In this article, the base, origination, and factors responsible for submissive behavioral traits, the light and dark sides of being submissive, being submissive in relationships, how to be submissive, and the importance of submissiveness are discussed in detail.
According to the psychology of human behavior, there are generally four types of personalities: dominant, submissive, domicile, and aggressive. The highlight of the matter discussed below is the “submissive” personality type, which is opposed to the dominant personality type; they serve as a perfect binary combo.
1. What is a Submissive Personality?
Submissive behavior is popularly known as obeying behavior; someone who is extremely loyal and obedient to the power which directs the orders is known as submissive. Service mentality is one of the survival skills, and if you don’t have it, you need to find the answer to the question “how to be submissive.”
Submissive is a behavioral trait and personality type purely based on the psychology of human behavior, and human behavior keeps changing and evolving due to different reasons; someone who is observed as submissive in the family doesn’t mean that person cannot show dominance in other spheres of life.
Every person keeps on exploring the unknown, unexpected, and hidden side of their personality throughout life, and mainly, it’s the power dynamic and factors like a family environment, economic condition, political ideology, religious beliefs, and sociocultural norms which are majorly responsible in shaping our personality and deciding our role play in it.
In further discussion, we will put submissive personality in all possible spheres of life and observe the factors throughout.
2. Factors affecting Submissive Behavior:
2.1) Family factor: family childhood and parenting style plays a very important role in shaping any personality. It is the most basic and beginning period of any child’s life, and from childhood, every child is taught to surrender to the authority to obey their parents.
This particular face of a child is the center of any parent’s life. They play a very important role in shaping the personality. Still, when the parenting style is not so flexible to allow the child to grow their wings by making mistakes and learning from it, then from childhood itself, children start becoming submissive, less confident, and introverted, always waiting for orders to come by because of the internalized authoritative behavior they are exposed to most of the time.
They lose confidence in themselves because they believe whatever they do will be a mistake. What makes them happy is the authority’s approval and praise.
The most highlighted qualities in children with submissive personalities are indecisiveness, low guts, low self-esteem, high sensitivity, and reservation.
Children who have faced any trauma or are exposed to abuse and harassment are prone to developing mental disorders which impact their life in adulthood. For example, the book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called The Purple Hibiscus tells a story about an authoritarian father, his submissive wife, and two children.
2.2) Economic factor: People with low economic backgrounds develop a submissive attitude in their professional lives because their life struggles have taught them to always bent down and follow orders to survive like the labor class.
Money is an essential need of human beings. These clearly defined power dynamics, the relationship between the master and the slave, has taught us to follow the rules and adhere to instruction to stay longer in the race of life.
These clearly defined power dynamics taught us where to take orders. For example, in a school, students must follow the teacher, the teacher must follow the principal, the principal must follow the district magistrate, and the district magistrate must follow the education minister. In the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, there is a clear depiction of slave and master relations and much more; it is one of the classics and an interesting story to read.
2.3) Education and Profession: After getting enough lessons from parents, a child is sent to an institution where the positions are clearly defined, and the importance of following orders is kept in mind.
These are for knowledge-building, learning, and survival. Still, there have been past extreme cases of punishments in convent schools affecting the child’s life badly, the cases of bullying and harassment by seniors and other boys for which a term is used called “ragging” in colleges which have destroyed lives and to prevent anti ragging clubs have been formed to maintain order and discipline in the campuses.
Some professions demand complete submission, like armies and terrorism, which are extremely opposite to each other because one has been taught to die to save the nation and nationals, and the other has been made suicidal and is ready for mass killing.
2.4) Sociocultural factor: Sociocultural norms are a matching mix of education, popular beliefs, stereotypes, and tradition from where the person starts perceiving one’s lifestyle, identity, and sense of belonging. That’s why the word “foreigner” is used for a person from another culture.
In eastern culture, children are expected to follow their parent’s ways and answer back blindly; putting forward their point of view is no less than any criminal act. Similarly, a wife is always expected to act as submissive, inferior, and blind followers to their husband’s order, the elderly man is seen as the head of the family, and all the family members must adhere to his orders and be grateful for things he offers without any questioning because this much is itself observed as the sign of disrespect.
