You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Canít Make It Hook Itself Up to a Car Battery)

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Well, that met my daily recommended intake of WHAT THE F***. I'm starting to wonder if 4chan is sending you letters.

First time I can honestly say:

Good advice. Well worth listening to.

I actually agreed with the advice for both letters this time.

I think I have another regular column I'll be reading now. Thanks Lara!

Poor guy. I've been there. I've given her so much confidence that she couldn't live without me.

When I left her she lost most of it again, which after a while actually grew back on her without me as she realised she never needed me to be confident, I just taught her how to.

Make sure she doesn't get obsessive about you and you're fine. Teach her that she is more confdient and that she never needed you to do that.

- My personal opinion on this.

Something tells me that jumper cables attached to a car battery could potentially be fatal. Just be careful.

thear GMG, have you heard of "the penitent brothers."? This is a semi-secret society of flagellants among the Hispanics of Colorado and New Mexico...

yah, those are christians and like pain, maybe, just maybe you might find someone over there that is into your kinks ;)

I'm trying very hard not to quote Gurren Lagann in a response to the first letter.

Is that second guy sure that he's Christian? Cause he might be more Catholic based on his fetishism for pain.

InsomniJack:
Is that second guy sure that he's Christian? Cause he might be more Catholic based on his fetishism for pain.

ZING!

Aside: ... Yeah, actually I'm surprised, this column has had some damn good advice. Surprisingly tasteful way to approach the second letter, too. You could say I'm getting a real CHARGE out of reading this. 8D *spinning bow tie*

The BDSM community has MANY christians within it who are also looking for people of similiar fates.

Do not give up hope at all, you're more common than you think.

InsomniJack:
Is that second guy sure that he's Christian? Cause he might be more Catholic based on his fetishism for pain.

Um....Catholics are Christians, just thought I'd point that out

Oh, yeah, the e-stim guy might want to make sure he's buying safe and tested material that was designed exactly for what he's using it. In case his car battery comment wasn't a joke.

That reminds me, I forgot to read Savage Love this week.

Well of course you can't get a horse to hook itself up to a car battery! It only has hooves, no thumbs! Besides, that far too much power for a 1-horsepower engine!

I'll definitely say that last letter was one of the... odder things I've seen today. Electricity is dangerous, having it go through your body is really dangerous, and having it well... go through the nips... that has to be REAAALLY dangerous...
But hey! I ain't gonna judge, some people need to jump-start their engines...

Formica Archonis:
That reminds me, I forgot to read Savage Love this week.

Wait, someone else on this forum reads Savage Love?

That said, yeah; both letters received decent advice.

Blair Bennett:

Formica Archonis:
That reminds me, I forgot to read Savage Love this week.

Wait, someone else on this forum reads Savage Love?

Yup. Not religiously, but almost every week.

Blair Bennett:

Formica Archonis:
That reminds me, I forgot to read Savage Love this week.

Wait, someone else on this forum reads Savage Love?

That said, yeah; both letters received decent advice.

I read that from time to time too.

Anyway, second guy left me in a bit of a daze. First guy, real good advice Lara!

"Who knows, the love of your life may not know yet that she likes hooking her nipples up to jumper cables"

Day=made.

Also, the second was quite an interesting case. Odd, yes, but I guess it proves that there is every kind of person imaginable out there. I just hope he and she makes doubly sure not to maim each other and both realize that hooking any body part, especially sensitive ones, to car batteries is a very, very bad idea, despite how funny it is on paper.

The first one was far more alarming. It sounds like she's had some bad things happen to her in the past. I hope and pray that she really pulls through this one.

Ok. That may be the strangest combo I think I've ever seen, a devout Christian S&M practitioner. Certainly rare, but there is never a fetishist who is alone in this world.

I like this column, but I feel she tries too hard to be "nerdy". "But in this battle, you can only be an NPC, not the tank." and "search for validation from every Tom, Dick and Sarah Connor in the phone book" is a little much. We may like games, but we don't need them referenced in things to make us interested. It's reminds me of tv shows that have a youth minister who tries to use "hip" lingo to appeal to the kids more :D

Edit: I re-read and found that there weren't many references this week, but there is usually quite a bit.

