Category Archives: psychiatric diagnosis

Narcissism, BPD, Bipolar, Mastery and Slavery

“and the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder came up. These include “has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations””.

This quote is from a well thought out post by Tanos on Entitlement, posted in his weblog and linked from the ownership wiki on The Slave Register

I lived with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Looking back on it he had a somewhat D/s relationship with his lover, who had obvious Borderline traits. However there was no sense of mastery in his actions, attitudes, etc., merely entitlement without responsibility. Looking at my own behaviour I do, of course, act entitled, while at the same time discouraging such acting in my slaves. But I have a sense of responsibility and a dedication to them and their lives that is simply lacking from the purview of someone with NPD. I will and do take risks, including the risk of simply being an overt Master in a country where human ownership, consensual or not, is simply illegal. And that is a minor one given all the things in our lives.

A couple in our local scene are an obvious NPD/BPD couple, and the two tend to go together. While he seems to take reasonable care of his charge I feel a sense of creeping unease in their presence. Although emmie and mitda (and I myself) have all been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 it doesn’t seem to have any direct bearing on our M/s relationship. Obviously my moods and theirs impact the day to day functioning of that relationship but I can’t say I see an overall tendency that runs from BP symptomology to M/s dealings.


On a day when …

… my back is killing me, I’m working from home and not getting much accomplished … the girls are out at the doctor/drug store/market … and wev else, I’m thinking about the issue of Mentally Interesting persons involved in D/s type relationships.

I had someone (a submissive) yesterday telling me why their husband couldn’t dominate them them (whisper: he is bipolar). Ahem. So am I. In discussing it with her, though, it came out that he also has BPD. This is a very different matter as BPD’s have emotional and not just mood issues. Let me clarify a bit as to what I mean by this.

Mood is defined by a philosopher of note to me as the self-disclosure of the current “how” of one’s being. This is as much as to say, that when one asks how one “is”, i.e. the question about the how of one’s being, one is really asking about mood. Which is, in fact, pretty accurate. Emotions are different than moods from the get-go, because we have emotions in reaction to things, events, people, that are in-the-world.

Someone with emotional issues, then, is reactive to the world (and to him/herself) in a problematic way. This is not good for a Dominant. In terms of dominating someone one first has to be in control of one’s reactions, and to a greater degree than most, because one’s own actions and those of one’s submissives will both tend to push one’s buttons, assuming one has buttons to push.

There can be issues with having a bipolar Master, to be sure, such as inconsistency in different moods, and a tendency to be extreme and to expect extremes from one’s submissives. But these issues can be dealt with, particularly if the submissives involved know mood extremes themselves and have similar tendencies. BPD is problematic, though, and I would expect that a BPD would have to have explored themselves to a very high degree, and probably in specific form have had very successful dialectical therapy, before one would wish to submit to their overly reactive personalities.


On a day when …

… my back is killing me, I’m working from home and not getting much accomplished … the girls are out at the doctor/drug store/market … and wev else, I’m thinking about the issue of Mentally Interesting persons involved in D/s type relationships.

I had someone (a submissive) yesterday telling me why their husband couldn’t dominate them them (whisper: he is bipolar). Ahem. So am I. In discussing it with her, though, it came out that he also has BPD. This is a very different matter as BPD’s have emotional and not just mood issues. Let me clarify a bit as to what I mean by this.

Mood is defined by a philosopher of note to me as the self-disclosure of the current “how” of one’s being. This is as much as to say, that when one asks how one “is”, i.e. the question about the how of one’s being, one is really asking about mood. Which is, in fact, pretty accurate. Emotions are different than moods from the get-go, because we have emotions in reaction to things, events, people, that are in-the-world.

Someone with emotional issues, then, is reactive to the world (and to him/herself) in a problematic way. This is not good for a Dominant. In terms of dominating someone one first has to be in control of one’s reactions, and to a greater degree than most, because one’s own actions and those of one’s submissives will both tend to push one’s buttons, assuming one has buttons to push.

There can be issues with having a bipolar Master, to be sure, such as inconsistency in different moods, and a tendency to be extreme and to expect extremes from one’s submissives. But these issues can be dealt with, particularly if the submissives involved know mood extremes themselves and have similar tendencies. BPD is problematic, though, and I would expect that a BPD would have to have explored themselves to a very high degree, and probably in specific form have had very successful dialectical therapy, before one would wish to submit to their overly reactive personalities.


