Sunday, November 11, 2012
Communication, at times, between Professor and I has been an underlying issue; and yes, I will admit this is a problem that I am responsible for, not him. I will sometimes answer questions by asking questions, or provide only enough information to irritate him making him have to ask for elaboration, and of course the most recurrent is my attempting to protect him by prioritizing what information I give him in an effort to not waste his time and or patience. It is an issue we both are aware of and working to improve.
Today though, part of our communication really upset me. And because I am analytical and a thinker who needs to understand all the "why"s in the world, now even hours later I am not "over it." If anything, I'm probably even more upset by it. Here is the excerpt from our conversation via instant messenger tonight:
Professor: "For a nurse, you don't know human nature that well. No way an asshole lawyer shuts up."
Me: "Thanks......love you too smartass."
Professor: "Do not talk to me like that."
Professor: "One more and I am done talking with you."
Had I been talking to probably anyone else, this would have been the point in the conversation where I got obstinate and dug my heels in, turning it into an argument, I'm sure. Probably saying something like, "what the hell is wrong with you?" or "I was only joking, stop being so serious." Those responses, however, are nothing I would ever consider saying to Professor. I respect him far too much to talk back to him; and the one time I did it, punishment aside, I sincerely did regret it. He has earned my respect and deserves to be shown it in every interaction.
Not only was my verbal response different with him than it would have been with anyone else, my emotional response was markedly different as well. I would have been angry or irritated had the conversation been with anyone else. But it wasn't anyone else; it was Professor and it upset me.....a lot. I despise text conversations for reasons like this; without a vocal component, it is difficult to read the 'tone' and intent of a statement. What I had said, to me, was slightly sassy and meant jokingly. What I had said, to him, crossed a line. It is a fine line that we walk, Professor and I, between discipline and friendship. Most often having one strengthens the other; but at times that line becomes a bit blurry and I seem to fall over it every time.
To me, as soon as Professor replied with the "do not talk to me like that", I knew he had taken it as disrespectful and my immediate response is to apologize. It was his next statement that really upset me. "One more and I am done talking with you." Reading that immediately upset me and as we continued our conversation, I did so with tears slowly rolling down my cheek. From that statement on, I was on auto-pilot, choosing to engage only in a 'safe' and submissive mode. "Yes Sir." "No Sir." "May I" Etc. I shut up and simply followed his lead in any further discussion; refusing to mention or discuss anything I had on the agenda and only replying respectfully to what things he chose to discuss.
Statements like that are far from a "norm" in our relationship. Professor does not leave me to guess his mood or reactions to my behavior, he has no problem letting me know when I have displeased him. We don't play guessing games. Similarly, we don't use the silent game or ignore one another. When I am out of line, he will certainly put me back in my place, and I can expect to be punished, but silence is not often on the table. Honestly, tonight was the first and only time he has said this to me via text. And only once via phone has he said he would ignore me. And again, only once in person, has he left. My reaction to the threat was the same each time. It *really* upset me.
Both the time by phone and the once in person were due to my deliberate disobedience, putting myself in danger behind his back and against his mandate resulting in defiance.......and as much as I *hated* it, I knew I probably deserved it. Thankfully, he did not ignore me and when he left, he came back when he sensed in my voice that I needed him.
But tonight, I suppose it might have bothered me even more because I truly didn't feel that I deserved the reaction that I got. It was crystal clear to me in both prior incidents that I really *did* deserve it; but tonight, I was just confused. I hadn't thought my statement was overtly disrespectful and as soon as I realized that he had taken it that way, I immediately apologized. It isn't as if I had said it multiple times or made any other questionable statement that he had mentioned or warned me about. I just didn't understand; still don't.
Why does this upset me so much? I have never thought that I had any sort of abandonment fears, but gauging solely by how this has upset me, perhaps I do.
I only got more upset when I asked him if he was angry, and he answered with a "yes." I am accustomed to specific reactions from Professor for my behaviors. I know I displease him, at times I frustrate him, test his patience, unfortunately at times I also disappoint him.....but I seldom anger him. I have said many times on this blog, Professor is one of the most measured and mild-tempered men I have ever met. His responses are always precise, well thought out and calculated. He has virtually no temper, and speaking from personal experience, it takes A LOT to ignite that temper.......I learned that lesson and can guarantee there will be no repeats. It worried me tonight that he was angry at me; again, I just didn't understand.
I apologized twice during the remainder of our chat, neither was even acknowledged. Again, that just upset me even more.....I didn't understand.
Maybe it was simply the lack of tone and intent in text rather than by voice. Maybe it was because we were discussing a serious topic. I had been upset, but I didn't think I was taking it out on Professor. I had actually tried really hard to make sure my own emotional turmoil did *not* impact the conversation or the way in which I spoke to him. I have, in the past, been upset by an outside circumstance and transferred that into lashing out at those closest to me, Professor being top of that list as he is close to the only person I *really* talk to about things that are emotionally charged subjects for me. I had thought, prior to this exchange, that I had done a good job at keeping my emotions and attitude in check while speaking to Professor.
