If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’ve been dabbling a little in uncovering sexual repression and understanding the psychological nature of certain kinks. Bondage specifically, as well as age play, power dynamics, and pain/punishment. I have to say I admire the kink community so much for their willingness to not be ashamed of their bodies and desires. It’s absolutely revolutionary. I know there are a lot of high-vibrating empaths in the community, and there are also people who have been broken by life’s injustices. I don’t know how many of them are using kink to further their evolution, self expression, relationships, communication skills, and healing processes, but I imagine a good deal of them are. Thank you kinky people!
I also want to talk about Transparency. Transparency is a principle as well as a process. The process of living by the principle, involves polishing what is opaque until it becomes clear and shiny, psychologically speaking. It is the grand work of shadow transformation/alchemy, and my favorite topic. I dedicated myself to entering full transparency this year, no matter the ruts in the road. This means, there must be an unmasking. Nothing to hide, nor to hide from. There are subtle nuances and mastery practices to hone of course. For example, a person who lives in transparency does not simply speak the truth regardless of outcome. Transparency is see-through, and can see through. It is intuition-perception. It can see how the truth will be received. Being an aspect of light, it allows others to be where they are. It does not create more karma, but it clears the road, so everything in its path can come up to be dealt with, reconciled, healed. Transparency is the acceleration of frequency.
There is an entire book on this topic by Penney Peirce. It is called Transparency. I highly recommend it. Here are a few quotes she collected for her book:
A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used. - Oliver Wendell Holmes
The man who never avoids what he actually is will soon change and elevate whatever he is. - Vernon Howard
The largest part of what we call “personality” is determined by how we’ve opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness. - Alain de Botton
Keep your heart clear and transparent, and you will never be bound. A single disturbed thought creates ten thousand distractions. - Ryokan
Now, part of my path toward full transparency (not just occilating from opacity to transparency and back again), involved shoveling through a bunch of shit. If I had to look at it as a linear process, I might say the first layers were denial and avoidance. Then repressed anger (I’m not as nice as I thought), then shame under that. Shame is always buried in the deepest parts of the basement. That shame for me revealed a lot of sexual repression, self-doubt, etc.
When I have anxiety about something, especially regarding a relationship I don’t want to lose, my process is to sit with it. It might say (fear) ‘I’m afraid of ruining this thing’. Then (anger) ‘I’m so tired of being unseen or unheard’. Then (shame) ‘What is wrong with me?’ Then (transparency) ‘I am facing something that has been hidden and repressed because of many generations of social conditioning. My ancestors repressed this thing for survival purposes, and I now reject myself.’ (As example, expressing one’s emotions may lead to rejection, ridicule, etc.). My society rejects this thing for reasons I’d rather not unpack now.
But here’s the thing about this revelation. I need to acknowledge who I am and what I am. I know that my emotional life is of primary importance to me. I have a poet’s heart, am highly sensitive, and am an emotional generator. I am a fountain of emotional abundance. This is not the same for everyone, but it is for many of us. For that, if I live in a society that shames emotional authenticity, I must face that reality at some point and how it affects my self-worth. The generations of programming and repression and fear. If emotions are not acceptable, then I am not acceptable. This is the shame.
To bring this to transparency requires COURAGE, passion.. It requires a big fat self-pep talk on an as-needed basis. And then to find clarity and skill in communication. Most of all it requires radical self-love. This is a mastery path that is extremely under-appreciated in society, outside of psychotherapy settings. So, this path feels awfully lonesome sometimes. Nevertheless we move forward.
Moving on to bondage. Well, the shame aspects of sexuality, self-doubt, all the stuff that is opaque, the perversion of the raw creative human potential, all that stuff is not just going to disappear just because it has finally been acknowledged. It takes some workshopping. Sexual expression is a powerful workshop option because, it connects the psyche, the emotions, the mind, brain, the need for human connection and relationship, and very importantly the body. What else can do that?
Side note: I know that a lot of western folks are super into tantra. It’s strictly spiritual I guess? I don’t know much about it. I have contacts in India who have told me tantra in India is considered very dark, and its practices are very dark. Something about graveyards and fecal matter? Don’t ask, I really don’t know. But the western take on it seems pretty spiritually oriented, love and light. That’s fine and all, but what does tantra say about bondage, flagellation, etc? Do all sexual aspects fit into that path?
Kink is cool because it lets you be raw and dirty. There are no airs about being holy. It’s a complete 180 from the puritanical environment that got us into this shame in the first place. So here’s my latest understanding of the bondage dynamic in my psyche.
Naturally, I am going to look at the inner child(ren), because those are the parts of us that feel the weight of separation and abandonment the most. The core wound many of us have. That child is like wtf, why have I been ignored and abandoned, what is wrong with me? I must be bad. I’m ashamed of myself now, for I have done something to be undeserving of total love, safety, affection, and emotional responsiveness. I suppose I’ll just be a good little girl/boy/person and hope someone loves me how I want them to, or, maybe I'll just be a little unruly and wreak havoc in my anger. Either way...
