515. Thoughts on “broken” subs

Over the past few weeks, and especially the past few days, I have had some recent discussions about submission and a recurring theme has continued to pop up: the idea of “broken” subs.  Over the course of these discussions I found myself committing many words to paper that had only existed in my head up until now.

The basic theme that lies at the crux of the matter is that there are some subs that can “go deeper,” be pushed harder, and overall, are the types that would flourish in an extreme/strict 24/7 D/s relationship.  In many cases, these subs are, for lack of a better term, broken.

By contrast, the unbroken subs are those who have a firm grasp of limits, know what should/shouldn’t be done to them, and are aware of when they are being treated badly or unfairly or if their needs aren’t being met.

I’m not going to say one type of submission is better than the other.  If anything, I think the unbroken type of submission is probably a lot more emotionally healthy.  With that in mind, I don’t really think it is important which route people go with as long as they know what they are getting into, can handle it, and end up fulfilled.

I wanted to write about this because for the most part, there isn’t a lot written about this.

The other day on my fiction blog, I had a comment exchange in which I was asked what I meant by broken.  I believe that a person is broken when they have lost their inherent sense of self-worth.

Most people I have known carry with them a sense that they, as an individual matter and are important, just as all individuals are important in their own right.  They have the right to be happy, pursue their goals, flourish, and react against anyone that would try to stifle their happiness and/or violate their basic human rights.  They know, without a doubt, that they deserve a good and happy life.  When someone feels this way, I classify them as unbroken.

When someone is broken, they see the world through a different lens.  I have known a number of broken people over the years, myself included, and while we all are unique in our own ways, there are a handful of things that we tend to share in common.  For the broken, that sense of worth, belief that they matter, and idea that they deserve happiness were at some point, wiped away, often through a period of repeated and intense cruelty, negligence, or abuse.  When this happens during formative years, it is easy to wither away.  You learn that the easiest way to make the pain stop is to rigidly adhere to expectations (realistic or not).  You learn that being themselves is bad and will lead to harshness, pain, and unhappiness.  Before long, life becomes a system of being who someone told you to be.  Before long, it’s easy to hate who you really are.

When broken, it’s hard to have ambition.  You spend so long following a path that was determined for you, that you don’t even know what you would want.  While it’s possible to find small goals and past-times, it’s hard to find fulfillment within yourself.  Your self has been denied for so long that it cannot sustain you.  You need external validation guiding you to the “right” path.  People’s stories may vary.  This example is just one of many possibilities.

I find that broken people are the subs that dwell in the darkness.  I have come to learn that there are dominants/sadists that dwell within the darkness, too.  When these two types come together, they are a good fit.  It’s strange because I have also found that people of each type believes the other to be a fantasy creature that doesn’t exist.

Most of this belief is fueled by failure to find the other type.

An amusing scenario to envision:

Domme: I want to chain you to the wall in my basement.  You will never have freedom or see the sun for the rest of your misery-filled life.

unbroken sub: Umm, no.  Get away from me you psycho!

On the other side:

Domme: I want to chain you to the wall in my basement.  You will never have freedom or see the sun for the rest of your misery-filled life.

broken sub: You mean you want to keep me for the rest of my life?  That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

A broken sub is the type that would do anything and endure anything in order to prove they are “worth” keeping.  They are the ones that crave rules and restrictions because it makes expectations for their behavior perfectly clear.  They are the ones that need punishments for their failures or they will beat themselves up into a negative spiral.  They need validation and will do whatever it takes to receive it.

Broken subs become alluring to dark dominants because they are resilient.  You can break them without worry because they are already broken.  You can’t push them too hard or too far; bring them to tears and they will thank you for the attention and effort.  Toss them a few crumbs of affection and they will devote themselves absolutely to you.  Throw them a curve ball and they will adapt.

Curiously, which side of the equation is more rare is in the eye of the beholder.  I have long felt that there are more broken subs than Dommes seeking broken subs.  I have also been told by Dommes seeking a broken sub are unable to find one even though they desperately want to.

Another question I was asked is if a sub has to be broken in order to flourish in a dark 24/7 D/s relationship.  This one I’m not sure of.  I think it is possible for one that is unbroken to thrive, as long as they have deep desires that match up with the dominant’s deep desires and that the dynamics of the relationship keep them planted deeply in their submissive mental space.  I think this gets a lot more complicated if the dominant’s desires and sub’s desires do not match up, putting the sub in a position to frequently and repeatedly experience things they do not want.  If they aren’t kept in space, I believe this would often lead to resentment and eventual refusal.

