Month: September 2018 (Page 2)

Here’s the thing: I really do see the value in letting Lion know how I feel. The problem is that I’m working against mumbly-two years of not letting people know how I feel. And another problem is that I’m never entirely sure if I’m overreacting.

Let’s deal with the second one first. Work has been very stressful lately. New coworkers, a new office, people are on vacation, people are stupid. Ok, maybe not stupid, but they’re not paying attention very closely and making stupid mistakes. My boss and I get hit with the brunt of those mistakes. One person’s oopsy may not be so hard to handle, but when fifteen people each have an oopsy (and they rarely have just one) it adds up quickly. So when Lion asked for something “right now” the other day, it came on the heals of ten oopsies and rubbed me the wrong way. Ordinarily I probably would have said, “Oopsy. I didn’t see your email in time to respond quicker” and things would have gone on as normal. Instead, I said the equivalent of “what kind of sh*t is right now?” because I was already at the end of my rope. In hindsight, Lion had no way of knowing how my day was going. I guess he can always assume that the stupid people are out in force, but some days I handle it better than others.

Not letting people know how I feel is probably a bigger problem. Some people don’t have an issue with getting what they want when they want it. They’ve learned to be assertive. I, on the other hand, will take the small piece, the burnt toast, the leftover whatever, and I’ll be glad I got that much. I guess that’s a result of being raised by depression-era parents and being an introvert. Sticking my neck out is a good way to get your head taken off.

I am trying though. When I really want Lion to have the bigger piece, I’ve been trying to tell him to take it. When I want him to watch whatever he wants on TV, I’ve been trying to tell him. He’s been having trouble understanding that I’m giving him the bigger piece or letting him choose the TV shows because that’s what I want and not because I don’t want confrontation. So much so that I wind up saying, “YOU TAKE THE BIGGER PIECE BECAUSE I SAID SO.” And then, of course, I feel bad because I raised my voice to him. Baby steps.

We’re in the midst of an evolutionary step in our disciplinary relationship. Mrs. Lion is holding me accountable for less tangible issues that bother her. Until now, my rules are very concrete and behavioral. She always eats first and I am not to spill food on my shirt are the prime examples of this. The new rules are much more subjective: I am not to act like a know-it-all is the first of these. I’m not to interrupt her. I must respect her time. I wrote about that one yesterday in my post. The changes are not limited to punishable offenses. She is also being more assertive in terms of having us do what she wants rather than going along with my preferences.

The pattern of these changes is very much the same as when we started with the easier, concrete rules. At first she observes and comments on infractions. Later, she follows up with punishment. The hardest part, I think, is consistently observing the infractions, and in Mrs. Lion’s case, acknowledging things that bother her. She wondered whether it was fair to punish me the first time she lets me know I’ve done something that upsets her. I posed that question in yesterday’s post.

I got an interesting response to this on Twitter. Adored Devoted Couple (the male member) wrote:

“Maîtresse treats these types of situations as trainings. So she still applies correction but it’s to confirm a new rule rather than punish for breaking an existing rule. We had similar situations occur, which led to the rule that I greet her at her car when she arrives home……& watch my tone always. It was surprising to me as we evolved discovering things that had irritated Maîtresse before but she hadn’t said anything. It was a big shift when she realized her irritation is all that’s necessary to trigger a new rule.”

I think this is exactly what is happening with us now. I asked how the “training” is different from actual offenses. Was the punishment different?

“In effect, there’s no difference. It’s just helpful for us to separate cases where I failed to live up to an agreed upon expectation vs I irritated her but in a way we hadn’t ever discussed. She does the “training” to express her irritation & set the tone for the new rule.”

I agree with this concept. When something new is noted, it earns the same punishment it will in the future. I know that Mrs. Lion is concerned that punishing me for something I didn’t know was an offense is unfair. In the absolute sense it is. But, since she is a reasonable person, the behavior that bothers her is probably something I should know is wrong without being told.

More importantly, even if it seems unfair to punish me for something without warning, doing so reinforces our power exchange. Observing without punishment will almost certainly make less of an imprint on both of us than punishing me the first time the behavior is observed. It’s not about fairness, at least at this point. It’s about both of us learning something new.

I think the point is that there should be a sequence of events that happens when something I do, or don’t do, bothers Mrs. Lion. First she notices it. Then she tells me how I offended and then follows that with a statement of the new rule, followed by punishment. The value of this pattern is that she doesn’t have to worry about remembering every single rule. Since I am punished every time she is annoyed, she doesn’t have to worry about whether or not she told me of the offense before.