I’ll say it plain. Bondage feels to me like the part of the inner child that wants to belong, is having the experience of being literally tied up, nailed down, and bonded to someone they love on a very visceral, physical, and dense level. It’s not just some ethereal soul-bond. It’s a raw physical expression of belonging, and one that can bring the body, brain and psyche into alignment with that sense of belonging. This means the unmet need of that aspect of the soul and inner child can finally be met. At least in a workshop type of way. (This may not seem like much of a revelation but it's a far cry from shame, repression, and self-loathing!)
So, the paradox of bondage is... that it has the power to SET FREE subconscious material that has been bound up in opacity. Shame, self-doubt, fear, and self-love deficiencies can come to be acknowledged and played with. And what a nice way to have fun and connect with a lover too, no? Share your thoughts please! Xo
Disclaimer: bondage, like rock climbing, can be dangerous. You have to know about arteries, the nervous system, consent culture and practices, and communication. Please take some classes before engaging!
For a long time I've wondered, "why are there kinks?" Why do people like sex that employs uneven power dynamics? What's the deal with dom/sub stuff, BDSM, and this thing that I've recently acknowledged has kept me in a state of repression for the shame of it? I'm into sovereignty so how could I have a repressed kink about not-sovereignty? The idea of being owned, punished, etc. has been so shameful to me that I've had to deal with dreams of tigers full of milk, stalking me, dreams of velociraptors asleep in my bed. How scary. After all, I've spent my life trying to figure out how to be free, how to not be dominated, to not be controlled by another human being, entity, or system of oppression in general. To me these kinks seemed as bad as having to pay the government to kill people. Why is my shadow so persistent about it! Just let me enjoy vanilla and keep my dignity!
Well after acknowledging it as real for me, I started researching the BDSM community and practices, and how people have used it for healing, specifically. (I'm certainly not about to start up a new addiction). Many abuse and assault survivors, often those who suffered horribly as children even, have come to the BDSM world to work out their kinks. It seems to work when the emphasis within the community and within the relationship is on strict communication guidelines, negotiations, and trust. Expressing ones needs explicitly, and exploring the boundaries of pain in a controlled environment with someone you trust can heal major wounds. Why?
The masculine/feminine dynamic is interesting. There is a strong aspect of the feminine that wants to trust. She wants to surrender herself completely within the safety and security of an unwavering masculine protection. The masculine in high form is confident enough to be 100% accountable for his actions. He is trustworthy. He is safe. He is accountable. And a proper dom will be accountable and in control of his actions, to give to the sub whatever they desire, while the sub's power is in having complete control over the situation. They express what they want, what their boundaries are, and what their safe word will be should they choose to stop the interaction. The dom cannot fulfill this role without being a rock solid person, right? They are essentially givers, while the sub receives. But still, why does anyone want to be punished in role-play?
My conclusion about it is this: humans have a tendency to want to shirk responsibility sometimes. We project our blame and shame onto other people when we aren't self-aware. And when we are children, if we didn't have caretakers who were always responsible for us in the ways we needed, before our limbic system was attached to the frontal lobes, something there, a little kink forms. Why might I want someone to punish me? Because I haven't taken proper care of myself and I want someone else to hold me accountable for myself by punishing me. It means someone else is there to take care of me so I don't have to. The dom needs to be in full accountability because that is what the sub needs. This does exemplify a lack of self-love, which is a lack of self-accountability. Accountability is why we put expectations on others or boundaries around ourselves. The expectations and boundaries (or lack thereof) always reflect our level of inner accountability and inner love for ourselves. Sexuality is the perfect vehicle for exploring these unhealed aspects, isn't it?
Essentially my point is that in craving punishment, we are asking someone else to show us what it means to be accountable for loving ourselves. It came to me while I was screaming in a car with the windows rolled up.
I had recently had a marriage for my inner masculine and my inner feminine. I realized I had never connected with my inner masculine. Not ever. He was divorced from me. When I went to unite these parts of myself, I found that he was always there, perfect, devoted, amazing. He was truly fulfilling to my inner feminine, who had been so angry about his betrayal, which wasn't real. Anyway, I thought I would understand more about my sexuality after this union. And that I would be a better parent to my inner children as well. I still had kinks though, and I still don't necessarily trust another mortal enough to go down that road at this point. A friend of mine suggested I find my inner dom, and explore it on my own. So I'm screaming in a car, getting rid of some poison that was projected onto me as shame and resentment which wasn't mine. Primal scream therapy is still one of my favorite methods of release. So I'm accessing all this pain and screaming it out, and it's tiring, and out of nowhere this inner dom came into my consciousness. It's associated with the pain I was releasing, because the reason I had gotten involved with that pain in the first place was that I was not being accountable to myself. I didn't have proper boundaries or trust structures, I didn't find what I was looking for in another person. I found the opposite. Again. And here now I wanted to be punished for it. WHACK! "Now do you know your worth?" WHAM! "Now do you know what you deserve?"
