Breaking boys

So yesterday I mentioned that my eventual goal in all my D/s relationships is to break my subs.

And I’ve mentioned it before, but have avoided expanding on it for a number of reasons.

First of all, every damn aspect of it is difficult to explain.  Even describing what I mean by the term “break” is complicated.

Still, I do love a challenge, and it’s worth a try.

So what do I mean by “breaking” someone?


It really is complicated.  And so much of it is mental.  And abstract.  And when I do it, it’s very exact, and deliberate, and real.  But trying to describe it requires more metaphor than even I’m a fan of.

The easiest (and most over-simplified) answer is to break through the walls he has up around himself.  All of them.

And that sounds simple.  But in reality, it is extremely profound, extremely intense, and extremely complex.  I will be seeing parts of his mind that no one has ever seen before, parts of his mind that he never thought he’d let anyone see.

Another answer is that I’m breaking him down.  Which sounds cruel, but it’s not.  While it is always uncomfortable for the boy I’m doing it to, he always knows that he’s safe, he’s loved, and I won’t harm him.

But yes, I’m breaking apart everything he thinks he knows about himself, often shattering his perception of himself and even his very reality (depending on the boy, of course).  I’m tearing down all his defenses and leaving him completely exposed, vulnerable in a way he’s never experienced before.

I once spoke to a very troubled young man who believed that I couldn’t do that with him.  He gave an incredibly beautiful description of his mind, likening it to a forest.  You first enter the forest, and it’s all pleasant.  Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining through the trees.

But the farther you go, the denser and darker it gets.  The trees start looking stunted.  Odd.  Gnarled.  There are no birds singing, just an eerie silence.  If someone starts to go deeper, the forest will lead them in circles, will trick them, anything the keep them out.  The wind picks up, it starts to rain, it’s time to leave.  He mentioned that this was the point most people want to leave, anyway.

But a very few, who have gotten that far, want to go further.  They step off the path he’s laid for them, and want to go farther.  He can describe it so much better than I can, so I’ll use his words.

The trees are giant here, there is no sun and the trees aren’t a variety that one could ever recognize. It’s always raining and it is cold. Inhuman sounds are carried on the wind which bring warning to trespassers. Rotted fallen logs try to sprain ankles, stinging nettles and thorns scrape at skin and hold people in place. Large shadows can be seen scurrying just out of sight. The massive trees swing in the wind and threaten to tumble down at any second. A heavy fog begins to form and the ground becomes unstable. Almost no-one comes here and no-one has ever gone farther. What’s beyond?
The forest opens up onto a marshland. Dead bleached trees reach out of the mud and the rotting corpses of animals float amongst them. The smell is putrid, the fog is thick. There is no end, or beginning. The mud is deep and hard to traverse. It’s not scary like the forest before. It’s silent and eerie if not fairly sad. If, somehow someone walked long enough they would find a small island ringed with trees. On it they would find a scared little boy huddled inside a dilapidated barn.


I have met that little boy so many times.  Everyone is different, but that scared, lonely little boy has been inside quite a few of my subs.  He exists in more than one of my current boys.

To me, in all the times I’ve broken boys, it always felt more like a labyrinth, that will change and lead people around in circles, with walls that will spring up out of nowhere and lead people to dead ends.  And when I get deeper, I can sense that urgency in them as they throw those walls up, as the maze changes and gets darker, trying to keep me out, trying to lead me away from the center.  I know them, though, and I know how to navigate it.  And on very rare occasions, when I’ve got something specific I’m working toward, or have just run out of patience, I know how to completely tear down those walls, and force my way through.

I’ve explored all three of my boys to different levels.  With Kazander, I’ve found that little boy.  And it wasn’t easy.  People always respond differently when you go that far into their minds, when they realize just how much you know, and just how vulnerable they are to you.

His reaction when I started digging deeper than what he was comfortable with was always anger, and open hostility.  That had always been his defense mechanism, his way of keeping people away, because he’d always been so intimidating to everyone around him.  It scared people off.

But it didn’t scare me.  Anger doesn’t intimidate me to begin with, and more than that, I knew where his anger was coming from, and I saw it for what it was.  So I let him scream and rage and hurl his insults and throw his tantrums, and I used what I knew of him to push my way through.  And the deeper I got, the more he realized he couldn’t stop me, the more desperate he became.  There was a lot there that he’d kept hidden.  A lot that he never intended anyone to see.

And I didn’t give him much of a choice, anyway.

