I’m a bottom. I’d say I fall pretty deeply into the submissive and service-bottom categories within that, at the very least I’m compliant to my top (within reason). What this means though, is that I can be very vulnerable in some ways. This vulnerability is a very powerful and dangerous thing when held in the wrong hands. I know this first hand, and am now doing the biggest self-aftercare I’ve ever encountered in my life.
I am a care-taker by nature. I go out of my way, enduring physical and financial hardship, without second thought if it will make the life of someone I care about easier, happier, or more enjoyable. It was this care-taking nature which was abused severely. It was a creeping change, ever so slow over the years, but it eventually ate up my savings and my credit-line, as well as my well-being.
I don’t remember when it happened exactly, but I learned at one point to turn off the kinky part of myself, and locked it away in a box along with the cuffs and collars. When the kink activities started being less motivated by mutual enjoyment, and moved into a realm of degradation which was not discussed or desired, I started to notice. When the physicality of the hurting became increasingly oblivious of the safe sweet spots, I started to think. When the words and deeds changed from that which we both enjoyed to something that was driven by anger, I noticed. When encounters became brief distractions which treated me as an object devoid of feelings, I drew the line. I don’t play that way, especially not without negotiation.
My vulnerability and desire to please was preyed upon. My desire to make everything better, regardless of whether I was right or wrong, whether I should be paying for this or not, was well known and used against me on a regular basis. I’m still now realizing more and more behaviors and actions which had become the norm which I now clearly see as being manipulative of these parts of me.
So now I have had a wonderful (albeit sadly short-lived) purely vanilla relationship since then. I am slowly easing myself back into who I am, who I was, and who I am willing to let myself be. I am revisiting my kink self, and finding out where I stand. I am wary in doing so, picky about who I allow near me, and pickier still with who I allow to access these parts of my mind and self.
I’m still processing it all, and trying to find what warning signs to look for to keep from falling prey again. Trying not to let it overshadow my experiences going forward negatively, though at times that proves to be rather difficult. So for now I’m taking special care to revisit my social interactions after they happen, noting my behavior and that of those I interact with. I pay special attention to my reactions after any type of kinky action I may get, and make sure to communicate well with my cohorts. I’ve found good friends invaluable through this whole endeavor as well, as sometimes there are actions and trends which I don’t notice within myself which they see.
While at times I want to just cut loose, say “Yes Sir!” and go headlong into the sea of new experiences, I know that slow and steady is the best thing for me right now. I have a tendency to fear being disappointing as a bottom, but I’m trying to put that aside as best I can for now, in favor of being mindful that I am still more fragile emotionally than I may seem to myself or my cohorts. So far, this seems to be serving me well. I’m not sure how my tactics will change as things go forward as this is all a learning experience, but I seem to be figuring it out.
Edited 7/6/13 to add:
Mistress Crimson recently wrote a wonderful piece on Kink/BDSM and survivors of sexual violence. It’s excellent, and I highly suggest reading it.