We’re in the midst of an evolutionary step in our disciplinary relationship. Mrs. Lion is holding me accountable for less tangible issues that bother her. Until now, my rules are very concrete and behavioral. She always eats first and I am not to spill food on my shirt are the prime examples of this. The new rules are much more subjective: I am not to act like a know-it-all is the first of these. I’m not to interrupt her. I must respect her time. I wrote about that one yesterday in my post. The changes are not limited to punishable offenses. She is also being more assertive in terms of having us do what she wants rather than going along with my preferences.
The pattern of these changes is very much the same as when we started with the easier, concrete rules. At first she observes and comments on infractions. Later, she follows up with punishment. The hardest part, I think, is consistently observing the infractions, and in Mrs. Lion’s case, acknowledging things that bother her. She wondered whether it was fair to punish me the first time she lets me know I’ve done something that upsets her. I posed that question in yesterday’s post.
I got an interesting response to this on Twitter. Adored Devoted Couple (the male member) wrote:
“Maîtresse treats these types of situations as trainings. So she still applies correction but it’s to confirm a new rule rather than punish for breaking an existing rule. We had similar situations occur, which led to the rule that I greet her at her car when she arrives home……& watch my tone always. It was surprising to me as we evolved discovering things that had irritated Maîtresse before but she hadn’t said anything. It was a big shift when she realized her irritation is all that’s necessary to trigger a new rule.”
I think this is exactly what is happening with us now. I asked how the “training” is different from actual offenses. Was the punishment different?
“In effect, there’s no difference. It’s just helpful for us to separate cases where I failed to live up to an agreed upon expectation vs I irritated her but in a way we hadn’t ever discussed. She does the “training” to express her irritation & set the tone for the new rule.”
I agree with this concept. When something new is noted, it earns the same punishment it will in the future. I know that Mrs. Lion is concerned that punishing me for something I didn’t know was an offense is unfair. In the absolute sense it is. But, since she is a reasonable person, the behavior that bothers her is probably something I should know is wrong without being told.
More importantly, even if it seems unfair to punish me for something without warning, doing so reinforces our power exchange. Observing without punishment will almost certainly make less of an imprint on both of us than punishing me the first time the behavior is observed. It’s not about fairness, at least at this point. It’s about both of us learning something new.
I think the point is that there should be a sequence of events that happens when something I do, or don’t do, bothers Mrs. Lion. First she notices it. Then she tells me how I offended and then follows that with a statement of the new rule, followed by punishment. The value of this pattern is that she doesn’t have to worry about remembering every single rule. Since I am punished every time she is annoyed, she doesn’t have to worry about whether or not she told me of the offense before.
It’s elegant in its simplicity. There is no need to remember if I had been warned. No reason to even remember it’s a rule. The statement of the rule exists to provide me with a guideline, not to give Mrs. Lion permission to punish me. If this seems cruel and arbitrary, it isn’t. The objective of all this is to teach me to modify my behavior. We’ve established that punishment severe enough to imprint the need to change in my mind is effective in educating me. Therefore, the sooner we begin this pattern, the sooner I will change.
The idea isn’t to complicate Mrs. Lion’s life with the need to remember an encyclopedia of rules. It’s to consistently observe things I do that annoy her and to promptly punish me for them. Rules are for me. They’re my roadmap to avoid painful spankings. They don’t limit Mrs. Lion by requiring her to define boundaries before acting.