The Brat Sub - Problem or Symptom?
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
How many times have we heard it? Someone either calling a submissive a brat or a submissive calling him or herself a brat. But what does
"bratty sub" really mean and is it necessarily a bad thing?
Submissives who think bratty is okay appear to think of it as
a way of showing their playful personality or asserting their
individuality. Certainly many submissives tend toward a bit of cheekiness,
which is not quite the same as brattiness (not all dominants agree with this
statement, so be careful in your cheekiness!). Sometimes the constraints
of service and discipline can tend to flatten a submissive's personality to some
extent. A bit of cheekiness can be a way of expressing
individuality. The line I draw between cheekiness and brattiness is the
line where respect is lost and cheekiness becomes a form of defiance.
Cheekiness is usually dropped the second a dominant shows annoyance.
Brattiness continues past this line. A little cheekiness in a submissive
can be cute. Brattiness is simply embarrassing and annoying for the
Submissives are attention sluts. All of us. I sometimes think dominants completely miss the boat on this. Dominants can get so wrapped up in the warm fuzzies from getting all that wonderful attention from their submissive that they fail to realise that most submissives are there to get the same amount of attention back! Yes, I hate to burst the dominant bubble but most submissives arenít in a
D/s relationship to give unstintingly and unendingly to someone else with little
or no reward. They actually want and expect to get back at least a large portion of the attention they give.
As a dominant, think about that great blow job you got where she spent an hour or more
stroking you, caressing you, teasing you with lips and tongue and you just laid back and sank into the wonderful
sensations. At some point your submissive is probably expecting some lengthy interaction with you where your submissive is the complete focus of your attention, to even things out. It may or may not be sexual but it will be on par with the attention youíve received.
A funny thing happens when dominants are happy or content. They often tend to turn their attention
elsewhere, away from the person creating that contentment. This can be most annoying to their submissive.
For example, the submissive has just spent the last several hours spit polishing Mistressí boots only to have Mistress say, "Iíve been watching that boy over there. I think Iíll go see if he will play with me". At this point
the submissive has several options. The submissive can simply say "Yes, Maíam" and fade into the background to nurse his or her own needs and hope Mistress will still have time and attention for her own submissive later. The submissive can crawl to the Mistressí feet and beg for play for his or herself. Or the submissive can enter brat mode and start to misbehave. Now if the Mistress cares at all about bratty behaviour, she knows she will have to deal with this right now. And the sub is suddenly the focus of all Mistressí attention. Okay, itís negative attention but itís still attention!
So, what can dominants and submissives do about brattiness?
Finding and implementing a solution can actually be more challenging for the dominant than the submissive.
If asked, most dominants would quickly respond that yes, of course they want
bratty behaviour to change. Who wants a bratty sub? But to change brattiness in any permanent way, the dynamics of the relationship must change. Punishment alone will not change brattiness. Neither will ignoring brattiness be effective if this is overused as a tool. Brattiness
is generally a symptom of a problem rather than a problem in and of itself. The underlying reasons
for bratty behaviour need to be dealt with and addressed.
Brattiness is often a submissives way of saying something is wrong in the relationship dynamic. Few submissives want to be bratty (I canít think of any I personally know, actually). If the relationship has been unequal for a long period of time, sometimes submissives will say they donít care any more. This is a time for a dominant to take note. Something is seriously wrong here. If you really are dedicated to eradicating brattiness from your relationship, perhaps itís time to stop and communicate on a deeper level. Find out what is triggering the bratty episodes. Put in place solutions that work for the submissive as well as the dominant. Remove the need for the brattiness in the first place and you may be surprised at what a well behaved, devoted submissive you have in your care, eager to do your bidding.
In my opening statement I asked the question, is brattiness
necessarily a bad thing? Bratty behaviour can be used as an indicator of
the emotional health of a D/s relationship. In this context it can be seen
by the dominant as a sign that he or she needs to open communication with the
submissive. So while brattiness may not be a "good" thing, it
can be viewed as a valuable relationship indicator for the serious dominant.