We often confuse these two things: I WANT and I NEED. Although they may seem to be the same at first glance, there is a huge difference in the two. We want a lot of things in life; money, new cars, a beautiful home, success, and hot fudge sundaes, just to name a few. But how many of them do we really need? Very often the things we want are not always things that are the best for us and are usually self-indulgent wishes that change as fast as the top ten hits on VH1. “Needs” are a different situation. They are the fundamentals we require to remain mentally and physically healthy and allow us to grow spiritually and emotionally. I may really want a hot fudge sundae but survive quite well without it. But, I cannot thrive without my basic needs being met.
We’ve had many encounters with unhappy submissives who bemoan the fact their Dominant does not give them what they need. As we listen to the list of complaints, we sometimes find a lot of “wants” mixed in with a few valid “needs” in the charges against their Dominant. Sorting them out isn’t always easy for either the submissive or Dominant in a relationship. Each person is unique and comes with their own special requirements. Without a doubt, this is one area that requires communication skills and time before either party can confidently determine what they want or need from the other. The Submissive Owner’s Manual may help you to understand some of the complexities of the Dominant/submissive relationship.
Submissive Owner’s Manual
I need to feel safe
- Before I can begin to open my submissive nature to You, I need to feel safe and have reason to trust You. To let down my walls and give You control of my will may take time and testing before I feel safe enough to permit either of us to go beyond the initial stages of our relationship. Even after I’ve given myself to You fully, I need to be reminded I am safe with You. I may like to feel the thrill and excitement of fear and the unknown, but I need to be sure no matter how You stimulate those emotions during an intense scene or situation, I will remain safe in Your care.
I need to know You accept me for all I am
- I will be many things to You as our relationship grows and I need to know You accept me as a person during each transition along the way. I need to know You accept me as a friend, lover, companion, and Your submissive but also accept me as parent, child, employee, community member or other roles I fill in my obligations to family or society.
I need to have clearly defined limits
- I need to know exactly what You expect of me and know that You also understand my limits. In some ways I am like a child that needs a fence around my play area so I know how far I can go and feel secure inside those limits. I need You to reinforce those fences by correcting me when I try to climb them without Your approval.
I need You to be consistent
- I need to know You mean what You say and that today’s rules will apply to tomorrow’s behavior. Nothing confuses me more than giving me mixed signals by allowing me to break rules that You’ve given me. From time to time I may test You to see if You are capable of accepting control of my life by consistently bringing me back to the path You’ve chosen for me. It’s not done to try Your patience, but is my way of finding reassurance You are paying attention to my progress. Very often it’s not done consciously and I promise I’ll not use it as a method for provoking Your negative responses.
I need to expand my limits
- I need to grow and to be challenged. Left on my own, I’ll become bored or stagnate within the boundaries I accepted in the beginning. I need to be pushed, but never shoved, to go beyond the places I’ve been. I may drag my feet and pout at times, or sit down and refuse to move because I’m unsure and need Your guidance in overcoming my obstacles. I depend on You for strength and encouragement to get beyond them.
I need You to teach me
- I need to learn, and it is You who are my teacher. My mind is hungry for new things and learning helps me to become all that I can be. This may require You to continue to learn new things in order to keep me challenged. Together we can grow to the fullness of the gifts we have and deepen the diversity we share.
I need goals
- Part of my make-up as a submissive makes me very goal-oriented. I need them to measure my progress and need You to provide them for me. Take time to explain those goals in ways I can comprehend Your plans concerning my growth as Your submissive. Without Your direction, I quickly become lost so I’ll look to You frequently to provide a purpose and aim as I continue in my development as a submissive.
I need to be corrected
- I need You to correct me when I make mistakes. Without Your correction, I will develop bad habits that can be very difficult to break and do great damage to our relationship and to us as individuals. Without Your correction, I may never know I’ve made a mistake. Allowing me to continue unchecked will only cause me to fail both of us in the end. I admire firmness in Your correction and feel secure in knowing that You will never be afraid to take steps needed in keeping me focused on the goals You’ve set for me.