It’s elegant in its simplicity. There is no need to remember if I had been warned. No reason to even remember it’s a rule. The statement of the rule exists to provide me with a guideline, not to give Mrs. Lion permission to punish me. If this seems cruel and arbitrary, it isn’t. The objective of all this is to teach me to modify my behavior. We’ve established that punishment severe enough to imprint the need to change in my mind is effective in educating me. Therefore, the sooner we begin this pattern, the sooner I will change.

The idea isn’t to complicate Mrs. Lion’s life with the need to remember an encyclopedia of rules. It’s to consistently observe things I do that annoy her and to promptly punish me for them. Rules are for me. They’re my roadmap to avoid painful spankings. They don’t limit Mrs. Lion by requiring her to define boundaries before acting.

I didn’t punish Lion last night. It’s true, he’s been annoying me more than usual lately. But then, everything has. It’s a combination of work and the unknown about the sleep study I did last night. Is he really being annoying or am I being overly sensitive? My best guess is that it’s half and half.

Of course, Lion doesn’t know he’s being annoying. He isn’t trying to be annoying. He doesn’t wake up and look for ways to piss me off. He’s just going about his day like everything is normal.

I’ve said for years that I can deal with either work or home being stressful. I can’t deal with both. Since work has been stressful lately, any little issue at home is magnified. That’s not fair to Lion. On the other hand, I need to let him know if there’s a problem, preferably not in a snarky way. If I just tell him that X annoyed me without assigning punishment to it then he can try not to let that happen again.

What if I’m being unreasonable? What if being upset at Lion for not hearing me come in the other night is over the top? I think he should have heard. Between my making noise and the dog making noise, he should have heard. But what if that’s an incorrect assumption? Last night he had his nose buried in his iPad, sitting right next to me, and I asked him a question that he never heard. He accuses me of not listening to him when I’m on my iPad. Usually I hear him but sometimes I don’t and he’s right next to me too.

So, I’ve got some work to do. I think I need to count to ten, or a hundred, to run the perceived problem through my head before I launch myself at Lion. When I can form a coherent thought I can have a conversation with Lion about it. Together we can decide if it’s a real issue.

Mrs. Lion told me that she is generally more annoyed at things. Those things include me. I wouldn’t say that my transgressions rise to a very high level, but they pissed her off. There have been two this week. She’s been torn between being unfair and wanting to send me a message. The incidents in question are in the first case, I wasn’t aware she had come home and needed my help. She didn’t call out to me but wondered why I wasn’t aware she was home. I was deep in configuring a laptop at the time.

The second case occurred yesterday. I needed some information to complete an insurance claim. I sent her an email asking her to update me right away. This upset her because she felt I expected her to stop what she was doing in order to help me. I was hoping she would do just that. The reason was that I had logged into my insurance site and hat all the data I needed except for one number. I didn’t realize she would be annoyed at my urgency. As it was, I figured out what the number could be and submitted it. I was off by a few dollars.

The events aren’t really the issue. The quandary for Mrs. Lion is when she should discipline me for essentially random events that annoy her. At the time, I felt that it would be unfair to punish me for what I did, or didn’t do. After all, there were mitigating factors each time. I now realize I was wrong. I should be more aware of how my actions might affect her.

It isn’t that I shouldn’t ask her to provide me with needed information. But I really should consider how my request might affect her. I believe I should have emailed her and asked if she had time to help me with the insurance claim before I began working on the insurance company’s site. I didn’t respect her time. I was too involved with mine.

In the other case, I still believe that wasn’t a punishable offense. If she had called me and I failed to come out to say hello and help her, then I would deserve toasted buns. But in this case, I had no idea there was any need for me to go to her. Normally, if I am in the bedroom or my office, she will stop by on her way to change into her around-the-house clothes. I expected that the other night.

I think that the net outcome gets me a spanking and gives her a reminder to let me know what she wants. I do deserve to be punished for expecting her to drop everything in order to help me with the claim. I was wrong and naughty. She’ll probably report on my punishment in her post later.

The fact that these events came up at all is evidence that 3.0 is here more and more. The first step in this sort of growth is to recognize when something is wrong and verbalize it. The next step is to ascribe fault. The third step is to take corrective action. In the case of me not coming out to help, the correction is, I think, to call me. In the second case, I believe that I deserve to be punished for failing to respect her time.

Both events  provide real learning. My learning is reinforced with a paddle. Hers by thinking about solutions rather than just feeling upset. Of course, 3.0 knows that.