Up
Belief
Bratty Sub
Discipline
EI
Needs
Gentle Domination
Gorean
Leather
Pain
Problems
Ritual
Structure
Words

 

 

The Brat Sub - Problem or Symptom?

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

~Albert Einstein

 

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?

Brat can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Most people who label themselves as bratty see it as an endearing or positive quality. Most dominants who label a sub bratty see it as a much less endearing quality. Why does one see it as cute and the other as frustrating? And even more importantly, why ARE subs bratty?

What

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 dominant.

I have seen brattiness in most of itís forms from mildly annoying behavior to full blown, in your face, defiance. In my book, in all itís forms, brattiness is a way of getting attention.

Now this may seem obvious to many or one may argue that defiance is not a way of getting attention. Of course it is. Itís a negative way but it is still a valid way of getting attention. Yes, I said valid. I didnít say it was a GOOD way. But it works. Thatís why subs use it. Thatís why itís valid.

Why

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.

D/s is not a one way street. Submissives come into it and stay in it because we crave the attention a dominant can give us. There is nothing like it. It is addictive. It seduces us like a drug. When denied too long the craving eats at us. We NEED it. We will beg, we will crawl, we will give blow jobs for a month. And we will be the biggest brats in the world if necessary. Anything, to get that attention. 

When

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!

Donít get me wrong. I am not advocating this behaviour. At its best itís a cute little behaviour that Master adores and encourages in small ways. At its worst it can destroy a D/s relationship and leave both parties feeling acrimonious toward each other.

How

So, what can dominants and submissives do about brattiness?

First, each must make a decision whether they actually want the behaviour to change. Submissives sometimes enter into new relationships having learned bratty behaviour in a previous one.  It worked then and they assume it will work now.  Unless they are given a good reason for changing their behaviour, they may not want to.  Without that desire on both sides, any solutions are most likely to fail. 

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.

Few submissives start out as bratty. Brattiness is more often a learned behaviour. Submissives learn it because it is effective in getting their needs met. If you are a dominant who has a bratty submissive try asking yourself these questions:

Was your submissive bratty when you first started a D/s relationship together?
If not, when did your submissive first start to show signs of brattiness?
If yes, did you find it endearing at the time and subtly encourage it?
Under what circumstances does your submissive become bratty?
What tools, if any, do you use to control brattiness?
Do these tools actually provide the submissive any kind of reward (attention, pain play, etc) for bratty behaviour?
Have you ever asked your submissive in a serious manner if they WANT to be a bratty sub and listened closely to the answer?
Have you ever asked your submissive what might help him or her to NOT be bratty or why they are being bratty in the first place?
Do you ensure your submissives needs are met to the same level as your own?
Do you stay aware and conscious of your submissives needs and desires to the same level that you expect your submissive to stay conscious of your own needs and desires?

Conclusion

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.