From another view, I think it is possible to break someone that is previously unbroken.  However, I do not know if it is possible for this to happen consensually.  In all honesty, I don’t think it is possible for someone to know that they will be okay with being broken if it actually happens.  The mind may wish for it, but being changed to your core is something that is unpredictable at best and highly volatile and dangerous at worst.

In every case that I have encountered, those who are broken did not ask to be broken.

I think from the outside looking in, it is difficult for unbroken people to understand how different the core processes of thoughts and feelings pertaining to the self are in broken subs.  I believe this revolves around the sense of self.  When someone asks, “how do they put up with that?” that is their self asking.  “I would not tolerate being treated that way.”  This view is indicative of someone that is clinging to their sense of self.

I have found with the broken, they can easily give up their sense of self.  In many cases, they WANT to give away their sense of self.  In my own case, it resonates something like:

“Nothing that I am is of any worth except for how it provides value to others.  Direct me, use me, and exploit all that I am because then what I do will provide you value, and in turn, it gives me value.”

It is ways like these where a broken sub can adapt to, thrive in, and find fulfillment within a lifestyle full of restrictions.  The “self” doesn’t have to be stifled because the sub has already mastered the ability to stifle it themselves.

I don’t really have a point with this post, I just wanted to talk about it and bring it into the light of day because it isn’t something that really gets talked about very often.

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47 thoughts on “515. Thoughts on “broken” subs

  1. Interesting and thought provoking….. do you think it’s possible to have elements of both? There are periods of my life when I was absolutely broken, these days I’m more unbroken but I still occasionally visit the “dark place”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, SwG. I do think it is possible to have elements of both, but I believe that one of the two is probably your “default state” at a given time. I believe that it is possible to heal from being broken, but that healing can also be undone. I believe if people struggle with depression or anxiety, that it is also possible to shift to feeling broken during the down cycles.

      I don’t really have a super-developed philosophy about all of this but I’m finding it is a viable concept to think/write about. That probably means I will write about this 3-5 times before being able to nail down all of the details.

      Take care.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Dear Fur, when reading this, I see your description of an unbroken sub and I recognise myself. I was not aware about this before reading it. As usual, unusually insightful.

        s.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to hear more about the dark Domme’s please. As always love you astound me with your vast knowledge. I must seem like a sycophant sometimes but you give me the most sapiosexual hard-ons. And then to also feel so deeply know….deeply understood…..is surreal and sublimely beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, PG. That makes me smile. I’m not sure if it is easier to write about dark Dommes in its own post or not. Over the years, I have maybe encountered 5-10 of them (that I know of). Most of them were the “early awakening” types that I have written about. Most of them have had fantasies that were so dark that they are afraid to share them with others for fear of scaring them away. Most have at some point worried that they were monsters before finding a way to balance things morally in such a way to keep them from doing any real harm.

      If I had to give an indicator of how it reflects in their dominance, they tend to have less need for specific types of kink activities. That is, they personalize their dominance style to each sub, being drawn to whatever will yield the strongest response from the sub.

      How this differs is that often you will find dominants who have a favorite cane or favorite paddle, etc. that they want to use on every sub they do things with. A dark Domme will be seeking tears, sounds, or psychological responses and want to use whatever toys will get that response from a specific sub.

      On the other side of things, using the example from the post, if a sub were to approach a Domme and say, “I want you to chain me to the wall in your basement, never to have freedom or see the sun for the rest of my life,” many Dommes would want to get away from this sub or chew them out for having an unreasonable fantasy. A dark Domme is more likely to respond with something like, “Tell me more…”

      I hope this helps.

      Take care.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Brilliant! Thank you. It answers some questions but begets more for me as well. I’ll keep it as a reference. You are such a BDSM encyclopedia of knowledge. 💋🙏🏽💖

          Liked by 1 person

  3. First of all, good to see you posting again.

    This is a great exploration and I do get what you mean by broken and unbroken subs. It’s a rather interesting concept for some broad definitions.

    I’ll touch on the question of can an unbroken sub become broken and can it be consensual ?