In western culture, the submissiveness of women in romantic relationships is very much appreciated.
There are stereotypes about beauty and body which also submissiveness follows like white skin and a flat stomach are dominant beauty standards in Asian and European culture. There are real-life examples to learn from, like the abolition of slavery in America, women being given voting rights after men, and the demand for fair daughters-in-law in India, etc.
2.5) Political factor: Political leaders in the past and present have successfully proved their dominance by hypnotizing the public mind through agitating hate speeches in the name of patriotism and nationalism.
These prominent events have been continuously proving the submissiveness of the public; there are famous theories about mob mentality by political analysts where the influence has been discussed, media and newspaper articles have been an important medium, and nowadays, social media is used as a tool to influence the minds of the youths.
Especially the economic backwardness of people has always urged them to surrender to authoritarian leaders; the unforgettable event of this kind in history is the mass killing of Jews in Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler.
This capability of the blind, followed by common people and doing things to an extreme extent, like mass killing, lynching, and mass destruction, is a sign of a submissive personality trait.
2.6) Religious factor: Religion is one of the power factors that demand submission from followers worldwide. Still, religious leaders have been successful in molding real concepts and feeding extremism in the mind of followers.
As per the knowledge of spirituality, religious concepts have always been about devotion, open to discussions, and interpreted in many ways possible. Still, people have been using it to win over the minds of the masses, promoting hate in the name of blasphemy and extremism in the name of devotion.
There have been religious wars in almost every continent, wars against kings and leaders sponsored by religious leaders fueled by their false teachings, for example, the clash of Protestants and Catholics in France, the Shia and Sunni war in Iraq, and the Hindu Muslim war in India during partition.
People have always been submissive towards religion and faith until and unless the new class called atheists came into existence.
3. What is Submissive in a Relationship?
Women’s empowerment had begun, which is good. Still, history is proof that women have always been considered unequal to men, centuries of patriarchal construction have always presented women as inferior to men in all possible aspects of life except beauty, pleasure, and giving birth to children. Women have always been observed as objects of use for pleasure, good enough for home chores which is a jobs of no importance because you can’t utilize them economically, a child-making machine, and submissive.
Women have been treated and trained in a way to produce submissive, it is always taught to them from childhood itself from their mothers only, and also they learn the behavior naturally when they grow up watching their mothers bending down over and over in front of their father and who doesn’t follow the tradition get punished, no wonder why crime against women remains on hype in most of the countries of the world, especially domestic violence, molestation, and rape.
Indian culture has festivals like Durga Pooja, where they celebrate the different avatars of the goddess Durga, but the same country has the highest number of crimes against women. In real life, wives of Indian culture should treat their husbands as Lord, and defying his orders is considered a sin, due to which their husbands keep hitting their self-respect almost every day.
When it comes to sex life, it is always the husband showing the desire and playing the dominance because open-minded women are regarded as women of loose character. Modern India is experiencing the rise of the educational class, and social media has opened several gates for women’s employment opportunities and expression of thought, due to which the importance of equality of genders are been inculcated among the masses still, it is just the beginning. This fight has a long way to go.
Still, in most cases, women or wives can be found as playing the submissive in such a country that has a history of powerful women leaders like Rani Lakshmi Bai, Raziya Sultan, Kashi Bai Bajirao Ballaad, Indira Gandhi, Pratibha Patil, and many more, women of opinion are mocked because it is considered as something not normal, untraditional, and western influence if you are a man reading this than let me remind you to learn how to be submissive for a long-term relationship in the 21st century.
Most men in modern India as well prefer submissive wives because this is what they have learned from their fathers and forefathers, one who tries to defy the norms by supporting his studies and ambition of their wife has to face the criticism of society, so patriarchy and tradition have been contributing greatly in giving the submissive tag to women.
There are cases where women have voluntarily agreed to serve the men by becoming their submissive, but the cases where men agree to become submissive have not been encountered generally. The movie, Fifty Shades of Grey put the concept of submissive to life.