Nature vs Nurture (sic)

Jubal just had to raise the spectre of the nature vs nurture argument viz BDSM in his post.  Now you should know Jubal and I have very different intellectual backgrounds and very different ideas about most things.  Luckily it creates a healthy, fun argumentative situation and not a nasty type of thing.

In this particular case Jubal states very definitively that all BDSM is a learned thing.  I’m assuming that by “all BDSM” Jubal intends to include M/s and D/s as well as the more playful types of BDSM that interest him more at the moment.  Now I don’t fall, this time, on the complete opposite side of his argument.  With just basic knowledge of information theory it seems unlikely that the number of bits required to produce the quantity of memes in a developed human brain could be found in the human genome pool.  At the same time evolutionary psychology has a foothold in demonstrability in the identical twins raised apart studies, which show striking and sometimes unbelievable correlations between the developed behavioural patterns of people with shared genes and different development histories.

Of course neither IT or EP are really close to my own background and methodology for analysing a question, but in order to satisfy Jubal that I am paying some attention to Science and not all my attention to Philosophy I mention them, and what I feel they do bring to the argument.

So what does phenomenology have to say about the situation?  Since here we are discussing psychology in a broad sense, without agreeing with the DSM-IV that these things are deviant in the sense of being a psychiatric issue, I will bring in the most phenomenological of the psychological schools, Daseinsanalysis.

 Daseinsanalysis prescribes a phenomenological approach of paying attention to the things themselves, and not immediately subsuming the concrete phenomena under a already available set of abstractions, such as specific development theories (Freud) or specific meaning theories (Jung).

The phenomenon of personal domination, in my history, is one where it was something I simply did.  It was only later that I realized how much I exerted control in my early relationships, without being overt or, really, honest about it, even with myself.  Partly due to my ex’s being a dominatrix, but mostly due to mitda’s need for submission and the immediate way I responded to it, I became open to the idea of being dominant in a thoughtful, proactive sense.  And this has continued since, as we’ve developed from playing at BDSM to entering a TPE triad, myself, mitda and emmie.  So the practice of domination is something I have definitely learned, but it seems to have been learned from a strong pre-existing tendency. 

This feeling I have seen talked about on the BDSM boards when the question comes up by dominants and submissives alike, who can trace their immediate responsiveness to BDSM situations, whether real or portrayed, as far back into their childhood as they can remember.  And while I am sure there are people into BDSM that can trace their interest back to specific events, such as childhood abuse or trauma, when asked on the boards it doesn’t seem to have that strong a correlation for most of the participants.

I am asking mitda and emmie to put in their opinions as to how they experience and first experienced the submissive traits they have developed.  How much came in the development and how much (if any) do you feel was a priori present?  My own feeling about M/s, at least, as a subset of BDSM, is that it is learned, but learned out of strong pre-existing traits.  That I happen to share my dominant traits with my mother (who I am similar to in many ways) shows a possibility of a genetic connection also, but since my parents raised me, it being developmentally acquired from her is not out of the question.


Nature vs Nurture (sic)

Jubal just had to raise the spectre of the nature vs nurture argument viz BDSM in his post.  Now you should know Jubal and I have very different intellectual backgrounds and very different ideas about most things.  Luckily it creates a healthy, fun argumentative situation and not a nasty type of thing.

In this particular case Jubal states very definitively that all BDSM is a learned thing.  I’m assuming that by “all BDSM” Jubal intends to include M/s and D/s as well as the more playful types of BDSM that interest him more at the moment.  Now I don’t fall, this time, on the complete opposite side of his argument.  With just basic knowledge of information theory it seems unlikely that the number of bits required to produce the quantity of memes in a developed human brain could be found in the human genome pool.  At the same time evolutionary psychology has a foothold in demonstrability in the identical twins raised apart studies, which show striking and sometimes unbelievable correlations between the developed behavioural patterns of people with shared genes and different development histories.

Of course neither IT or EP are really close to my own background and methodology for analysing a question, but in order to satisfy Jubal that I am paying some attention to Science and not all my attention to Philosophy I mention them, and what I feel they do bring to the argument.

So what does phenomenology have to say about the situation?  Since here we are discussing psychology in a broad sense, without agreeing with the DSM-IV that these things are deviant in the sense of being a psychiatric issue, I will bring in the most phenomenological of the psychological schools, Daseinsanalysis.

 Daseinsanalysis prescribes a phenomenological approach of paying attention to the things themselves, and not immediately subsuming the concrete phenomena under a already available set of abstractions, such as specific development theories (Freud) or specific meaning theories (Jung).