I need You to be my role-model
- I look up to You and try to follow in Your footsteps. If You fail to live up to a standard, I will follow You into failure, often without You noticing until it is too late. I learn quickly by the examples You provide for me and often base my reactions and behaviors on my observations of You in similar situations. I will blindly pattern myself in Your image, so be aware that my eyes will always be on You as You face Your own challenges and daily activities.
I need Your approval and reassurance
- I need to know when You approve of me or what I’ve done and to know I belong to You even if I fall short of my goals. I sometimes confuse approval with disapproval when You do not provide positive reinforcement when You are pleased by my actions. I will constantly be seeking Your approval when I’m unsure of myself and may need to rely deeply on Your support and reassurance when I’m confused about a situation or apprehensive about a new challenge.
I need to be able to express myself
- I have a need to express both good and bad things to You but it may be difficult for me to put the negative things into words. I fear Your rejection and hate disappointing You, so I may need a little space and time to voice all the things I need to say. You can help me by reassuring me that my feelings are valid, even if they aren’t something You find pleasure in hearing. There may be times when I’m upset or angry with You but without freedom to express those feelings, there can be only festering resentment or misunderstanding. Guide me in ways that I can learn to speak my heart without breaking it or Yours.
I need to learn from my mistakes
- I need to experience things that may be painful in order to learn successfully. I know Your protective nature will struggle with allowing me to be hurt but I need to learn the consequences of what I’ve done and to experience the feelings that go along with making mistakes. I will need Your comfort once I’ve faced my failure, but will sometimes feel unworthy of asking or unable to voice my disappointment in failing. Allow me to sort out my feelings before wiping away my tears.
I need forgiveness when I fail You
- Nothing hurts me more than to know I’ve failed or displeased You, and I need to be forgiven once I’ve made amends. It is very hard for me to forgive myself for a wrong-doing and I may need Your help in getting beyond the feelings of remorse I am carrying. I may even need to be punished, if my wrong-doing was traumatic enough, in order to feel closure and accept forgiveness. I depend on You to make that determination for me and need Your help in making an atonement that is acceptable to You.
I need to feel I contribute
- I have a deep-set need to give and must have outlets for this need. My basic nature is to give of myself and You will be the primary recipient of my gifts. Allow me to contribute to our relationship and our life together. To do less will leave me unfulfilled and unneeded, a fate worse than death for me. Provide me with ways to contribute things to others, also. I may need to give of myself to those I hold dear but You will always receive the best I have to offer.
I need to enjoy successes
- Without experiencing and enjoying my successes, I may give up my fight to be all You desire for me. Allow me the pleasure of savoring the taste of victory when I overcome an obstacle or if You find pride in my attempts. All of my successes belong to You and I need to share their rewards with You. I don’t expect You to spoil me with grand displays for little victories, but when I’ve reached beyond the limits of my past attempts, please don’t deny me the sweet feelings of knowing I've achieved a goal You've set.
I need to share with You
- Sharing with You is a compelling need and one of the cornerstones of my submissive nature. This includes the emotional and spiritual aspects of my being as well as the physical body I inhabit. It may be difficult for me to give You access to the deeper levels of my emotions and feelings, but those are the things I need to share the most. I’ll depend on You to direct me in ways I can achieve total openness with You. I also need to share in the things You are. Trust me enough to share in Your fears, failures and struggles. I’ll never see You as weak or incapable because You have shown confidence in me by giving part of Yourself in trust.
I need to feel loved, respected, and protected in Your ownership
- No matter how well I’ve done or how miserably I’ve failed, I need to know I’m still loved and protected by You. Nothing will prevent me from trying new things like fear of losing Your respect and love. By the reverse, nothing will encourage me to expand my limits and grow to be all I am capable of being more than knowing You will be there to protect me from harm and will love me even if I fall short of the target. I need to be loved and to love You in return. I can’t survive without it.