The Dominant and the Submissive – Stage 2

Sometimes when we observe other people’s relationships, we notice that one person tends to be dominant over the other. One person may always get his or her way, while the other is inclined to submit. If we are brave enough to look at ourselves, we would see that there are some interactions where we are the dominant ones, while in others we tend to be submissive.

When we explore our different parts and rhythms in the Stage 2 exercise, we are really beginning to discover which part of our bodymind is associated with the dominant rhythm and which is the submissive. We find during the exercise that, with our hands in two different positions, as they begin to interact, one wants to take over and the other seems to let it. We notice that one area really expands, while the other region barely does at all. This differential reveals to us where it is in our body that we connect when we both dominate and submit in a relationship.

We all know that relationships, in which one person always gets his or her way, are rarely fulfilling for either party. While the arrangement may work on some level, neither one is truly growing, learning or expressing his or her full potential. This creates tremendous opportunity for bitterness, spite and passive aggressive behaviour. What would work better would be if both parties could coexist with equal voice. This way the relationship would be an equitable partnership, where both would be involved in creating a mutually beneficial outcome.

There are so many reasons in life why we do not express our inner self. As young children, we experience so many traumas and wounds and we find, in many cases, that speaking up is not safe, or may get us into trouble. It becomes simpler to just let our wants and desires go unheard and submit to the will of another. While this, indeed, may be easier for us, appeasing another by relinquishing our voice still builds anger, resentment and an enduring charge within us.

Many of us, while growing up, were fortunate enough to have a strong, adult presence in our lives who asked or told us to speak up. It may have been a parent, aunt, uncle, teacher or family friend who saw that we needed to stand up for ourselves. If, sadly, this kind of support never actually happened, there is certainly a person that we wished would have done so. Encouragement or empowering experiences like this have a powerful impact on us and can help us in getting a submissive part of ourselves to speak up.

In the Stage 2 exercise, we want to become aware of the submissive and dominant rhythms within ourselves and to acknowledge them. We then want to ask the submissive rhythm to speak up. To truly access the part of ourselves that learned as a child that it was not okay to make our voice heard, we use the memory and impact of the strong adult presence that once inspired and strengthened us. To do so, we adopt the voice and tone of this person as we ask our submissive part to speak up. We also use the name we were called by them when we were a child to increase the impact. We repeat this within the exercise, alternating between the two rhythms in the two positions, until both are speaking with equal voice. This means that they are both expanding to the same degree– one does not dominate the other–and they are learning to coexist in a healthier, more accepting way.

Original article Paul Newton, based on the work of Donald Epstein

Rachael Talbot & Olaf Frank
Re-organisational Healing, Wellness & Chiropractic in Wilmslow, UK