Dealing With Anger While Playing, and By Playing

How do you deal with anger when it comes up in a scene?  Or when wanting to find a way to release it to start with?

My friend DaddyDarin weighed in the subject in a thread entitled How to release anger? It started as a question about how a sub can release that anger, perhaps in  a cathartic scene, but it also raises the questions of how a dominant should deal with his own anger, and indeed the fundamental importance of his ability to control his own self.

This is a relatively long post, with my comments interspersed, but the most important questions of how the dominant should address his own anger are towards the very end.


Cathartic scenes can be used for a variety releases that a bottom my [sic] need…  If you don’t know what you are doing and how to bring someone back stay away from this kind of a scene. There are a lot of things that can go wrong and if you are not prepared or if you are an emotionally weak person you will do far more harm then good.

I think they’re great for helping release a lot of pain, but even I wouldn’t want to do a scene to help me release anger of my own.

You also need to be prepared for a long aftercare. I have had psychical [sic] aftercare last for over 48 hours with phone contact 3-4 times a day for several days after that. Make sure you have the time and are willing to make the commitment to the person. If you don’t want to or for some reason can’t again don’t do it. You will do more harm then good.

It’s amazing to me how few tops seem to know to even consider aftercare beyond the few minutes or hours following a scene these days.  The only times I remember a top even checking in on me the next day, never mind any later, was with my first dom, actually kind of before we even got together, and the first one I ever played with seriously, at my first play party.  I guess one other dom did, too, although we were always in touch every day, and he was always really good about that, but it just flowed in a way that didn’t even seem like anything out of the ordinary.

The most important relationship I’ve ever had never once even thought to check with me the next day, even when it had been clear that something had gone terribly wrong during the scene, and I was in a very bad state at the time – and for that matter, his aftercare even right after the scene often left a good bit to be desired.  It was just horrible to know that someone who professed to love me could hurt me so badly and then not even check in to see if I was OK, much less apologize or make sure I got what I needed to be able to process the situation safely.

It seems like the very concept of the potential for extended aftercare is not even known about any more by the majority of dominants coming into the scene these days, even in “regular” scenes, never mind trying to do anything cathartic.

If you go through something like this with a person and you are the one that was there you can’t abandon them half way through the process. The other option is to have an aftercare crew. A few people that may or may not be involved in the scene directly but are willing to help take care of the person when they need it. It’s a 24/7 job until it [sic] done. No matter how bad it get’s [sic] there is no walking away from this until the job is finished.

Part of that may even involve getting the bottom some professional help, if necessary.  Some things of this nature cannot be fully dealt with effectively by lay people.

I can see that having an “aftercare crew” could be an option, but I would think that the success of that would depend in part on how the bottom would deal with it, and who would be on the crew.

One thing that’s really important, though, for all bottoms/subs, is to have your own “aftercare crew” you can call on for support, whether you get what you need from the dom in question or not.  All too often, given how doms in general seem to just walk away and never check back in, even with less emotionally-loaded scenes, it falls to the sub to provide her own aftercare.  This is obviously far from ideal, but it’s essential to have your own network of friends who can give you that care when you need it, especially if the dom in question is nowhere to be found, or you can’t talk to him for some reason.  I know that my own skin has been saved by some people I trust deeply who have had nothing at all to do with the scene, and without whom, I would have had a lot more difficulty dealing with a variety of situations.

But for a dominant himself to deliberately undertake a scene like a cathartic scene of any sort without making those plans himself is seriously problematic and possibly unforgiveable.

This isn’t for armature [sic] tops or people that don’t have their own shit together.

Amen to that in a big way!  And that goes for both tops and bottoms.  The risk of serious emotional harm is far too high.

Reading this the will be a lot of you that think I’m making more out of this then there is but those of you who have been down this road with someone knows what I’m talking about.

Even without the intentional cathartic element, that is so, so true.

As a top if you need to release some anger get as far away from any bottom as you can and go to the gym or a long walk by yourself.

And likewise, if it comes up during a scene for any reason, you need to end that scene as soon as you realize it’s happening, as gracefully as possible.  You need to be aware of your own feelings and reactions – and also willing to listen to the bottom, read her reactions that might be mirroring and protecting herself from your anger coming at her, etc., and be willing to act quickly to get a grip and remove yourself so that you don’t make things worse.

You can negotiate an anger scene with a bottom and they can work for some people. If you do that I would suggest having another person in the room to make sure you don’t go to far. I don’t recommend these kinds of scenes.

I can’t even fathom doing something like that.  It’s absolutely beyond the pale if it’s not even negotiated, though, and all the more so if it’s done, and the bottom protests or safewords out.

I had that experience with one of my past doms more than I even care to remember.  I don’t know to this day if he was really angry during some of those early scenes, or if he just thought that acting like that was hot.  I do know he thought it was humiliating, but he didn’t quite seem to get it that a) we had not negotiated such a scene, b) my safewording, crying, and ultimately yelling at him to stop when he ignored my safewords meant that it was in no way all right to do again, that I really meant it when repeated later discussions about it and how unacceptable it was occurred, out of scene space, or that c) it wasn’t humiliating, it was just plain abusive, given all of that.

I believe that as a dominant that you need to be able to deal with your own anger. I also believe that a dominant or top that allows anger to come into a scene, especially a punishment scene is just an abusive person hiding behind the leather.

I couldn’t agree more.

You need to learn to control your anger under any circumstance. Even if that means walking away for a bit to get your head on straight.

And even if it means that you don’t get to have your own anger and disappointments dealt with at all, at least not until later, well after you have removed the risks that you yourself pose to the bottom while you’re angry.

Even if it means you don’t even get to have your own needs or desires met at that time.

If you are pissed and you [sic] slave needs to be punished tell them they need to be punished and that you will revisit the issue in 2-3 days. You need to tell them because if you don’t and then you bring it up a few days later it gives them wrong ideas and makes you look bad and you will deserve it too.

That’s some of the best advice I’ve ever heard.

If you don’t have full control over yourself in any situation that may come up you haven’t earned the right to be in control of anyone else.

That is beyond true.  And it’s so fundamental to WIITWD that it’s amazing to me that the whole notion seems to have gone completely by the wayside these days, at least among the newcomers.  Sadly, a lot of oldtimers don’t get it, either, but for the most part, they are the only ones who actually seem to.

I know that a lot of so called dominants or masters or asshats whatever you want to call them don’t seem to think they need to earn anything because they are just so cool and domly but you do.

A lot of them seem to think that just because some sub or bottom agrees to obey them that they can do whatever the flying fuck they want, and she’s got to take it.  And that it’s just being domly.  And if she doesn’t like it, then it’s just a difference in style.  And that they need to be gotten rid of if they don’t toe that line and comply instantly with your every domly wish.

You need to earn everything in this lifestyle. If you can’t look back at see exactly how you have earned something you probably don’t deserve to have it.

Really well put, Darin.  Really great thought.  I seriously doubt that most people who call themselves doms have enough awareness to recognize that basic concept, or what they’ve actually done to deserve it – or not.

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