The phenomenon of personal domination, in my history, is one where it was something I simply did.  It was only later that I realized how much I exerted control in my early relationships, without being overt or, really, honest about it, even with myself.  Partly due to my ex’s being a dominatrix, but mostly due to mitda’s need for submission and the immediate way I responded to it, I became open to the idea of being dominant in a thoughtful, proactive sense.  And this has continued since, as we’ve developed from playing at BDSM to entering a TPE triad, myself, mitda and emmie.  So the practice of domination is something I have definitely learned, but it seems to have been learned from a strong pre-existing tendency. 

This feeling I have seen talked about on the BDSM boards when the question comes up by dominants and submissives alike, who can trace their immediate responsiveness to BDSM situations, whether real or portrayed, as far back into their childhood as they can remember.  And while I am sure there are people into BDSM that can trace their interest back to specific events, such as childhood abuse or trauma, when asked on the boards it doesn’t seem to have that strong a correlation for most of the participants.

I am asking mitda and emmie to put in their opinions as to how they experience and first experienced the submissive traits they have developed.  How much came in the development and how much (if any) do you feel was a priori present?  My own feeling about M/s, at least, as a subset of BDSM, is that it is learned, but learned out of strong pre-existing traits.  That I happen to share my dominant traits with my mother (who I am similar to in many ways) shows a possibility of a genetic connection also, but since my parents raised me, it being developmentally acquired from her is not out of the question.


What a strange world of work

I work in an odd situation, for most people, in that I don’t stay very long with companies. I don’t work permanently, I work contracts. This is partly due to my nature – but mostly due to the nature of my job. Since I work as a software architect/developer, I’m in need of new projects on a consistent basis, but most companies don’t start new projects all the time in IT, so they don’t keep architects and developers on-staff, they hire contractors. Of course most of you probably know someone in IT, so you know this. But this is not the oddest thing by any means at the moment.

I am working a contract right now with a large, rather well known computer hardware OEM and services company, in their services division. They do, unlike many of my former clients, write software on an ongoing basis, but they hired me contract to write a market trial, which is close to starting.

Now emmie and mitda are not the most subtle slaves in the bdsm world, they both wear collars in virtually all situations, mitda wears cuffs most of the time, and they make no bones about the fact that they are my wife and girlfriend, which is noticeable even to those who don’t know what collars and cuffs indicate. They have been around my work enough times that the people on my project, other than the ones who are absolutely clueless, know what the situation is at my household.

Well, surprise, noone seems to take much offense. In fact one of the members of my very small team turned out to be a TPE/IE Master with a live in slave. We went together to the recent GWNN conference (group with no name – a local bdsm group).

And this is what this meandering post is finally getting to. My colleague is very much a dom. He is ex military, very much into controlling himself and his surroundings, and confident in his ability to do so. He and I get along extremely well. However there is another member of the team who doesn’t share that attribute of easy going self confidence. He tends to be at turns blustery or sulky, or tries to be easygoing with a rather undeveloped sense of humour that can be either quaint or irritating, depending upon one’s mood. Because this fellow, although also a contractor, has been with the client for a good long period of time, while my other colleague and I joined for this project only, he is generally the lead on one of the main aspects of the product development.

Suffice it to say I openly have issues with him. And vice versa. But that isn’t the story here either. He, let’s refer to him as “J”, has major issues with my other colleague “B”. And vice versa there too. So here we go to a little vignette.

The project has been an extremely rushed affair. This is not that unusual in software development, and is part of the reason we were hired. There simply wasn’t the turnaround time to reallocate permanent employees to the project, so contractors were brought in. However as a result normal process methods have been somewhat lax as we rushed past checkpoints and approval items to simply get something done and working. Now B is the requirements engineer for the project, and as we move precariously closer to QA he has become more and more aware that there are major differences between the product we have in hand and any requirements documentation that may have existed for the project. As a result, and mainly with other business-side members in view, he sent out an email, strongly worded as is his style, asking that from this point on any changes be vetted through him. After all this is his job. And he wants to get these changes, however minor, documented so that QA can perform their jobs. If they don’t know what the current program is meant to do, it becomes a worthless task to test it. But the wording of the email put our friend J’s back out of joint. And in response he went into bluster mode, came over to where B and I sit, and began yelling. It’s not a big office and almost right away the entire project team was at B’s desk getting involved in the “discussion”.