Yes. Yes I do.
There doesn't seem to be a lot of consensus on what empaths are, or what the various types of empaths are. Spiritually it may refer to people who display clairaudience, clairsentience, etc. There is no board of directors for empaths no strict code of requirements. We simply know we are different, we are sensitive, and we care. I personally do not agree that all empaths feel the emotions of others, and in my opinion it is just a common specialty trait. The traits I list below may well be interchangeable, and are not limited to empaths. Which traits do you or the empaths in your life have?
The Super Empath - This label has been used to describe an empath who also has narcissistic traits, though in far lesser degrees comparative to their empathic traits. These folks have a strong ability to tone down their empathy to fight, challenge, create boundaries, express anger, etc. For this they may be seen as having an activated warrior archetype. Narcissists may find them an interesting challenge. They are more likely than lower-functioning empaths or codependents to recognize narcissism, and to therefore leave a toxic relationship.
Truth Seeker - This is an archetype who has a strong devotion to objective truth. This is symbolized by the sword bearer, or light-bearer. The blade of truth can cut through facades and masks, it may wound, and it may also cut the chains of oppression. A truth seeker may stay in a toxic relationship until they know the full truth, even if they are driven to near obsession. They will gather evidence, test their theories, and relentlessly explore new territories in the service of truth and transparency, even under great duress, or to the point of neurosis. Truth seekers may also be motivated to use their findings and conclusions to expose others. Perhaps the Truth Seekers are also the Super Empaths, as warriors may also carry the sword of truth. This is the energy that brings the darkness to light.
Emotional Intuitives - these are the empaths with the classic trait of feeling what other people are feeling emotionally. If you ask them how you feel, they will often be able to articulate your feelings with greater ease and accuracy than you yourself could. They may feel uncomfortable in many situations because of this trait, and will potentially have a harder time attaching to others because of their need to protect themselves from being constantly drained. These empaths are said to have thin skin, and they are often very concerned about how to create energetic walls of protection around themselves. They may have a very hard time with cities, busy lifestyles, or chaotic energy.
Nature-Based - These are the people who feel deep connections to the mineral, vegetable, or animal kingdoms. Some people can feel the energies of minerals for example to such a degree that they may be uncomfortable around these energies at times, as if they cannot find privacy when certain minerals are in the room. Perhaps the energies are too strong or imposing for certain activities. They may place them face down for respite, or keep them outside. Another example was the plant empath Dr. Edward Bach. He was so sensitive to the energies of plants and flowers that he developed a series of essences and knew the specific emotional patterns that each could harmonize and heal. He eventually died from his sensitivities, by taking on the illnesses of his clients. An animal empath may intuit the pains and physical pressures of animals, or may be able to naturally communicate telepathically with them.
Innocent Empaths - I'm inventing this phrase to describe empaths who connect to children. They relate to children naturally, can more readily protect them from disparent energies, and can enjoy all the nuances and joy of play. These are the people children are always drawn to, sitting in their laps and asking for a playtime.
Here's an outline of the basics of the empath/narcissist dynamic, and hopefully it will add to your current perspective and help you process your experiences within the dynamic.
Everyone has narcissistic traits, so they say, and they exist on a spectrum. What is perhaps less discussed, is that empaths also exist on a spectrum, and it can be viewed as an extension of the narcissistic spectrum. Everyone is somewhere on the continuum, with 'normal' people in the middle or neutral position.
A person is not considered a true narcissist (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders - DSM), unless they exhibit the qualities on the far right of the spectrum, and are diagnosed by a psychiatric professional. For those of us who have dealt with a narcissist however, we can often draw our own conclusions about why our loved one or coworker is abusive to us. If you are unsure, please look into researching the Dark Triad and/or Cluster B personality disorders, and see if you think your situation relates.
Here is what I've learned so far about the traits as they fit into the spectrum. I'll start with the high-functioning empath, and work my way to the high-level narcissist:
High-functioning empaths could be considered the true altruists (givers) of this world. Their distinguishing feature is that they know their inherent worth as divine beings, and they have a high sense of self-love (not to be confused with selfishness or self-importance). They give because they know it is their birthright to share their unconditional love with the world, to spread what overflows from their hearts and the the joy of the soul. This is Joie de Vivre, innocent, as a child who picks wildflowers for his mother. High-functioning empaths do not seek recognition, accolades, or anything in return, not even subconsciously. They also have the quality of a spiritual life, with purpose and meaning. They are not cynics, and their giving does not define their worth. One does not have to be a saint to be a high-functioning empath, they must simply have an unwavering sense of self-love, and thus are able to ask for their own needs to be met, without shame. They know they are worthy.
