Fear and Guilt

18 Jun

In all the excitement of my life, i missed the Special Interest Groups discussion yesterday.  i realized it was the third Sunday about half an hour too late to go to the discussion.

Greedy girl that i am, i really wanted to do that too.  Visit my grandbaby, help Sir get moved, AND go to the discussions all in one lovely Sunday.  But it was really just too late.  Even if i drove really fast.

Sigh…  and it was on one of my favorite topics:  Fear and Guilt.

Here are the questions, from the Fetlife Event Page:

How do guilt and fear fit into D/s relationships?
• When are guilt and fear unhealthy and harmful, when are they good?
• Is it ethical to use guilt and fear within relationships and if so, how and when?
• What good benefits might guilt and fear bring?
• Is guilt more pervasive in one orientation than another?
• Does guilt serve a useful purpose?
• Are there ways to use guilt effectively and ethically to manage behavior?
• What, if anything, do you feel guilty about your own desires in terms of S&M and D/s relationships?
• Which do you find to be more crippling, guilt or fear?
• What’s the first thing you remember feeling guilty about in terms of S&M and D/s desires?
• Do you believe that we as a community allow fear and guilt to dictate our actions? How valid is that fear and guilt in the larger sense?
• How do you feel guilt can be handled within a spiritual or religious framework?
• What’s the biggest fear you have about your own orientation?
• What do you think is the biggest fear other orientations have?
• Is it ethical to use fear in scenes?
• Is fear always something that should be overcome?
• Are there instances you can think of wherein guilt or fear made an otherwise good relationship unworkable?

Lots of questions…  Ms. Constance always looks at Jackie, who leads the submissives’ discussion,and says, “And you know, you don’t have to answer all the questions.”  Which is a good thing, cause we usually don’t.

  • When are guilt and fear unhealthy and harmful, when are they good?
• What good benefits might guilt and fear bring?
• Does guilt serve a useful purpose?   Is fear always something that should be overcome?

So i’m going to talk about these four questions, cause in my mind, they go together.  My answer would have been:

Fear and guilt are feelings, so of course they serve a purpose.  Guilt lets us know that we’ve done something wrong, and maybe that we need to make amends.  Fear is our alarm system ~ it lets us know when we sense danger or a threat of some kind.  

Feelings aren’t good or bad.  They just are.

The trick is to sort out when feelings are fact based and when they’re strictly emotional mind, or a false alarm.  Just because you feel something, doesn’t make it true.

So i can feel guilty as ~ guilty as sin ~ but that doesn’t necessarily mean i’ve done something wrong.  i can feel tremendous fear, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that i’m in real danger.

It does mean i need to pay attention, right?

Feelings motivate behavior.  So if i’m afraid of spiders, and that motivates me to jump on a chair when i see one, there’s probably a safety reason built into that.  From the safety of a chair, i can assess whether it’s a poisonous spider, and how best to get rid of it.

But if i have to stay up on the chair the rest of the day, and i can’t sleep that night, or the next night, because i’m afraid there will be more spiders, fear is no longer serving a purpose.

On the other hand, if i’m afraid of jumping off a cliff, that’s probably not a fear i need to overcome.  Yes, the divers in Mexico do it, but i probably don’t need to face and challenge that fear.  That would be a real danger for me.

Same thing with guilt.  When we’ve done something wrong, guilt sends us that message.  It motivates us to try to remedy the wrong.

But lots of times, we carry around other people’s values and feel guilty about not doing what other people think we should do.

For real, guilt needs to be about our own values, and being true to what we believe in.  “Healthy” guilt goes away once we’ve made amends as best we can for whatever we did wrong.

In the lifestyle, of course, fear takes on new meaning.  Riding a roller coaster stimulates all the physical indicators of fear ~ but many people love doing it.

In the same way, BDSM takes us to the dark, scary places of the psyche ~ and many of us thrive on that.   And here it gets more complex.

Rope suspension can be an adrenaline rush like a roller coaster.  But so is confessing you like to be spanked.  Having to say it.

There’s no real danger in either situation, at least neither one will kill you, but facing and overcoming some of the fears associated with it can be powerful.

Gotta go now – gotta be at work early, time to shower and get on with the day.  What do youall think about guilt and fear?

8 Responses to “Fear and Guilt”

  1. yesthankyousir June 18, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    I want to have a great comment, but it takes me a while to formulate these things and i won’t have time later. I agree with emotions having no polarity (ex: good and bad). We are trained.from.very early to assume: guilt, shame, stress, fear, sadness are “bad” emotions. We should avoid them. When they are just another part of the human condition.

    Yes, fear as an alert system, great example of dealing with the spider(constructive) or changing your.routine.to.avoid.it.(so.destructive) if we change we are making that fear a tangible part of our lives. Something that will just continue to reinjure us.

    Guilt, and I have an unhealthy relationship at the moment. We are seeking help 😉


    • aisha June 21, 2012 at 5:54 am #

      Hi, Andi,

      i appreciate your comment ~ um, it could be considered a great comment! i’m glad you’re working on your relationship with guilt!


  2. sin June 18, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    I guess I’m curious about where this one goes, and like yesthankyousir I don’t really have time this morning, but will come back and peek later.

    • aisha June 21, 2012 at 5:55 am #

      Hey Sin,

      And so, as we know, it went nowhere, til you came back and poked a little more life into it ~ thanks!


  3. sin June 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    hmm, I came back to read and … discover that perhaps it was too complicated for any of us. So… I’ll start. I think guilt is a rotten motivator. I think it’s bad from sub to Dom, bad from Dom to sub. It’s just a rotten motivator in life. I feel really strongly about it. I hate hate HATE when people try to make me feel guilty. And I try not to do it myself. But… not always successfully. So, does guilt motivate me? I don’t think so. Although… yeah, maybe sometimes.


    • aisha June 21, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      Hi, again, Sin,

      i agree ~ i think “motivating” someone else with guilt is not so helpful. But they say that we’re hard-wired to feel guilt, that’s it’s one of the emotions we’re born with. So maybe the problem comes from who’s imposing the guilt?

      I don’t know. i don’t like guilt, but when i try to imagine people who don’t feel guilt, that doesn’t seem like such a great idea either….

      Interesting to think about though. Thanks for putting your thoughts here.


  4. mouse June 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Fear and guilt are powerful things…learning to let go of the negative parts is hard…especially when you try to keep the positive parts. Ying and yang right?


  5. Wordwytch June 19, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    Guilt… It was the one thing my ex tried to use on me far too much. (he’s a sub who thinks he should be a Dom, which just makes him a bully.) So, I do my very best not to do or play with Guilt. Nope, not gonna. Either own up to my mistakes or don’t do it in the first place. Which leads to our next word…

    Fear… Very useful. It keeps us alive and it can have interesting side effects. I may not feel guilty about doing something, but I may fear the results. (pissing off Wolf) Or, I may fear the pain of being spanked or fear asking to be spanked, but I know in the end if I work through that fear that there is a reward at the end. 🙂 Fear is far more useful in my opinion.

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