I’ve touched Steel’s mind a bit, although I haven’t gone deep enough to really trigger his defense mechanisms yet.  He may be a bit more of a challenge, though, despite the fact that he wants to be broken, that he aches for it.  Because at some point, you really just can’t control it.  Your mind recoils, trying to protect itself.

And while Kazander’s anger and hostility were direct, Steel is quieter, and much more subtle.  He can be a master manipulator when he wants to be, and has become quite good at leading people away from the truth.  Or making them believe they’ve seen the truth, when they haven’t.  He’s never done that with me, though, even with the digging I’ve done so far.

I’m impressed, really.  He’s kept himself open to me, even when it made him uncomfortable, even when it scared him.  Even when he thought I was judging him for his past.  But once I really start digging, he may not be able to control it.  That will be his instinct.  And it will be harder to navigate than the directness of Kazander’s hostility.

But I know him, I know his triggers, I know how to throw him off balance, and I know how to pin him down.  He knows he can’t hide from me for long, and he doesn’t want to, anyway.  He’s the most willing boy I’ve ever come across, and that will definitely help.

Sounder is next.  And from what I’ve seen so far, his instinct is to pull away.  He’s got a very strong fight-or-flight instinct, and neither fight nor flight will be pretty.  Once, I pressured him into letting me see him when he really, really wanted to be left alone.  And he finally relented, but I could feel his tension and anxiety through the phone.  When I got there, as soon as I saw his face, his body language, I knew better than to push him.  Not then, not yet.  And that wasn’t my goal that night, anyway.  I didn’t go over there to push him.  I had two goals that night, one he knows about, and one he doesn’t.  And I achieved them both.

He may be a bit of a challenge, as well.  Ideally, I’m going to want to avoid triggering the fight-or-flight altogether, but the closer I get to him, the more I’m thinking I might need some of that fight.  I’ve used hostility as a tool before, but I had the opportunity to really master the skill with Kazander.  I can certainly use it to my advantage with Sounder.

Which, understandably, has him freaked out.  He knows his patterns, he knows his history, and he knows what’s happened in the past when people have pushed him too far.  It gets to the point that he just can’t control it.  His subconscious takes over, and defends itself.  He’s extremely wary of being pushed past what he’s comfortable with.

So I’ll need to be careful.

Which brings me to how I go about breaking someone.  And it’s a tough thing to answer.  I mean, I’m sure I’ve made it clear at this point that it involves getting to the core of someone’s mind, laying them out, completely vulnerable, completely exposed, unable to hide, with everything out in the open.

That process is more difficult with some than with others, but it’s always complex, always complicated, always tailored exclusively to the sub I’m dealing with.

People I’ve broken have asked how I did it, and I’ve never really had an answer.  Part of that is because there’s a hell of a lot going on, all at once, and I’m assessing and reassessing a situation a thousand times a second, tweaking what I need to do, what I need to say, how I need to act.  Sometimes, I can temporarily become someone completely different, if that’s what it takes.

Because once you get that deep into someone’s mind, it’s like navigating a minefield.  No one else has ever been that deep in their minds, and I don’t care who you are, that’s fucking terrifying, to let someone else in that deeply.  They’re afraid, they’re defensive, they’re reluctant, and they’re unsure of themselves, unsure of what I’ll think of them once I’ve seen that part of them, and unsure of what I’ll do with that level of control, that level of vulnerability.

It’s something that needs to be navigated very carefully, and I need to have an extensive understanding of them to begin with.  There are certain things I need, certain pieces of a puzzle that becomes the map I use to find my way.  I usually need those pieces before I start digging, but once, just getting one of those pieces landed me much deeper in a boy’s mind than either of us expected, and I had to take great care not to make a wrong move.

He had PTSD and was manic-depressive, though, so his mind worked a little differently than the others I’d explored.  And extra caution had to be used to make sure I didn’t accidentally hit one of his triggers for the PTSD (before it was all said and done, I did purposefully hit one of his triggers, but he knew about it and agreed to it long before we took that step.  It was the day I broke him that I needed to push him that far, and he knew for months that it was coming, and knew as soon as I got there that night what was going to happen).

I was lucky, though.  He had a service dog that was specifically trained to sense when he was about to “lose himself,” as he called it, and that dog became a big part of my map.  I always left the bedroom door open so she could come running if I started getting too close.  And before long, I learned his signals, and needed her less and less (it wasn’t always obvious, he internalized a lot of it, and combine that with one of his manic episodes, and shit got complicated, quick.  I had to learn fast).