Mid-level empaths are also givers, they may volunteer often, give to the poor, pick up hitchikers, etc. They do a good job. They may also follow a spiritual path, or they may not. There is however a pattern stemming from an unconscious motivation which underlies the giving. Mid-levels may identify as givers, caring people, nurturers, and healers. They may believe these acts define and exemplify their worth. They may believe that they can fix or heal others. They are often highly motivated to do so, and may even overstep the boundaries of other people for this reason. They may think they know best, may give unsolicited advice, and may meddle in the affairs of others because they truly do want to help. (Does this sound like anyone's mom?). The reason these empaths are not considered high-functioning has to do with the emotion of pride, and the emotion this pride masks, which is shame. Pride says "I can fix this for someone else, I can heal them with my love, I can right the wrongs of the world." It is a noble enough thought, but it belies a hidden and unconscious shame, which is where the lack of inherent self-worth comes in. There is a touch of unfulfilled self-love. It says, "I do not think my needs are worthy, because I am not worthy, and I can therefore not ask for my needs to be met. I am ashamed of my needs. If I give, others will see my worth, and they will give to me in return so that my needs can also be met." What happens when the recipient of this giving does not meet the unspoken needs of the giver? Displaced anger and resentment. Edit: It has recently been brought to my awareness by a friend that giving where it is not asked for or welcome is actually a matter that violates consent. It is contrary to creating a strong consent culture. Thoughts?
Low-functioning empaths lack self-love and self-worth. Of course their ego may tell them they love themselves, but their actions and behaviors do not convey that. A major symptom of self-love deficiency is extreme codependency. Often this codependency comes with sex or relationship addictions, and/or drug and alcohol abuse. They are most likely to be involved in abusive relationships or sketchy sexual interactions. They are incredibly self-sacrificing, and may have even been religiously or culturally programmed to submit to man and god unwaveringly. They also exhibit a great deal of pride in their belief that staying with an abusive partner, self-sacrificing, or martyring themselves will heal their partners and secure their redemption in paradise. They may believe they are doing God's work. But as mentioned before, this pride masks a great amount of shame, maybe even (subconscious) self-hatred. They will give without return until they simply shut-down. They often end up hospitalized if they are being drained endlessly as a primary source by a narcissist or abusive partner, and they may lack the will or desire to live. Low-functioning empaths are quintessential and die-hard enablers.
Neutral/'normal' people have equal amounts of empathic and narcissistic traits. They are not likely to become involved with narcissists, as neither themselves nor the narcissist will have much interest. These people probably have decent boundaries and trust structures within their personalities.
Low-level narcissists, as all narcissists, lack empathy and the ability to take authentic accountability for their own actions. They act instinctively from a 'dark place,' or 'dark presence,' and generally have lower cognitive function than their mid and high level narc counterparts. They are most likely to react with brute force and violence than a more subtle manipulation tactic. They are essentially wife-beaters.
Mid-level narcissists are a bit more cunning. They may have high cognitive function, be intelligent, and highly skilled in their manipulation and abuse tactics. They also may act from a 'dark inner presence,' as they cannot take genuine accountability, yet they are not self-aware. They do not realize what they are doing, and while they may scheme and plot, they do not do so with full intention. Their disordered personality acts instinctively, which is how they have honed such sophisticated abuse tactics. It's simply what they have done throughout their lives, and it's all they know. They have no desire to change and thus will not change. They may resort to violence in many cases, but often covert tactics are employed first.
High-level narcissists are self-aware. As such they may be highly intelligent, and highly capable of conscious manipulation. They may take great enjoyment from watching other people suffer, and also feeding their incessant need for power as a result of this awareness.
Narcissists use others as appliances to draw fuel from. They grossly objectify other human beings, and will even use their own children as pawns for triangulation. They may use gaslighting, blame shifting, physical violence, love-bombing, seduction tactics, romance, and other means of emotionally hooking others into their harem. They will always seek to serve themselves, and any seemingly contrary action is only employed to get something they want. They sit on gunpowder. and are potentially very dangerous if their facade or fuel sources are threatened.
Information here is taken from numerous personal experiences, information from survivors, and the work of various professionals including Abdul H. Saad, a clinician with Vital Mind Psychology, and psychotherapist and author Ross Rosenberg, who developed a theory of self-orientation I find to be very useful.
Eden is a quantum and shamanic practitioner and herbalist who enjoys exploring interdimensional realms, earth-based spirits and practices, planetary gridpoints, shadow integration, and Inkan medicine ways of Q'ero lineage. She identifies as empath, high-sensitive, and starseed. Eden works in service to spiritual evolution through love, and the reclamation of spiritual sovereignty.