It is difficult at times; days like today it feels damn near impossible. I respect Professor tremendously and value his opinion is most every aspect of my life. I often ask for his advice, have him pre-screen important correspondence in my career, solicit his take on my recent parenting dilemmas. But because I trust him and because I respect him and because I feel so close to him, I share everything with him.......and when it is a volatile topic, I vent to him. Therein lies the issue; it is *extremely* difficult to keep my guard up when I am venting.
My relationship with Professor is not one of equality. He is authority and I am not. There is a dominant side of him, and a submissive side of me. As he has patiently tried to teach me regarding other authority figures (my boss, police, etc), I also have to keep my guard up when I am interacting with him. I have completely dropped my guard a handful of times in conversation with Professor which resulted in my attitude or sass crossing the line into disrespect, my cursing far too frequently, my answering Professor less than obediently......and yes, I have been punished for this happening, and now do it *far* less than I had in the beginning of our relationship.
Tonight I was emotionally involved in the topic of conversation and honestly quite upset. Add to that, today being Veteran's Day, I should have stayed in bed this morning. Feeling this all internally, I honestly didn't think that I had allowed it to transfer into my conversation with Professor. Re-reading the IM chat log even now, I can't find a questionable comment aside from the one "smartass." Of course, if Professor took that or anything else I said as disrespectful, I expect him to bring it to my attention or give me a warning that I am on thin ice. I have really come to love the fact that my Disciplinarian does not and will not coddle me or sugar coat thing for me. He says what he means and means what he says. That sort of consistency is actually really nice. So, of course if the "smartass" upset him, I would want him to say so.
I don't believe I have ever intentionally been disrespectful to him just for the sake of doing it. That is not to say that I haven't been disrespectful, because I have been, but not ever in an intentional or spiteful manner. Anytime Professor has even mentioned disrespect in my language, attitude or behavior.......I apologize......immediately. I can not tell you a man I have more respect for. His warning, "do not talk to me like that", was heeded and it didn't bother me.
"One more and I am done talking with you." That is what upset me.......really, really upset me. I had immediately apologized and simply didn't feel the threat was necessary. Again, as soon as he said it, I flipped the switch into 'auto-pilot.' Meaning that even if I didn't understand or agree, I was certainly not going to question him as to why he chose to say it. There have been punishments that I haven't 'liked' but I can say I have honestly always agreed with his decisions. There have been statements he has made, such as telling me that since I chose to play with trust by omitting then I had to earn that trust back, that I haven't 'liked' because they weren't what I wanted to hear.......but I have always agreed that they are what I *needed* to hear. But tonight, this situation, I didn't agree and I didn't understand. But having his confirmation that he was angry at me, I wasn't about to question him and anger him further. So, instead, I 'auto-piloted' my way safely through the balance of the chat, as I cried trying to understand.
As I respect Professor, I also trust him. That includes me relinquishing control to and trusting him to act in my best interest. It also, at times, requires unquestioned obedience. I can not tell you how badly I wanted to call and beg him to come back to me at our last session, but I simply couldn't. My need to please him, my craving of his approval, meant that I would submit, without question to any punishment he felt I deserved, even if it felt crushing to me to know he had left.
Maybe on some level it is an insecurity, or again, maybe it is an irrational abandonment fear. Perhaps not so irrational, since I have lost people with whom I was closest. Perhaps it bothered me so much tonight because I was already emotionally upset. Maybe it simply brought back that panic of him leaving me alone at my last punishment. I don't know why, I only know that even now, 4 hours later, I am really upset.
To me, personally, regardless of the underlying cause, there is no threat greater than silence. Many of my spanko and sub girlfriends will list off all sorts of punishments, implements, etc that they consider the "worst punishment"........for me, it is withdraw. Ignoring me is a withdraw of contact and it would be extremely difficult for me to submit to, not as if I would have any choice in the matter, but I would struggle with it. Similarly, if Professor simply threw his hands in the air and said something like, "Fine, do whatever the hell you want, I don't care".......it would crush me.......withdraw of his control would by far be the worst thing he could do to me. I am not certain he ever would do this, but the thought alone scares me. The threat of him ignoring me, scares me......and it isn't a sharp-stabbing pain of fear......it is a heavy, achy hurt sort of fear. I believe I used the single word, "Broken", to describe how I felt during my last punishment session when I realized that Professor had left me.......it is an extremely accurate description. I am a masochist, but that is a pain that I can hardly process.
I often use my blog as sort of a personal journal.....well personal but shared with milions via the internet. I write here when I am upset or confused, I write here when I feel completely content and anchored.......I simply write and can later reference those posts that apply to certain circumstances or situations. Maybe this is just one of those posts. I have written, I have cried, I have worried, I have thought, I have tried to analyze........but as I end this post, I still have no answers, I still don't know the "why?", and I'm still scared, confused and upset over that one statement.......and because I trust Professor, I am certain it was warranted, which only makes me angry at myself for making it necessary.
I suppose both my Disciplinarian and I will go to sleep tonight being angry at me.