Awesomeforthemasses:
I'm trying very hard not to quote Gurren Lagann in a response to the first letter.

It took me a moment to understand what you were talking about. Well played good sir, well played.

Just to clarify, electric current from one nip to the other = very dangerous (it crosses the heart).

From one side of a nip to the other, not so much.

Of course, too much electicity may be a problem, no matter where it's hooked up. I'm not sure the amperage of a car battery at full charge, but I suspect it's not for light players.

238U.[1]

[1] In the event that Escapist requires me to view a commercial before getting a code, I will simply not post. Depending on the frequency, this may temper or cease my future participation in the Escapist community. Apologies in advance, if this policy prevents me from replying to you when it is proper to do so.

But confidence isn't a bottle of wine you can hand out as needed. It's a moonshine brewed in your own bathtub, fermented from your own blood, sweat and tears.

That line has just made me go from not being sure about this whole segment, to adoring it. Excellent article.

Blair Bennett:
Wait, someone else on this forum reads Savage Love?

It's in my morning coffee for Thursdays (the firefox thing, not actual coffee). And I archive binged when I found it a year or so ago so I've read all the columns available online, too.
Glad to see there are several of us here.

Wait, there are people out there who don't enjoy electric foreplay? Huh. Call me stumped. As to the idea of S&M loving Christians being a rarity, I may not be able to say that many are, but definitely more than a handful here and there. Dichotomous people are in abundance, after all. And that's not even stepping into the tasteless, but amusing, category of jokes about Priests and Nuns and their various levels of exposing their own repression. My advice? Go look for the sheltered ones. They tend to be the ones to really let loose, given a bit of trust and half a chance.

''Who knows, the love of your life may not know yet that she likes hooking her nipples up to jumper cables. She may just need a loving partner to introduce her to the idea.''

By far the most awesome sentence ever written in an advice column :D

Lara Crigger:
Love FAQ: You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can't Make It Hook Itself Up to a Car Battery)

Dear Lord, please bless this ball gag.

Read Full Article

For Looking to Buff:

You're in a very difficult position. While Ms. Crigger is right, and you can't do it for her, you've also got to be quite careful how you show support -- what I mean by this is that you need to be aware of what it is you're really supporting.

For instance, if I come up to you and say, "Should I lose some weight?" you might think that it would be a show of support to say, "No, I think you look fantastic!" This should be a way of supporting my self-image, right? Not quite.

The behavior you've just supported isn't me holding a positive self-image. It's me allowing you to hold my positive self-image. You've just shown me that I can come to you when I'm feeling low, and you'll tell me how great I am. And that feels good, so I'm going to keep doing that. And, like an emotional drug, I'm going to need more of it as time goes on.

Instead, when I ask if I should lose weight, you might consider asking me a question in return. "Why do you think you should lose weight?" Notice, I didn't say, "Why do you want to lose weight?" At this point, neither of us knows if I'm the one that wants to lose weight, of if it's just "the world" that I think wants me to. Keep the conversation short, but keep it focused on what I think about myself. And hey, there's nothing wrong with saying, after awhile, "Well, if you want to, we could do some things together -- exercise, diet, whatever. I don't think it's a big deal, but if it's important to you, I'll help."

You're putting the ball in my court. You're giving me control over the situation (whether or not I want to do this), rather than making the decision for me (even accidentally). We learn to make more confident decisions by making more decisions. Good decisions empower us. Bad decisions teach us things to avoid, and they also teach us we can survive the consequences.

We all know it's usually a bad idea to "give a man a fish," but what about situations like this, where you can't really even "teach a man to fish?" There's a third step, in which you gently and carefully guide a man into discovering fishing for himself.

Above all, just be aware of what you're really helping this girl see or learn. You don't want to seem not to care, sure -- apathy is a poison. But remember that misplaced reassurance can be a drug, too.

Dastardly:
For instance, if I come up to you and say, "Should I lose some weight?" you might think that it would be a show of support to say, "No, I think you look fantastic!" This should be a way of supporting my self-image, right? Not quite.