So I need to get to the deepest part of his mind.  I need to lay him out, completely vulnerable, exposed, and open.  But that’s not all that’s involved.  And the next step completely, 100% depends on the boy, so it’s difficult to describe.

Sometimes, as was the case with Kazander, I need to pull up his weaknesses, his demons, the skeletons in his closet, and confront him with them.  Sometimes in a somewhat-cruel, merciless way.  Sometimes I need to physically and mentally overwhelm him, then use a specific word or act to push him over the edge.  Sometimes I need to push him to the point of exhaustion, and use either pain or humiliation (or both) to make him crumble.

I mean, the options are endless.  And I may have a sneaking suspicion of which tactic I’ll need to use, but the truth of the matter is that I don’t know for sure until I have him at that point.  It’s a part of his mind even he didn’t know existed, so there’s no way to predict it with 100% accuracy.

And the end result is always the same.  He’s brought low, he’s humiliated, he’s embarrassed, he’s made weak, and small, and defenseless.  For some, it’s the first time in their adult lives that they’ve been made to openly cry.  The last of the walls are destroyed, and I finally find that scared little boy.

But I’m not done, once I get there.  For some, it doesn’t take much more than that.  They’ve just been fighting too long, and they’re tired.  The fight has left them, and they’ve given up trying to keep me out.  They want to give in.

Others, though, require more.  Because they can rebuild those walls just as fast as I can tear them down.  Once I have them at their most vulnerable, I need to keep pushing.

Gently, mind you.  Everything must be gentle at this point.  The humiliation ends, the brutal sadism ends, the rough treatment and abuse end.  Things slow down, things get quieter, things get softer.

And again, what happens next depends completely on the boy.  Sometimes I’ll lie him down on his stomach with me on top of him, or on his side with me lying behind him, and hold him close as I slowly, gently fuck him, whispering that he’s loved, he’s safe, and I’m proud of him.

Sometimes I’ll tie him up in one way or another and pull him into my lap, and finger him.  Sometimes I’ll let him curl up around my body while I sound him.  Sometimes I’ll use mild to moderate pain (like clothespins on the nipples, etc) while he clings to me.

Again, options are endless.  But it’s always gentle, always quiet, always slow, and always involves lots of body contact and lots of physical closeness.  In that moment, he needs lots of reassurance.  In that moment, the strong, grown man is gone.  In that moment, he is that little boy.  Everything else falls away.  It’s just him, and me, and the reality I’ve created for him.

Once that happens, once he’s at his lowest, it’s time to start building him back up.

Which, finally, brings me to why.

Why do I bother going through all that?  Why do I make him endure it?

Lots of reasons.  First and foremost, because I want to.  It’s fun.  It indulges the sadist in me while still being positive and constructive.  I can use it to build, rather than destroy.  I can hurt him without harming him.  More than that, I can hurt him while healing him.

Secondly, the human mind fascinates me, and I’ve gotten very good at exploring it, manipulating it, and getting to the core of it.  However, because people aren’t comfortable with their minds being probed that deeply, I rarely get the chance to do it, unless I’m breaking someone.  It gives me an opportunity to use those skills, it gives me a new playground, a new toy to play with.

And thirdly, much of D/s for me is about growth.  Forever moving forward.  No stagnation.  And with so much of my brand of D/s being mental, there simply comes a point where I just can’t go any farther, I can’t take him any deeper, without destroying those walls and getting through.  Because it’s human nature to keep people out.

Everyone, regardless of their past, or whether or not they have demons, is uncomfortable being explored that deeply.  Everyone tries to keep people out. Because, whether we admit it or not, we simply don’t trust others with that.

All three of my boys have more reasons than most to be uncomfortable with it.  Trusting me with their bodies is easy.  Trusting me with their minds is something else entirely.

But without breaking those walls down, I’m limited.  There’s only so much I can do, so far I can go.  Things get stagnant.  Things go stale.

By breaking him, by tearing down all that pretense, all those defenses, it opens up so many new doors.  So many new opportunities.  A whole new level of intensity.

And it’s about personal growth, too.  We’re never done growing, learning, improving.  That’s true for me, and it’s true for my boys.  By breaking through all his defenses, I can lay out his demons for him, and show him that they have no power over him.  Things are always less frightening when they’re pulled out into the light.

So I can build him back up, stronger than he was before.  More at peace than he was before.  I can show him how to let go of anger, how to live with their past.

