esteem issues as it shows them all the little messages playing in their head are correct. It shows them they cannot trust because if they do something wrong, slip, make a mistake, the Dominant will leave. It shows them the Dominant will abandon them if they are “bad.”

Parents give children time outs and I have heard Dominants say this is the same as ignoring a submissive as a form of punishment. I believe it is different. Most Dominants I know who use this as a form of punishment do not even live with their submissive and say “I am not talking to you for two days because you did such and such.” When a parent gives a child a time out most of the time they are in the same room or the next, so that the child knows they are still cared for but that they need to slow down and look at what they did. So when a Dominant ignores his/her submissive for two days, to me that is giving the submissive the attitude that the Dominant does not care, that they are not to be trusted, and that when tough times hit the Dominant will leave. Plus the Dominant is not in contact with them for two days and how do they know what has happened in that two days? Maybe this punishment has effected them so much their work or family life is suffering. So in a time when they are needing their Dominant, the submissive feels they cannot contact the Dominant to express this, as this is a punishment and submissives are not supposed to “enjoy” their punishment.

The reason for punishment is to make it something that the submissive can learn from so that the behavior is not repeated. I do not think making a submissive fear the Dominant is going to abandon them is a good deterrence. I feel a Dominant should compel their submissive to submit and obey . . . not make them fear the Dominant will leave the submissive if they do not obey.

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