Is Withdrawl Fair Punishment for a Slave?

Kitcat said:

"My online Master had forbid me from talking with him on IRC for 48 hours. But the need to be with him was so strong that I used an Internet acct he did not know about to create a secret identity with which I spoke to him. He found out and was devastated. He says I committed the one unforgivable sin. He said he should have released me right than and there but instead has forbidden me to contact him to July 1st. No msg on IRC, no phone calls, I can not join a channel he is on and if he joins one I am on I must leave and if he tells me to get off line I must obey. I think the punishment is too harsh. It was the separation for 48 hrs that caused me to deceive him. I have given him my soul and my will but a whole month away from him and I am afraid the deep commitment will not be able to stand that amount of time. Is this a fair punishment?"

When you answer short messages like this, you always take a risk of grossly misunderstanding the situation, because so few details are presented. Often, people will give advice or opinions in a situation like this, and then the person they are writing to (or the person being written about) will chime in with, "But wait. This and this and this and THIS happened, too." And this makes you want to growl, "So why did you conveniently leave all of these important details that cast a completely new light on the situation out of your first message?"

But if you want to offer an opinion, your choices are limited: you can take what has been said at face value, assuming that it accurately and completely represents the situation, or you can ask questions that attempt to draw out what you suspect are the unspoken details. Best of all, you can do a little of both.

Kitcat, I'll voice my opinion below based on the limited information in your message. Although I obviously don't have all the facts, I think what I am going to say is nonetheless accurate, because I have seen so many other subs besides you in an identical situation. What you have described is not new. What your "master" is doing is a very common behavior among men or women only playing at being dominants. I'll explain more below, but first a question.

When your master found out you had assumed a secret identity and were using it to converse with him, he said you had committed "the one unforgivable sin." What was this one sin? To disobey his orders by contacting him online? Or to deceive him by pretending to be someone else?

If it was the former, if your disobedience was the "one unforgivable sin," I would like to start by questioning what sort of unrealistic person would think such a thing "unforgivable" in the first place. People are not perfect. People not brought up from childhood to be submissive are not going to be near-perfect slaves right off the bat. This takes lots of time (years, usually) and training. And what does training a slave consist of? Many things, but of most relevance here is dealing with disobedience: teaching her, "encouraging" her, instructing her in how not to disobey. How can your master deal with your disobedience when he has withdrawn from you? The answer is, he can't. He's avoiding the problem. He's running away from it. My master does not say that disobedience is the "one unforgivable sin." What he does say is that "intentional disobedience is the one thing he will not tolerate from me." The difference between these two sayings is that when I disobey, my master acts immediately and directly to correct the problem: he does what he needs to (sometimes with a talk, sometimes with punishment) to lessen the likelihood that I will disobey in the future. He doesn't, as in the case of an "unforgivable" act, throw in the towel and give up on me. If he were to do that, instead of having a devoted slave for over seven years, he would have had a series of relationships, none of which lasted longer than a week.

If it was the latter, then I would like you to consider the following: someone with nothing to hide from you would not have been so shocked and upset by your pretense, because that person would have the self-confidence simply to be himself around you, no matter who you seemed to be. (I assume this guy is shocked and upset, because his punishment of you really is an extreme overreaction to what you did.) Someone who is interested in keeping something from you (like perhaps another online relationship or perhaps a way of relating that is much more vanilla than what you are used to seeing?) might very well consider your pretense "the most unforgivable sin" because in doing this, you very well could have found out his deep dark secret. This is speculation and may not be true in your situation, but it has been my experience with all sorts of people that those who have something to hide from you will get the angriest when they find out you've observed them without their knowledge. If this speculation of mine turns out to be true, it's worth asking yourself if you want to be the submissive of someone who keeps these sorts of secrets from you.

As I said above, the experience you have described is quite common. It is similar to that of many a sub whose partner is a person playing with dominance, who isn't really a dominant but likes to associate the role with himself and who hasn't actually the slightest idea of how to dominate a person. Withdrawing from one's submissive to punish her is a passive-aggressive manipulation (I mean, what could be more passive than withdrawal?) worthy of the most vanilla of men. It is not something an actual dominant ever does. Why? The answer to this is obvious to an actual dominant (or a submissive like me who has a pretty good grasp of dominance through observing it for years from the other side) and completely opaque to a person simply roleplaying at dominance. A person with a dominant sexuality is so because he likes to control others. He gets sexual kicks and deep emotional satisfactions from doing that. I would think, therefore, that only an extremely vanilla man would "punish" a sub (an outward act of control) by putting himself in a situation where he has no control over her at all--because he has no contact with her.

I would also suspect that only someone who hasn't the slightest idea of what to do with his submissive would see withdrawing (i.e.; not doing anything with her) as a good punishment. If he is a fake dom, it's possible he may have run out of ways to impress you with his dominance and is "buying time" with this withdrawal act. I've known many vanilla men who pretend to be dominants who do exactly this. The pressures and difficulties of constantly pretending to be something they are not (to themselves as well as to you) is something they need relief from, a vacation away from. They see withdrawing from their subs, under the guise of punishing them, as an attractive solution to this problem. Someone who is naturally dominant, someone who is not pretending, does not need any such "time off" from his persona, as it's not a persona for him--it's who he actually is.

There's another thing to consider here about this withdrawal business. An experienced dominant (or even an inexperienced dominant who's willing to be himself and act on his gut feelings or common sense) is going to realize that in order to have the absolute sort of control he wants to have over a submissive, he needs to develop within her an equally absolute emotional trust in him. The submissive needs to know that she can rely on him, count on him, in all matters, big and small. Almost nothing, short of out-and-out lying or constantly breaking one's word to a sub, will erode that trust more quickly than the sort of withdrawal game your master is playing with you. How can you ever learn to rely on him if he's not going to be there for you whenever he feels the need to punish you (or escape from you)? How can you ever begin to trust such a person with your body, your soul, your life? The answer is, you can't. What if something terrible happens to you tomorrow, something unexpected in your life, like if a relative dies or you are badly hurt in a car accident, or you get thrown in jail? Or maybe it's something less serious, like a malicious net person threatening to out you where you work. Or, hell, what if you're just feeling unbearably lonely and abandoned, so bad that you feel your love for him is dying? No matter what's going on with you, you are not permitted to contact your master, you cannot ask for his advice or his assistance with any of this. Not only would this be callous, inhumane treatment in any sort of budding relationship, but in D&S terms it means you're on your own. You're not being controlled. Believe me, the last thing a real dominant wants his sub to feel is no control from him.

It's almost as if your dominant thinks that this withdrawing from you is some sort of test of your slave mettle, of your ability to obey him. A very inexperienced person soaked to the gills with all the bad literature and information there is out there about power-exchange relationships would certainly see it that way. In fact, this idea is something right out of a Gor novel. How often when you read these books do you see a kajira who is banished from her master's sight into a little cell or cage for weeks or months, to wait for his approval to return? In the fantasies, the slavegirl always emerges from the tiny cell chastised, with muscles so stiffened and cramped she can barely walk, covered with festering sores from whipmarks that have been rubbed in her own manure (naturally, they don't clean the tiny cells of disobedient kajiras on Gor--if they die from infection, well, it's their own fault for disobeying in the first place), and, of course, more in love with her master than ever before. In real life power-exchange relationships, where you're dealing with real people with real emotions and not one-dimensional cartoon characters in a novel who act in the ways that would be most pleasing to the reader, a slavegirl who is abandoned in this way not only loses heart but loses her ability to trust the bastard who instead of running her, runs from her. Most importantly, she loses faith in his ability to make the relationship work.

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