And how do I know how to do this?  How do I know the effect it’ll have?

Because it was done to me.  By a vanilla man.  Albeit far more clumsily than my own methods, and he had virtually no grasp of what he was doing, but he opened the door for me.  He had only his wisdom, his experience, and his love and affection for me to guide him.  And it was rough.  I was angry then.

And as intimidating as Kazander’s temper is known to be, the one and only time I ever lost control in the last six years, ever lost my temper on him (it was just a couple months ago, actually), freaked him out.  There was no shouting, I have no need to get loud like he does.  But I’ll never forget the look on his face, the way he stepped back, his own anger falling away as he saw a glimpse of what I’m capable of.

I’m grateful for that, though.  Seeing his expression reminded me what I’m capable of, and why I work so hard to keep control.  Seeing that I’d scared him helped me clamp it back down immediately.

I didn’t have that control back then.  And my anger combined with his clumsiness made the process rough, and is a big part of the reason why the relationship didn’t succeed.  But that was twelve years ago.  I’ve learned a lot since then.  And I’ve mastered the process he showed me.  I took what he did and I improved it.  Exponentially.  I made it more effective, more efficient, more constructive.  More precise.

I mastered the ability.  And I am very good at what I do.

8 thoughts on “Breaking boys

  1. Excellent post, A lot I think are frightened by that word broken. Though I have always seen it as rebuilding.

    • Domina Jen says:

      I’m the same way… I kind of think of it like a forest fire. It’s scary and chaotic, but completely necessary for the health of the forest. Things have to be torn down to be rebuilt.

  2. stan says:

    So break, tear down, rebuild. Then you break, tear down and rebuild. Each time the person becomes better, stronger emotionally, spiritually, and, I would assume, even physically. Is a point reached where there is nothing to break, no walls to tear down, no healing to take place. Does one when reach a point that there is no longer a “Scared, little boy”? Or is this rebuilding infinite and that “boy” always scared and little?

    respectfully stan

    • Domina Jen says:

      Theoretically, I guess it’s possible that there would come a point where it wouldn’t be necessary. But my relationship with Kazander is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in, and we haven’t gotten remotely close to reaching that point.

  3. Marci F.. says:

    I understand the general concept of “breaking” a submissive, but can’t really picture what it is you, or even another domme, are actually doing. What I don’t quite get is what you are doing physically that actually scares them to the point of uncontrolled crying. I assume that you have them restrained and possibly gagged and blindfolded and are trying to cause pain of some sort using corporal punishment such as caning or even pegging. I’m also assuming that you are doing some sort of “mind fuck” during the physical play. Is there something more that I’m missing? I’m especially wondering about what constitutes “brutal sadism”. Is it a matter of threatening a hard limit or even crossing the line on a serious soft limit? I’m also assuming that you wouldn’t, for example, be pulling out someone’s finger nails or doing a complete burdizzo clamping. But something like actually doing a nipple piercing or banding might be within the realm of possibilities? I realize that every person is different, but is it possible for you to describe or give examples of such “play”?’ Ommiting unnecessary personal details, of course. Or have I missed the point entirely?
    I find what you describe and your philosophy to be facinating, although it is sometmes a challenge to get my head wrapped around it. To give you context, my partner and I don’t play with pain. When we do use restraints it’s in a sensual context so that the bottom that night can’t escape and use their own hands.
    Sorry if I am verbose. Thanks

    • Domina Jen says:

      This is quite a complex question, and the answer will likely get longer than is practical for a comment. So I’ll answer this in a post.

      • Marci F.. says:

        Thank you for considering the question(s) for a post. I am facinated by the topic in general, but comparatively speaking have only a small amount of actual experience. I’m not innocent, only inexperienced. I am prone to fantasize as much as most people, but would like a glimpse of what really goes on. We do have friends who are into this sort of play but I’m too shy to ask about details. Every established couple has their own style, so to speak…. There is certainly no one way for anything. You write about D/s so well, I’m now curious about how experienced couples might make this work, even if we never try this ourselves. If any of this is too personal or too basic, I apologize for occupying valuable bandwidth. Feel free to delete or simply ignore.

      • Domina Jen says:

        Thank you so much for your kind words!

        Of course, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. That’s one of the reasons I have the blog in the first place.

        There’s no such thing as a question that’s too basic, and I highly doubt there’s such a thing as too personal. You have nothing to apologize for, and you’re welcome to ask whatever you’d like.

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