B responded pretty calmly, repeated a couple of times “J., you need to calm down”. Eventually this advice did reasonably sink in and the crowd dispersed. However B. wasn’t happy with the situation. Once most people had disappeared for the day he took J. aside and to a meeting room. And proceeded to “rip him a new one” as it were for his unprofessionalism and poor behaviour. J. became extremely upset, to the point of tears, and told B. that he had an anger management problem. B. was nonplussed, telling J. that if he couldn’t control his a. m. problem at work, he simply shouldn’t be working.

Why have I wasted your time with this rather long vignette as part of an even longer post? Because it illustrates well, along with another comment J. had made as one of his rather quaint jokes, shortly after I had met him, something I started to talk about in a post earlier on this blog regarding bdsm and abuse. J. had said to me and others in the group when asked about his weekend “after you marry, one night when you’re fast asleep, your wife rips your spine out and you don’t make a decision after that”.

I’m not implying J. is into spousal abuse. I wouldn’t know and wouldn’t want to know. But with an anger management problem such as he has it wouldn’t be unthinkable. At least many actual wife abusers have anger management problems, that much would be accepted, I think, by most authorities on the subject. Yet it is B., who doesn’t comprehend or accept lack of self control even when caused by such a problem, that is into bdsm Mastery, and keeps a live in slave to that end. I have no doubt either that B. can be quite sadistic with his consensual partner. But he is not an anger management class candidate nor is he a danger to his partner, while J., whose comment on his wife spoke (non-bdsm style) submission, that is a real danger when it comes to spousal abuse.

Does this mean that Dominants are never spouse abusers and submissives are? No. Does it mean that most spousal abusers are not vanilla? No. But it does show the difference I had been trying to express between a Dominant and an abuser. Abuse comes from lack of control, over the self, over others. And this lack is what makes abusers pick helpless targets. A Dominant first chooses someone who wants to be dominated, and someone who is worth dominating. If for any reason you find out that your next door neighbour whose kids are on your kids’ basketball team and whose wife runs the PTA is secretly into bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sado-masochism, remember that it doesn’t mean anyone there is in danger, physically or psychologically. It may be the nervous churchgoer across the street that is hurting his wife and marring his kids, in a way that is permanent and difficult to reverse.


What a strange world of work

I work in an odd situation, for most people, in that I don’t stay very long with companies. I don’t work permanently, I work contracts. This is partly due to my nature – but mostly due to the nature of my job. Since I work as a software architect/developer, I’m in need of new projects on a consistent basis, but most companies don’t start new projects all the time in IT, so they don’t keep architects and developers on-staff, they hire contractors. Of course most of you probably know someone in IT, so you know this. But this is not the oddest thing by any means at the moment.

I am working a contract right now with a large, rather well known computer hardware OEM and services company, in their services division. They do, unlike many of my former clients, write software on an ongoing basis, but they hired me contract to write a market trial, which is close to starting.

Now emmie and mitda are not the most subtle slaves in the bdsm world, they both wear collars in virtually all situations, mitda wears cuffs most of the time, and they make no bones about the fact that they are my wife and girlfriend, which is noticeable even to those who don’t know what collars and cuffs indicate. They have been around my work enough times that the people on my project, other than the ones who are absolutely clueless, know what the situation is at my household.

Well, surprise, noone seems to take much offense. In fact one of the members of my very small team turned out to be a TPE/IE Master with a live in slave. We went together to the recent GWNN conference (group with no name – a local bdsm group).

And this is what this meandering post is finally getting to. My colleague is very much a dom. He is ex military, very much into controlling himself and his surroundings, and confident in his ability to do so. He and I get along extremely well. However there is another member of the team who doesn’t share that attribute of easy going self confidence. He tends to be at turns blustery or sulky, or tries to be easygoing with a rather undeveloped sense of humour that can be either quaint or irritating, depending upon one’s mood. Because this fellow, although also a contractor, has been with the client for a good long period of time, while my other colleague and I joined for this project only, he is generally the lead on one of the main aspects of the product development.

Suffice it to say I openly have issues with him. And vice versa. But that isn’t the story here either. He, let’s refer to him as “J”, has major issues with my other colleague “B”. And vice versa there too. So here we go to a little vignette.

The project has been an extremely rushed affair. This is not that unusual in software development, and is part of the reason we were hired. There simply wasn’t the turnaround time to reallocate permanent employees to the project, so contractors were brought in. However as a result normal process methods have been somewhat lax as we rushed past checkpoints and approval items to simply get something done and working. Now B is the requirements engineer for the project, and as we move precariously closer to QA he has become more and more aware that there are major differences between the product we have in hand and any requirements documentation that may have existed for the project. As a result, and mainly with other business-side members in view, he sent out an email, strongly worded as is his style, asking that from this point on any changes be vetted through him. After all this is his job. And he wants to get these changes, however minor, documented so that QA can perform their jobs. If they don’t know what the current program is meant to do, it becomes a worthless task to test it. But the wording of the email put our friend J’s back out of joint. And in response he went into bluster mode, came over to where B and I sit, and began yelling. It’s not a big office and almost right away the entire project team was at B’s desk getting involved in the “discussion”.