The behavior you've just supported isn't me holding a positive self-image. It's me allowing you to hold my positive self-image. You've just shown me that I can come to you when I'm feeling low, and you'll tell me how great I am. And that feels good, so I'm going to keep doing that. And, like an emotional drug, I'm going to need more of it as time goes on.

Dastardly gave good advice, but rather than asking "Why do you...", which can sound accusing, I would suggest instead that you answer "It's not my call to make. It's your body. It shouldn't matter what I think. What matters is what you think" or something along those lines.
It can be easy to use other people as a crutch so you don't have to make your own decisions, but it doesn't build self confidence. Be ready to say things like "no, what do YOU want/think?" often.

Also while I don't suggest you stop paying compliments, be aware that complimenting someone who is insecure can backfire. The person will hear the compliment, think it's not them, and look at the divide between the compliment and "the truth", in other words compare their perceived self to the compliment and feel bad about themself. If she refuses the compliment, it won't be a compliment anymore. She needs to be the one, in the end, complimenting herself by listening to what you say, and thinking "he's right. I AM beautiful/smart/nice/whatever". And for that she needs to do things for herself and get satisfaction from it.
It can be very hard and challenging, and I certainly recommend therapy to help, but it's good that she has you there to support her.

I really understand what you are going trough, I also have a friend who, whenever I compliment her, gets mad at me because she thinks I am lying.

Going to try the advice, see if it works.

The second one is either a moron, hypocrite or troll.

Devout Christian... that is into SM? No, sorry, Christianity doesn't approve of self-mutilation or harming self. Either one or another.

I bet the second letter writer really enjoys Mel Gibson's the passion of christ. Like "really" enjoys it.

Abedeus:
The second one is either a moron, hypocrite or troll.

Devout Christian... that is into SM? No, sorry, Christianity doesn't approve of self-mutilation or harming self. Either one or another.

You gotta be kidding me. Christianity is all about punishing yourself for stuff you've done or failed to do, renouncing things you like out of love for God and resisting doing things you want to do because you're told not to. How is any of that incompatible with S&M?

Avistew:
Dastardly gave good advice, but rather than asking "Why do you...", which can sound accusing, I would suggest instead that you answer "It's not my call to make. It's your body. It shouldn't matter what I think. What matters is what you think" or something along those lines.

I've found this shuts people down, particularly if they have similar attachment/abandonment issues as are evident in this case. Because it's a clear answer, "It's not my call, it shouldn't matter," it does not invite further discussion the way a question does. When I've done that myself, I get one of two responses:

1. She assumed it's because I don't care. And because she is already attaching her self worth to others' opinions, "I don't care about this question" becomes "I don't care about you." Especially likely if she already thinks you're looking for reasons to leave.

2. She assumed the worst possible answer. After all, what reason would I have not to answer unless I was protecting her from the harsh and awful truth--that I think she does need to lose weight?

Questions are far better at getting a person to think inwardly, because they have to search for those answers. Giving them answers allows them to focus on your answer... or, more accurately, the way in which they perceive your answer. It maintains that external locus of power. It's actually pretty critical that the questions be about her, and at first it will feel a little bit "accusatory," simply because she has spent so much time avoiding facing herself.

Also while I don't suggest you stop paying compliments, be aware that complimenting someone who is insecure can backfire. The person will hear the compliment, think it's not them, and look at the divide between the compliment and "the truth", in other words compare their perceived self to the compliment and feel bad about themself.

It can also backfire in other, sneakier ways. One of my experiences was with a girl who had an eating disorder. She believed she was fat and ugly, and this caused her to be averse to food, embarrassed to eat, and occasionally prone to vomiting after meals. When she would ask, "Do I look fat?" (or some variation of that), and we would say, "You look beautiful!" here's what she was hearing:

"Clearly what you've been doing is working, because we all think you look great. Keep up the good work!" And we were reinforcing the disorder. (Obviously if we'd done the opposite, "No, you look like you're ill or something," this wouldn't have done her any good, either--she'd feel ashamed, fall back on the destructive behaviors out of habit, but also be less likely to seek advice or help from us in the future.)

The only thing that helped was not answering the question. Deflecting questions back, but in a loving way. "Why do you ask?" or "Why do you feel that way?" got the ball rolling. No coincidence, it's the same thing her therapist ended up doing when she got help.

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