Friday, May 11, 2012

Submission as a "Personality Disorder" ???!!!

Really?  Freaking seriously? The powers that be DARE to suggest my Knight my have a personality disorder because he is submissive?  Personally, I find the whole thing laughable, but that's what happened.

A little background. My Knight has a mentally ill daughter. She is under 10 years old, and has been in residential therapy for two years with no real end in sight. She is an amazing child and I love her like she were my own. But, she inherited a serious mental illness from her biomom. Not her fault.. not our fault .. just the way things are. As part of her overall treatment program her therapy team asked my Knight and I to submit to psych evals. Okay.. no problem . How this is going to help the child with schitzaffective disorder, ODD and RAD, I do NOT know.. but sure.. whatever. We took the evals about a month ago.

The results came back yesterday. In my Kight's results the computer program said his answers showed Histrionic Personality Features. I didn't have the foggiest idea what that meant, so I looked it up on-line and found this:PubMed Health article on Histrionic personality disorder

According to this article from Pubmed Health people with Histrionic personality disorder are (among other things) :

  • easily influenced by others
  • Overly sensitive to criticism or disapproval
  • Constantly seeking reassurance or approval

My Knight's computerized test results claim that he avoids autonomy and prefers to follow rather than lead. It goes on further to say that he is prone to submitting to authority, regardless of circumstances.

Okay.. I will admit these things are *mostly true* about my Knight.   He is easily influenced by others... but not indiscriminately. Obviously I have influence over my Knight, as do our kids, sometimes other people he respects, as long as I approve of him allowing that influence.  Yes, my Knight is sensitive to criticism or disapproval. Would I say he's overly sensitive? That's kind of subjective, I think. What one person considers overly sensitive might be acceptable and normal to another. My Knight reacts to me. When I am unhappy with him he is unsure of what to do next. He needs my guidance and reassurance at those times. He feels that if I am unhappy with something he's done he has failed me.  And Yes.. my Knight seeks my reassurance and approval. Constantly? I don't know. Over the years I have gotten in the habit of providing that reassurance and approval regularly. When we first got together, yes, he needed my reassurance and approval constantly.
BUT --- he was still recovering from the damage his ex-wife did. (did I mention his daughter's mental health challenges are inherited from her biomom? Yeah.. her mental illness put my Knight through more than 10 years of pure hell. She used his submissive nature to manipulate and use him. It has taken him years to recover.)

I would guess that these traits are mostly true about most submissive people, male or female. I mean... and please, correct me if I'm wrong. I have no personal experience here. I am basing this off of observing my Knight and what I have read. But I would guess that most submissives crave the approval of their dominant. Most probably are easily influenced by the dominant, as well. And, I would guess that disapproval from the dominant effects most submissives. Most submissives, by nature prefer to follow rather than lead.

In the rest of the report, all the "symptoms"  listed by the computer point to my Knight's submissive tendencies.  *every single one of them*. There was nothing in there that surprised me. I knew all these things about him already... they are what makes him submissive to me.

And that is NOT a personality disorder!  

To the credit of the therapist who did the evals, he said in the summary that my Knight does not show any signs of personality disorder which needs treatment,  and that he seems perfectly well adjusted and happy in his life situation. So, no.. my Knight has not been diagnosed with, or even suggested to have, a personality disorder.

My indignation is with the simple fact the computer program that does the scoring for these personality tests tags submissive people as having a probable personality disorder. I think that kind of blanket evaluation could lead submissive people to think there is something wrong with them. When, really... seeing submission as a personality disorder is something wrong with the diagnostic tool, the mental health system, and society in general.

The therapist who did my eval did ask some questions about my Knight. The type of questions he asked me led me to believe they suspected our FLR arrangement. I don't know that either of us tried to hide it... I mean... really.. why bother? Anybody who has known us for longer than 5 minutes can probably see that I am very clearly in charge.


  1. Mistress Angelique,

    The BDSM community has recently turned a corner in acceptance of the lifestyle. There are many PhDs who gladly testify in courtrooms as to the D/s relationship dynamic being a healthy expression of interpersonal sexuality. I wouldn’t worry too much bout it.



  2. SH, I'm not worried about it. It strikes me as unfair to submissives and unnecessarily judgmental.I know my Knight does not have a personality disorder. But I wonder about the impact that kind of reference might have on a couple less secure with themselves and each other. The couple seeking therapy to figure out where they are going in their relationship, for example. That kind of inaccurate evaluation could color both their perceptions of themselves, their relationship, and each other.

  3. Angelique,
    If it is any consolation, we are all damaged goods. We all have faults, querks, insecurities and who knows what else. Some of those imperfections are deemed as acceptable while others are not by society. I am sure I have some of the same traits that your husband has and I know some of mine stem from childhood experiences and my upbringing. I wouldn't worry much about this. Just love him and enjoy his love. I'm enjoying your blog :) Wrote something about you two in my last post. Have a wonderful weekend

  4. It took me some time to understand, but my belief is that a loving, obedient, submissvie man is truly a gift from God. Whatever the so called professionals say, your man is happy in your service. It is completly natrual for many men to need the firm voice of a strong woman in their life. The need for loving female authority is not a fault. It is a blessing.

    Love, Kathy

  5. And that was my point, Kathy.It's not that I think there is something wrong with submissive men. I absolutely do not. My issue is with the testing that would label something as natural and normal as a "personality disorder."

  6. I found your post troubling because I thought (i.e. hoped) that the practicing psychiatrist/psychologist has by now accepted FLR/WLM relationships that are not (in their words) dysfunctional. There may be many pop-psychology tests of dubious origin (such as those produced by anti-gay Christian groups) that should be taken with a grain of salt.

    1. Maybe they have, Dave. I don't know. This particular test that my Knight and I took was given to us and scored by our daughter's psychiatrist.



Knight has a thing for body piercings. I have a couple piercings that he gets to play with and take photos of when he's been really good...