    By the definition here I am an unbroken sub. I’ve discussed on my blog and with my domme, that my ego is happy with the concept of being a sub but would entirely reject being a slave. In some ways that’s analogous to the unbroken/broken usage. I can become quite pedantic about such definitions, so I won’t bore by side-tracking here. Suffice to say that my ego sees being a slave (broken) as a loss of free will.

    I have been broken, very early on in my D/s experiences. So I know it’s possible and as I look back across many years I know that it was barely consensual to start with and definitely not by the end of the 3 to 4 weeks she did a number on me.

    You might say she did the Army boot camp treatment. Break the recruit and build him back up.

    It’s a tantalising question as to whether my ego recovered or asserted itself on it’s own or was re-wired to do so by her subsequently building me back up into the type of sub she wanted ?

    With hindsight I’m certain that in being very new to the reality of D/s at the time, she could have just as easily conditioned me to being permanently broken and I could not have done anything about it. Once falling down that well of darkness it only stops if someone hauls you out. It would not have been consensual, though once conditioned I would have been convinced it was.

    From that time I acquired a lot of the dark thoughts and desires you mention and it’s taken a very long time to filter what’s feasible for who I am now.

    Where I am now my ego will be unwilling to follow the path to being broken and will resist consenting to any such activity. However, having once experienced being broken I know what it might take. I will never consent to it, but someone determine to break me could eventually do it and destroy the person I am now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing, Melody.

      I really enjoy hearing about how things went and have changed for you.

      I strongly agree what you have said about “falling down that well of darkness.” It seems that the Dommes I have had all preferred to push me deeper rather than lift me out. I’m sure this falls partly on me as the broken me is what drew them to me in the first place.

      This statement goes a long ways in answering the “can i be consensual” question: ” It would not have been consensual, though once conditioned I would have been convinced it was.”

      I do enjoy the way that you know yourself.

      Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks furcissy.

        I did have one additional thought as to how an unbroken sub might willingly become a broken one. My only conclusion is that to do so would mean they have become broken in their normal life and see the attractions of being a broken sub as completing the death of the unbroken ego. One might argue that they’d be in no frame of mind for the consent to be valid, but that’s a different discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you, Melody.

          I will have to give that some more thought. The original question about consent was brought to me by a Domme, so I have been evaluating it through the eyes of someone needing “permission” to be okay with completely destroying a sub’s ego.

          Based upon discussions I have had with them, I already know that the “not knowing what they are really getting into” and “improper frame of mind when giving consent” situations are not enough for them to feel safe doing it.

          Take care.

          Like

  4. Great piece!

    Your perspective is good on this. I’ve been the broken sub with a dark Dom. It wasn’t good for me. I’d done too much work on myself to stay in a relationship like that. It hurt rather than fulfilled. It took a long time for me to leave this dynamic because I was afraid I’d be unloved forever and unwanted…and it was very familiar!

    My little side emerged over time and it’s there that I found a good D/s dynamic for myself. Broken Dom and broken sub coming together to fill the need of caretaker and cared for with a healthy dose of kink. Rules, stability, tolerance of my shenanigans… even enjoyment, a doting Daddy who cuddles me and adores me. It may not be any healthier than the dark D/s, but it meets my needs in a way that fulfills me totally.

    I don’t see either as being better or worse so long as both parties are getting what they want and need. I’d never really thought about the broken sub in this particular way. Thank you! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jodie.

      The nurturing forms of dominance can go a long ways in healing a damaged psyche. If people have a way out of the broken state, I usually recommend that they take it.

      With that in mind, I do know there are broken subs out there that can find ways to thrive in an extreme situation as well, but it definitely isn’t a healthy equilibrium for many.

      Take care

      Like

  5. This is a really thought provoking post. I used to think I was broken, especially when I didn’t know for many many years what it was I was continually suffering from. The problem with that thought process, for me at least, was that I was continually trying to fix ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ was.

    Until I received validation that it was not about what was wrong with me and everything about what had happened to me, and what had not happened for me, that it changed my perception from broken and unfixable to hurt and healing. That I had and have completely normal and valid reactions and responses to completely abnormal circumstances that deeply injured my sense of worth and ability to self soothe.

