Dominant and Submissive Relationships
Are you currently involve in any dominant and
submissive relationships? If the work of the world is to be
effectively done, some people must direct the work of others. The
need for some to "boss" others is more easily seen in a factory than
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Yet the family, also, will operate more smoothly if
its members work under some direction. Planning and directing others
so that it can be done effectively is quite different from
bossing others because you enjoy seeing them obey you.
People who have high administrative or executive
ability will naturally find themselves in positions where they
direct others. But such supervisory relationships are not at all the
same as domination.
Domination is the satisfaction which some
people get from seeing others jump when they snap the whip. The same
principle holds true of submission. People who work
cheerfully and willingly under the direction of others who are
better able to supervise, are not necessarily submissive.
They will take orders and obey them because they
feel that this is the best way of getting worthwhile things done.
The submissive person takes orders, either because he is afraid, or
because he enjoys being controlled.
Actually all dominant and submissive relationships
do not make for efficiency. As in a family, husband, wife and
children may accept direction. But both their work and their
relationships will be more satisfactory if they are free labor,
working under direction.
Domination, then, does not mean merely exercising
authority. It means rather, an uncontrollable itch to take over
everything and run it, and a strong resentment when things do not go
as you feel they should.
So how can you tell how you are in any dominant and
If you are both dominant, you may be headed for
painful and perhaps serious clashes which may seriously mar your
happiness. The dominance of one person need not impair the whole
dating relationship. If the other is sufficiently submissive, there
may be peace within the partnership.
Richness of relationship does not require that the
tow of you be the same. For many years the children will be inferior
to their parents in many respects, but each person should have a
reasonable chance to become the best that he can.
Dominance is not likely to occur without some
rebellion. This last may not be open. But the servant who is most
obsequious and outwardly submissive is the one most to be feared.
The wife who appears to have no will of her own, to yield to her
husband's every wish, may actually, in subtle ways, be twisting him
around her little finger.
Likewise children, in a household dominated by
their parents, speedily learn how to get around the demands and
wishes of their elders. Sometimes they use straight deceit. Often
they learn how to manipulate the one who thinks that he is boss of a
smoothly running household. Others will openly rebel as soon as they
are old enough.
Finally, the practical results of any domination
and submissive relationships may be sad. The dominant person may
have the greater ability. Again, he (or she) may not. People
dominate, not because they have more ability, but because they have
stronger aggressive drives.
And in any dominant and submissive relationships
even when the dominant person is also the ablest, his judgment is
not superior at every point. The most successful family or nation is
that which uses the insights of everyone.
We have pointed out the evils and dangers of
domination. Let us not forget that submissiveness can be quite as
Our Hitlers could not lead their nations or their
families to ruin if the others did not allow them to have their own
way. The difficulty lies quite as much in the sheepishness of the
sheep, as in the wolfishness of the wolves.
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