In a healthy relationship, the power factor is the exchange of role play where the dominant partner lets the other partner do the power play during intimacy; this is advised for healthy sex life, the flexibility, understanding, support, and room for personal space makes the everyday life little easier and better.
4. Dark and Light Sides of Submissive Personalities
There are advantages and disadvantages to almost every aspect of a human being, especially when not applied rightly. In extreme cases, submissive behavior turns out to be disadvantageous; there are no fewer examples to prove the result of disruption that has continued till ages about exploiting extreme submissive personalities.
The lighter trait of a submissive personality is that the person can be identified with the characteristics of selfless service, more giving, reliability, and emotional intelligence makes them more approachable and considered good listeners. This goodness makes them the target for physical and emotional exploitation by other dominant personalities and institutions.
The darker side of the submissive person is the blind following, easily influenced thought process, high sensitivity, indecisiveness, high dependency, and no guts for taking a stand for their actions. These darker sides make them prone to other mental illnesses like depression and anxiety and give them the tag of toxic ones in their romantic relationships.
The person who acts as a submissive in one of the spheres of life doesn’t mean is submissive in all cases; the personality and behavior can vary depending upon various scenarios and experiences of life.
A good amount of submissive behavior is always appreciated. Still, start becoming way too submissive. You will start self-harm and will let others exploit you as well by inflicting physical and emotional pain, and your self-respect will be crushed in your everyday life; take the example of servants working underway to the dominant boss, the story of slaves or sex workers.
5. How to be Submissive?
To be submissive, one needs to know about empathy and emotional intelligence. Through them, one can try being compassionate towards others by putting themselves in their shoes which requires good listening skills without judgment; this makes a person more approachable during difficulties or for bits of advice; the person with these qualities makes a good counselor.
If you are too self-centered, try giving away your power for the time being it will make you feel lighter observing things as they are, and living life in a flow will fill you with gratitude and self-motivation.
If you have lost excitement in your sex life, you must exchange roles with your partner, let your partner do the power play during intimacy, and experience being submissive. The exchange of roles and giving away power is essential to make the balance, and modern women mostly prefer guys who understand the importance of equality and know how to balance. These are some of the power-packed tips for long-term commitment and healthy relationships.
Extreme dominance doesn’t work in the modern world; it eventually turns the relationship from toxic to dirty. Earlier women were forced to stay in marriages despite being abusive because they couldn’t support themselves financially, but now the time has changed.
Feminine qualities like compassion, endurance to pain, and beauty are associated with women because of biological reasons of period pain. Labor pain doesn’t mean women are born to endure abuses of all kinds.
By being submissive, you can experience the power of selfless love and the reflection of it, it is mostly seen that children are closer to their mothers when it comes to sharing feelings and asking for things, and due to that, in older age, the father remains an outsider in the group because all his life he has been disciplined, authoritative, and cold towards his family, so now in the old age he remains lonelier because he finds it hard to express his love and remains unapproachable.
This might seems like a very normal way of life. Still, studies have shown that when you have nobody to share compassion with, it makes you feel hollow and empty from within, lighting the negative feeling of jealousy and envy towards your family and filling you up with bitterness.
Being submissive can help you earn valuable connections where you will get to know people better because people choose to be vulnerable in safe spaces and like to share their deepest feelings about love, past trauma, or other experiences. Still, generally, introversion is linked with submissive behavior. Introverts find it hard to open up in front of new people, but you must try doing this often, especially in during teenage and adulthood, to gain good friends and life experiences.
There are generally two kinds of animals known as domestic and wild; domestic animals can be your pet because you consider them safe or less harmless to have in the house or around you, but wild beasts like tigers, leopards, or bears cannot be domesticated, even in zoos they are fed less than required to keep their energies low, they take this precaution as a safety measure, this example is enough to tell you the importance of submissive behavior.
The submissive personalities generally have so much compassion in their eyes, are welcoming to the one in need, and are ready to put effort if asked for help; they are just resilient enough not to volunteer at their own will because of the unsure mind. The matter mentioned above will hopefully resolve the conflict regarding how to be submissive.