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Heartbreak Dog

Thursday, February 9th, 2012 by
“Is there anything I can do for you?”  These are the words my boy, Shadow, says to me, his eyes filled with concern and love.  I don’t know how to answer him.  I am filled with so many conflicting emotions that I am paralyzed.  I don’t know how to tell him that no, there is nothing he can do.  There is nothing anyone can do.

A few months ago, it was on its way out, but I didn’t realize that at the time.  I should’ve seen the warning signs–long nights at work, not wanting to communicate with me, lack of affection.  And now, it’s just gone.  About three weeks ago, my confidence just took off, leaving me feeling bereft and lost, with a sad heart full of insecurities and taking much of my dominance with it.

I’ve been through a lot over the past month, but I feel like I should be able to handle it.  I know I’m too hard on myself, but that knowledge just makes me feel more critical of myself.

My dominance is such a big part of who I am.  I feel as if I’ve lost myself.  This sort of thing has happened before, and I know I will get through it, and I know I’ll find myself again.  But right now I feel lost.  I lack the confidence to assert myself over my submissive, who wants so badly to serve me.  This, in turn just makes me feel worse about myself.  I’m not sure how to break this cycle.

I hate pity.  This is both because of my proud nature and as a sometimes-wheelchair-user who has had too many people talk down to me.  Some people conflate pity and sympathy, but they’re not the same.  They are similar, but there is a distinct line between them.  That line is respect.  Pity is felt for an inferior, sympathy is felt for an equal.

Respect is also important in the context of D/s.  When I don’t feel like people respect me, I have no interest in dominating them, and any interactions we have in that context make me feel, at best, under-appreciated or misunderstood, and at worst, used.  When I lose my confidence, it is so hard for me to accept service, because it seems as if it is given from pity.

One of the things I have been trying to do over the past few years is to be more open with my emotions, which is difficult for me.  It’s easier to just keep people at arm’s length or shut them out.  But I recognize that even if it’s difficult, it’s a worthwhile venture to do so, so I’m trying to open up.

Letting people love me is difficult for me.  I’ll tell you why.  My friend E loves big dogs. But there are some breeds of large dogs that don’t live very long, due to health problems associated with their size, and E calls them “heartbreak dogs.”

It’s hard for me to let people love me because my life is variable and unpredictable.  I spent much of yesterday curled in a ball in bed, my abdomen hurting, having taken as many painkillers as I am allowed, wondering if I would have to go to the emergency room.  I couldn’t do the things I said I would do. I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do.  I’ve broken so many plans, called off so many things, that I feel like I’ll never stop playing catch up.  This leaves me with a huge amount of guilt. I know it’s not my fault, but, things pile up.  Never underestimate my ability to feel guilty over what I can’t control.

All of this has been building inside of me and I’m getting so overwhelmed by the things I can’t control that I don’t even want to control the things I can.  I don’t want to let Shadow serve me because he had to spend so much time taking care of me while I was sick and I don’t feel like service is something I deserve. It just feels like pity. I’m sure everyone is all just sick of it by now.  I know I am.

People tell me I’m strong, but I just don’t see that in myself anymore.  When I look in the mirror, the only thing I see is a heartbreak dog.

2 Responses to “Heartbreak Dog”

  1. But right now I feel lost. I lack the confidence to assert myself over my submissive, who wants so badly to serve me. This, in turn just makes me feel worse about myself. I’m not sure how to break this cycle.

    Years ago, when I was single, I had a sexful weekend with a poly-minded guy; the kind of guy who feels no jealousy at all, ever. That mindset was foreign to me, so I asked him lots of questions, trying to figure out how anyone could be so open. I remember asking “So, what if a girl you’re sleeping with – a girl you really, really like – is also sleeping with someone else, and you know she’s more attached to him and/or enjoys the sex with him more?” and he shrugged and said “As long as I still get to fuck her, what do I care?”

    Initially, his answer struck me as a little cold and self-serving. Then it struck me as cold, self-serving, and totally true: why should someone waste time worrying about stuff they can’t control? All that really matters is whether they’re getting what they want.

    Ever since then, I combat my own insecurities by reducing things down to the question: am I getting what I want? Which, if I were having a crisis of dominance, would look like this (in which my insecurities and I are talking to each other):

    “I can’t seem to assert myself with my sub, and this makes me feel like an unworthy dominant, and it’s turning into a whole vicious cycle.”
    “Okay, but…who cares if you’re an unworthy dominant?”
    “You are dominant, right? You like telling your partner what to do?”
    “Well, yeah, but…”
    “And you have someone who wants to be told what to do. So that works out perfectly!”
    “Yeah, but why? What does he see in me?”
    “Who the fuck cares? You want to tell him what to do and he wants to be told what to do. I see no problem here.”
    “But what if he secretly feels unfulfilled? What if I’m not dominant enough for him? What if-”
    “Irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what he feels or wants. You can’t control that stuff anyway. The important thing is: when you tell him what to do, does he do it to your satisfaction?”
    “Well, yeah.”
    “So there you go. Just focus on what you want. If you’re getting it, everything’s fine.”
    “Focus on my wants…yes. Okay. …I want a glass of orange juice. And I want to feel dominant. I’m gonna demand that my sub bring me orange juice.”
    “Now you’ve got the hang of it!”

    …And I’d ask for a glass orange juice, and my sub would of course bring it immediately, and I’d realize that, yeah, getting what I want really is the only thing that matters. And my confidence would return.

    I hope I’m making sense and that this helps you at least a little. :P

  2. Chris O'Sullivan says:

    Confidence is never constant and can grow weak with doubt. However, a lack of confidence is much better than too much confidence. Overconfidence leads to poor craftsmanship, arrogance and under-delivery.

    Authentic confidence that comes from practice and competence you only regain by practicing and increasing competence. Which means that when you feel the least confidence you must do the work to become better at what it is that you do.

    I do some of my best work while feeling out of my depth. I focus on how I want it to turn out and work out the steps to get there on the way.

    As perversecowgirl says:”So there you go. Just focus on what you want….”

    Does it matter if it’s sympathy or pity? Yes it does, but when I feel like shit I don’t trust my in the moment assessments, I trust the commitments and past observations I’ve decided are true until proven otherwise.

    Any altered state where you feel lessened is like being on drugs or drunk, you stick with the backup plans that you made while in a better place.

    That you don’t feel like you deserve service has an inhibiting effect on asking for service. Giving Shadow the opportunity to serve you will feed your confidence that he desires to serve you belying the pity mis-assessment. Accepting the service should recall your confidence, especially if you do it well.

    The thing about a heartbreak dog is that you love her knowing that it’s a heartbreak dog, you hold each moment as special and know that time is fleeting.

    People love heartbreak dogs more intensely. It’s not pity, it’s not even sympathy it’s just love.

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