Avoidance Behaviour

Today a Twitter friend posted a great tweet that was about how sometimes we use helping people do what they need/want to as a way of avoiding improving our own lives.

Real friends attack you when you need attacking.

She was referring to herself, but it was exactly what I needed to see to admit something I half knew but didn’t want to admit to myself.

I’ve been using this site and podcast as a way to avoid growing in my own submission or getting out there and exploring more, even though I want to.

The point of The Pageist (both site and podcast) are to help people know they’re not alone and to find and accept their true selves. I can’t think of anything more important. You can’t improve the world if you hate yourself for who you are. Realising I was kinky helped me immensely and I wanted to put that back out there. It saved my life and I only wish I had made the connection sooner.

This feels like a calling—a thing I would have never thought I’d have and words usually applied to doctors or firefighters. (I’m not comparing myself to those people—I just didn’t realise it was possible to be compelled to help people in a way that wasn’t…sanctioned by society. That’s a topic for another essay, though.)

All the Things

I’ve not had a purpose in life before—I’ve had depression, anxiety and ennui in abundance, however—but an actual desire to do something is like being able to see a new colour spectrum and wanting to look at everything. Now I want to do everything at once. In the rush to catch up and accomplish something with my life—to help all the people and make all the difference—for the 38 years I wasn’t doing those things, I’ve let basic self-care and a focus on my own submission slide.

Until a few months ago I had been doing exercises in a couple workbooks for s-types* and working on my submissive resume. I was learning so much about myself and what I wanted/needed. Some of which was surprising. You can think you know yourself, but upon reflection and contemplation will find surprises. Some pleasant, some not so much.

Then other people seemed more important.

This is classic problem for service-oriented submissives, I suppose.

But I’m of no use to anyone if I’m burnt out, which is one thing that happens when you’re trying to do everything.

I try to live by the motto: Be the sort of submissive your ideal Dominant would want to own.

My ideal Dominant would want me to be constantly growing in my submission. She would want me to be honest if I had too much on my plate and needed to rearrange my schedule or take a break.

Working on the show and site includes learning a great deal—I feel like I’m enrolled in one of those create-your-own-degree courses some hippie universities offer. But it doesn’t include growing in my submission.

Avoidance Behaviour

How is this avoidance behaviour? Well, I dislike change and I’m terrified of failure. Going to events would disrupt my schedule, of which I am quite fond and which makes me feel safe. And looking for a D/s relationship… what if I suck at it? What if I’m am abject failure as a submissive?

(Cognitively, I know this is who I’ve been since I was twelve, at least, and any decent Dominant isn’t going to expect perfection the first day, but I will. That doesn’t matter when your brain is used to telling you you’re a failure at everything you do.)

What if I can’t find someone who wants the type of D/s relationship I do?

Welcome to reality—and you can’t know until you look. What if you found what you wanted. Ponder that, Miss Always-Expects-to-Be-Disappointed.

So I’ve been pushing myself to do all the things while telling myself I’m ‘helping other people’ (true) and ‘getting a business off the ground’ (trying, hopefully true) and it’s normal for that to require an ‘unholy amount of work’ (true). And we don’t have the funds for me to go to events (true, but writing prompts don’t require money). So ‘it’s fine if I allow my own personal goals to suffer’ (brain, we need to have a talk).

Anyway, I’m taking a week off to figure out a new schedule so I can do the things I want for the site/show while still making time for personal growth. There’s a way to do it—I just haven’t made the time to sit and work it out.

The podcast will return next Thursday with a review of The Academy by Laura Antoniou then the site will be back on schedule with all sorts of reviews of various types of media, as described here.

If you’re a fan of the The Pageist and would like to show your support, this page has suggestions for free and non-free options.

Thank you so much for reading/listening,


*Erotic Slavehood: A Miss Abernathy Omnibus by Christina Abernathy and Where I am Led: A Service Exploration Workbook by Christina Parker


  • Interestingly, I see a lot of this amongst people who are ‘new’ to / just finding the scene. I am the community leader for the Aylesbury munch and I also moderate the Buckinghamshire county boards so i meet, greet and even mentor a lot of people as they take their first steps in the scene.

    Frankly, the avoidance approach it isn’t all bad. I feel like, as a broad and hideous generalisation, most people (and subs in particular, I shall tailor my language to the /s side of the slash for now) approach the scene in one of two ways.

    The first (and most common that I see) is the cannon ball. There is a term for it known as ‘Sub-Frenzy.’

    It’s like a kid having been given free rein in a sweet shop. Suddenly everything they have ever dreamed of is at their finger tips (or so it seems at first glance). They plunge in head first, grabbing the first things to hand and having a whale of a time. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach – we could all do with experiencing some unbridled hedonism sometimes, but it fails to take into account of reality. And the reality is that:

    – Not all of our fantasies work as well outside of our head as we would want them too
    – People are flawed and fallible (and sometimes selfish or malicious)
    – We don’t always know ourselves as well as we think we do
    – Play creates fallout; Sub-drop, sub-space, emotional connections etc
    – Our bodies are fallible, we need to look after them and keep them healthy, including keeping safe during and after play.

    I see a lot of people getting cut on the razor blades hidden under all that candy.

    The second approach is what you are calling avoidance and that’s an apt term in many respects. I’ve also heard them called ‘Internet Subs’ but I almost feel the term ‘The watchers’ feels better. These are the people that, for want of a better word, lurk. They watch. They read. They post. They create online personas and live through the internet as submissives. Sometimes they form long distance relationships, sometimes they web cam or sex chat with people they are interested in. They can often be found on forums giving advice or writing long pieces of beautiful prose. They create and they listen.

    This approach sounds better because they are taking time to learn (and it my experience people who enter the scene this way are less likely to burn out or get hurt and leave) and they are able to experiment in a relatively safe space – allowing themselves to process things and start their self discovery.

    However it is dangerous in its own way:

    – Learning about something is not the same as living it
    – You truly don’t know what something is like until you try it, no matter how much you know about it
    – You can get stuck putting yourself into restrictive boxes and labels because you over analyse everything – this wont allow you easy growth space
    – Other people are not theoretical either and they bring their own mess of -stuff- into your nice tidy conceptualisation more often than not
    – You can get stuck living vicariously through other people and not having your own awesome experiences (i.e. the subject of your post)
    – Some people can get very hung up on ‘the right way’ to do things and damage their own or others journeys because they have a set path in mind

    As an aside I find it interesting that its the bottom-type prone to having difficultly with ‘launching’. I think that it must be some combination of the service facet (The need to give one’s self and be the best) and perhaps the overall suppression of service and submission in society (It’s not feminist, it’s not manly, we’re all supposed to be individual extroverts making our mark on the world, no one should enjoy being service staff because those jobs are lowly/uneducated etc) but thats probably another article in and of itself!

    Bah. This post has turned into an essay (again), I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone. Lots of people experience it. I was most definitely an internet sub before I realised I was practicing avoidance and put my big girl pants on to go and explore :)!

    • thepageist says:

      This is so much useful, as well as well-written information. Would you mind if I made it a blog post–fully attributed to you, of course.

      • Not at all, if you want to pick my brain over it please feel free (I’ve only just realised i’m not getting wordpress emails for comments – sorry). I have thought about writing about it in more depth at some point because the article I used to link people to has been down for a while! If I do write anything that might be useful I shall let you know, but feel free to post in the mean time :)!

  • thepageist says:

    Oh excellent. It will probably be a Tuesday or a Sunday post in the next couple of weeks. Thank you!

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