    I wonder if there’s something there in validation and acceptance, and in the support systems, D/s or otherwise, to find the strength and resilience within to push past broken as an identity, despite still returning to those father places when they falter. Thank you for sharing 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The dark dominants I have known were not broken. I have met a couple that were broken and the emergence of their dominance was sort of… the way that they healed beyond the damage and became unbroken.

        Like

    1. Thank you for sharing, kis.

      I do think that continuous validation, acceptance, and support systems are a large part of healing. I think it is fortunate when people find others in their lives willing to help with that process.

      In my own case, I was never in a position to receive the validation or acceptance. I ended up lonely and rejected and it wasn’t until I entered the realm of D/s that I received any kind of acceptance. In my case, this was continual reinforcement that my broken is good and that my willingness to abandon everything about myself to serve someone else was what made me stand out the most. I’m actually scared to heal.

      Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry that was your experience but glad that you found acceptance in D/s and peace with broken parts. I understand how scary it is to take steps to heal. You take care too furcissy x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am a “dark Domme.” I love ripping open. I want fear and trembling and all the most vulnerable bits of the psyche. My fantasies are cruel and inventive and far-reaching.

        And I have a plan for you. I intend to rip away from you the thing that you hold closest, in the very core of your heart and your identity: I plan to take away your brokenness. That’s not what you expected when you crafted a philosophy that you were “willingness to abandon everything about [yourself],” but oh well; befriending me was a different sort of dangerous than you anticipated.

        Maybe I “shouldn’t” exist. Maybe I “wasn’t supposed to” come into your life. Maybe you wish I’d leave you alone. But you can’t claim nobody has tried to save you. Not when my fingers are bloody stumps from dragging you out of the well millimeter by millimeter.

        I don’t know if I’ll be granted the time to make it happen, but I have a plan for you. I just hope someday you can value yourself even a fraction as much as the people whose lives you have touched value you.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I was delighted to see you post again fur! Of course it is a wonderfully enlightening and had me thinking of my response all day.

    I began D/s as a broken sub and I had a dark Dom. We were not a good match. It took a very kind and patient Dom to help me heal and I am now unbroken. I know what I need/want and what I will not tolerate. As a Domme, pet is broken as well. He would do anything I asked of him, no matter the result. He has many of the characteristics you listed so I know he would agree. I choose not to exploit him as he has been trying so hard to grow and heal from prior relationships.
    I do have those dark fantasies but I fear that they would push him too far. So I write about them instead. I don’t see broken as a bad thing, some thrive in it. I just know for me I could not. It is still to be determined with pet where he will end up, broken or not our connection is amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, J. Lynn, and thank you for sharing as well.

      If you continue to nurture him in that way, he will likely heal beyond the damage and I’m sure he would be grateful to you for it.

      Do you ever wish you could explore the darkness on the dominant side if you knew you could do it safely?

      Take care.

      Like

      1. I would really like to explore the darkness with him. I know right now neither of us are ready for it, but good things come to those who wait right? The darkness won’t ever fade completely for me and he does see it from time to time which I think has him intrigued.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Odd. This comment went into my spam for some reason.

          From my experiences, for broken subs (who are okay with being broken), seeing hints of the darkness within a Domme lures them like a moth to flame. Also, from the Dommes I have known, the darkness does never really fade and if it is fed, it tends to grow at a rather fearsome rate.

          I’m sorry that I haven’t been keeping up enough on your blog, this last down swing for me had me not reading any blogs. Hopefully that will change now.

          Take care.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I’ve had that happen too, pretty sure WP does what it wants lol.
          I have been feeding mine through stories. I haven’t quite decided where I’m going with the next one as it only has one part written, but it is drawing from a carnal desire.
          Please don’t apologize, life can hand us some pretty intense things. I’m just happy to see you around when you can be. ☺️

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Thank you, J. Lynn. I will try to dig them up unless you have some links to ones that you think are best.

          I have been mulling over starting another story but I haven’t been able to finalize the character enough to run simulations from their head. I should probably get back to that 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Thank you, J. Lynn. I will give that a read this evening while I am winding down.

          I do hope to get somewhere with the new character soon. I will probably have to have discussions about it with people I know as it is quite a ways outside of my wheel house when it comes to personal experiences. The focal character will be a Domme that thrives in the darkness.

          Take care.

          Liked by 1 person

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