B responded pretty calmly, repeated a couple of times “J., you need to calm down”. Eventually this advice did reasonably sink in and the crowd dispersed. However B. wasn’t happy with the situation. Once most people had disappeared for the day he took J. aside and to a meeting room. And proceeded to “rip him a new one” as it were for his unprofessionalism and poor behaviour. J. became extremely upset, to the point of tears, and told B. that he had an anger management problem. B. was nonplussed, telling J. that if he couldn’t control his a. m. problem at work, he simply shouldn’t be working.

Why have I wasted your time with this rather long vignette as part of an even longer post? Because it illustrates well, along with another comment J. had made as one of his rather quaint jokes, shortly after I had met him, something I started to talk about in a post earlier on this blog regarding bdsm and abuse. J. had said to me and others in the group when asked about his weekend “after you marry, one night when you’re fast asleep, your wife rips your spine out and you don’t make a decision after that”.

I’m not implying J. is into spousal abuse. I wouldn’t know and wouldn’t want to know. But with an anger management problem such as he has it wouldn’t be unthinkable. At least many actual wife abusers have anger management problems, that much would be accepted, I think, by most authorities on the subject. Yet it is B., who doesn’t comprehend or accept lack of self control even when caused by such a problem, that is into bdsm Mastery, and keeps a live in slave to that end. I have no doubt either that B. can be quite sadistic with his consensual partner. But he is not an anger management class candidate nor is he a danger to his partner, while J., whose comment on his wife spoke (non-bdsm style) submission, that is a real danger when it comes to spousal abuse.

Does this mean that Dominants are never spouse abusers and submissives are? No. Does it mean that most spousal abusers are not vanilla? No. But it does show the difference I had been trying to express between a Dominant and an abuser. Abuse comes from lack of control, over the self, over others. And this lack is what makes abusers pick helpless targets. A Dominant first chooses someone who wants to be dominated, and someone who is worth dominating. If for any reason you find out that your next door neighbour whose kids are on your kids’ basketball team and whose wife runs the PTA is secretly into bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sado-masochism, remember that it doesn’t mean anyone there is in danger, physically or psychologically. It may be the nervous churchgoer across the street that is hurting his wife and marring his kids, in a way that is permanent and difficult to reverse.


A Blah Tuesday

Last week, after many years of avoiding psychiatry, emelina was diagnosed with a number of complaints (no, sexual deviancy wasn’t among them).  Aside from the shock of actually dealing with a diagnosis, she has been dealing with the side effects of the medication she was put on and hasn’t managed a day of work since, although she has tried going into work twice now. 

Family income isn’t really a big issue at the moment.  We can survive off my income and E’s income quite nicely.  It would be great if emelina can get disability but nobody’s really getting their hopes up on that, we know too much about the SSA and their methods of avoiding awarding disability, especially to psych. patients.

So not the fun type of day we had on Sunday, although we started off the morning with some good group morning sex.  I decided to work from home after realizing I needed to learn some things about my current project code base and didn’t want to do that learning in front of my colleagues.

mitda and emelina should be back shortly from the misadventure at work.  I suppose we’ll discuss what can be done to either help her get back to functioning or deal with her being at home with mitda.


A Blah Tuesday

Last week, after many years of avoiding psychiatry, emelina was diagnosed with a number of complaints (no, sexual deviancy wasn’t among them).  Aside from the shock of actually dealing with a diagnosis, she has been dealing with the side effects of the medication she was put on and hasn’t managed a day of work since, although she has tried going into work twice now. 

Family income isn’t really a big issue at the moment.  We can survive off my income and E’s income quite nicely.  It would be great if emelina can get disability but nobody’s really getting their hopes up on that, we know too much about the SSA and their methods of avoiding awarding disability, especially to psych. patients.

So not the fun type of day we had on Sunday, although we started off the morning with some good group morning sex.  I decided to work from home after realizing I needed to learn some things about my current project code base and didn’t want to do that learning in front of my colleagues.

mitda and emelina should be back shortly from the misadventure at work.  I suppose we’ll discuss what can be done to either help her get back to functioning or deal with her being at home with mitda.