Trust within a Dom and sub relationship

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Trust within a Dom and sub relationship

This article is dedicated to Lord Colm and the memory of 'jade' and all of the hours and hours of labour and love she poured into writing so many articles. We have been unable to contact Lord Colm to seek His permission to post these archives. This article, that originally appeared on the Castle Realm website, is posted here, pending the appropriate permissions from Lord Colm. The content of the article remains intact and exactly as originally found on the Castle Realm website.


Trust. How many ways there are to interpret the meaning of the word "trust?" In God we trust, The Security National Savings and Trust, Trust Funds, trust me, trust in yourself...we see the word everywhere and rarely stop to consider what it means. For the sake of this discussion we'll disregard the financial definitions and go right for the ones that apply to trust as found in a relationship.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines it pretty well.

Trust: (as a noun or thing)
1. a firm belief in the honesty, reliability, etc. of some person or thing; faith
2. the one trusted
3. confident expectation, hope, etc.: as, have trust in the future.
4. (a) the fact of having confidence placed in one. (b) responsibility resulting from this.
5. care; custody
6. something entrusted to a person; care, charge, duty, etc.

Trust: (as a verb or action)
1. to have confidence in; rely on.
2. to commit (to a person's care).
3. to put something confidently in the charge of a person: as, I trusted him with my car.
4. to allow to do something without fear of the outcome.
5. to believe.
6. to hope; expect

You can see that there are two forms of trust. Trust as a "thing" and trust as an "action." Both have their place in a relationship. We have trust and we trust. Just how much trust is needed? And what things do you trust to the person in your relationship? Before you answer that part too quickly, let's consider a few things.

How much trust is needed? Some? A lot? Probably more than you are capable of giving most of the time. One submissive told me without any hesitation that she trusted her Master with her life. (Most of us have to, in certain situations.) This same submissive also confided that she keeps a private mail address for letters from her mother. Why? Because she knew her Master did not like her mother's interference in their relationship. He resented it and often read the letters from her mother before she got home and got very angry. They'd had many confrontations over this and his solution was for her to stop corresponding with her mother.

This same man and woman could do scenes that involved trust that few people can understand, yet did not have enough trust in each other to get past a meddlesome mother. Notice I said "trust in each other" because this was a breech of trust on both their parts.

We all too often equate trust with things involving physical peril. It does take an enormous about of trust to allow someone to bind you into helplessness and stand over you with a whip that could bring a large horse to its knees if used improperly. But is that the supreme trust?

We also relate it to being faithful to our partner. A dominant takes great pride in having a submissive he can trust to wear his collar and be loyal to him in regards to her body and heart. But is that total trust?

I think there is a lot more to it than that. Definition 4 of the verb "trust" says it well: "to allow to do something without fear of the outcome." Fear of outcome? What does it entail? It indicates that trust does not end with an act of trust but extends into the future to include the outcome of that act. Definition 3 of the noun says much the same thing: "confident expectation, hope, etc.: as, have trust in the future."

We have to develop trust that goes beyond the moment. It has to include future acts and conditions. "If I trust him with this will he use it against me later?" "If I trust her with my heart, will she take advantage of it at other times?" "If I let my guard down will I be sorry later?" "If I trust him and he's lied to me, what will I do?" Those are the issues of trust we deal with most often.

I think we trust more easily with physical things, rather than emotional ones, because we know that the physical injuries are more likely to heal without leaving behind a painful memory. They might leave a bit of a scar, if they were serious enough injuries, but there is little pain in a physical scar. The emotional injuries are much harder to deal with and almost always leave behind painful memories and scars that never heal completely. Trusting someone with your emotions and your innermost thoughts is the most difficult act we encounter.

What are the things that prevent or impede trust in areas of the heart and mind? There are several: fear, shame, embarrassment, disappointment, the past and many other more similar things. Once you've been "had" it's twice as hard to trust the next time. Your mind attempts to protect itself by building a wall around the vulnerable spot, much the way your lungs calcify an invading TB virus. The lung can't kill the virus so it encases it in a hard shell to prevent it from doing more damage. Our hearts and minds do the same thing. A hard shell forms around the injured part to protect it and isolate it. That shell makes you feel safe but it prevents you from trusting. You end up isolated...alone...hurting...and more vulnerable.

I'm not advocating everyone to rush out and toss trust to the wind with the first person who comes along. I'm not even saying that it's a good idea to let down all your walls for the one you've formed a D/s relationship with. Trust, like maturity, come a little at a time. It's something you have to nurture and have nurtured.

If your partner makes an act of trust and confides to you a deep, personal secret or fear you must guard it and never use this confidence as a weapon. It should be used as a tool to help build more trust for later disclosures and discoveries. If you, in anger or pride, ever use something given to you in trust, expect that door to slam shut and remain locked for a long, long time. You just threw away the only key.

It is the development of this trust that is the test of a true dominant. It is fragile, broken easily, and can rarely be mended seamlessly. However, it is a treasure beyond price, the key that opens fanstsy to reality.

The Loving Dominant - John Warren, Ph.D. - Masquerade Books, Inc.
Chapter 5, page 67

A dominant must provide an environment where a submissive can allow her trust to grow. The submissive must take the trust she's been given and keep it safely within her care, as well. Both have to actively participate in its development and both have to contribute their fair share of it to the relationship.

Trust is a two way street, just like communication. We take tiny baby steps at first. We watch and listen to what takes place as a result of that step. If we wobbled, did someone reach out to support us? If we fell, did a kind hand wipe away the tears and gets us back on our feet? If we made two big steps, did someone recognize that effort and reward it? And...if we look over to the side, is someone taking those same steps with us? No one can trust alone. No one can build trust without giving of themselves. No one can trust without taking risks. No one can be trusted without proving themselves trustworthy.

We have to look to the future in the relationship also. Do we trust the other person has been honest in their commitment to it? Do we have faith in them to keep their end of the bargain? Do we have confidence and hope that they have our best interests in their heart? Can we be trusted with all of those same things?

Sounds like hard work? It is. It's the hardest part of any relationship. It takes daily effort to trust and learn to be trusted. You can't do one without the other. Promises won't make it happen, however, keeping promises will. Trust = a simple act of faith + confidence in the future. You can be tied, blindfolded, have all your senses taken away but you cannot have your trust TAKEN. You must give it to your partner and they must earn it....not once, but everyday of your lives together. You owe them the baby step at a time...together.

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