One of the worst movies ever made is also on my list of personal favorites, Exit to Eden, starring Rosie O’Donnell and that Australian guy with the cute butt. Rosie is an undercover cop, posing as a Dominatrix. The cute butt guy has a fetish for having his bare ass spanked. Ooh la la. It is such a trashy movie! And it was the first fetish movie I ever saw. (Extremely soft, extra soft erotica.)
I mention it because I am reading this self-help book about Codependency. So far it’s not very good, but the good stuff is rumored to be in Chapter Nine. The book talks about trying to get approval via “Pleasing Behaviors” (versus behaviors that are pleasant). It sounds a lot like a narcissist’s seduction techniques to me, trying to win my affections via little thrills and pretending to behave in ways he assumes I would want. Seduction. Mirroring.
(Notice that these behaviors would be called “being attentive” in a mutually loving relationship. What turns them into codependency is becoming addicted to approval from the narcissist.) So far, I am thinking that maybe David is the codependent one?
He was the insecure guy who needed me under his control. I just wanted to be near him. Like a beagle at the foot of his bed. Even his B.O. was the best B.O. I ever smelled. “You don’t have to shower, baby. Your stench makes me horny. Rrrowr.”
The narcissist was the only lover I ever trusted enough to have fetish play. That is a seriously big step for an abuse survivor. A big step… off a cliff. Picture Indiana Jones and the invisible bridge.
Before David, negotiations with my husband would have gone like this: “You want to hold me down? I won’t be responsible for what I do to you if you try something so stupid.”
But when David showed up, I got way more funky than I knew I was capable of. He said, “Rivka, your limits are much further than mine.” Ha! I frightened the narcissist!
I fully intended to work out all of our power struggles in bed, the dominance/submission man/woman quarrels that all couples have. Who wears the pants? Who gets to balance the checkbook? Who gets to pick the pizza topping?
I think the self-help book is suggesting that these conflicts should be settled by talking things out… calmly… over a cup of tea in the therapist’s office.
I am not liking this book right now.
Who gets to decide which submissive behaviors are healthy, which are destructive, and which are just too freaky?
I don’t wanna give up my freak, okay?
I waited a quarter of a century to feel safe enough to indulge in fetish play. I loved David and trusted him. Unfortunately, he was faking it. Narcissist, right? Now I am confused. Was he using “Pleasing Behaviors” on me or was I using them on him? I don’t think the narcissist can use me for sex if I enjoy it so much. It’s more likely that I was manipulating him. When did relationship dynamics get so complicated? Now I feel like fifteen psychologists were in bed with us. Maybe we should take it again from the top?
“Pleasing Behaviors.” is copyright © 2014 by 18mitzvot. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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