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Choose Your Words Carefully IV: Dehumanization VS Depersonalization

Author: Norische

Filed in: training, speech

Within the vanilla world there are many words that we use without consideration. Words that seem ordinary within one realm gain quite a different meaning within the realm of BDSM. Simple words that are very similar in meaning can be worlds apart in definition within the safe haven of a dungeon.

Again we take a look at two such words, "Dehumanization" and "Depersonalization. Once again there is a fine line of difference in the vanilla world but within the walls of a Mistress/Master\'s home there is a huge difference.

Dehumanization is loosely defined as "depriving an individual of human qualities, rights, and privileges". When someone desires to be a human puppy then one would enjoy being dehumanized, because they seek another reality; one where human boundaries are undesired and unnecessary. There are many "pets" out there that live a happy, fulfilling life as a puppy, a kitten, a horse, or any number or exotic pets far too numerous to mention. Some individuals question the logic of being treated like an animal or pet, but in all truth I know many individuals that treat their pets better than they treat their spouse. As long as the dehumanization is something that is done willingly and properly, it may add a whole new arena of experiences within an individuals BDSM world.

Depersonalization is defined by Merriam-Webster\'s Dictionary as " a psychopathological syndrome characterized by the loss of identity and feelings of unreality and strangeness about one\'s own behavior." In the vanilla world this is undoubtedly seen as a negative thing, especially with the connotations of being psychologically damaging. However, within the BDSM world the definition of the word is slightly different. Depersonalization is the removal of personal identity from an individual and the formation of an alternate reality. Basically, the individual gives up their right to be an individual. Human furniture is one good example of depersonalization. Another such example is formal Gorean speech, such as the removal of the words "I", "me", and "my" as well as the loss of one\'s own name. Instead of saying "I am hungry" it becomes, "Your slave is hungry", or "this slave is hungry". The concept of being an individual becomes foreign, even to the point of feeling out of place or awkward somehow. When an individual is depersonalized he or she may loose touch with their emotions, with their needs or wants and the may eventually loose touch with reality. Depersonalization can be done successfully with minimal long term effects as long as the individual is allowed to maintain touch with reality to some degree. Keeping someone as a piece of living art may be entertaining, but not at the expense of their sanity.

When you wish a specific behavior to occur you must use specific words. Never assume that an individual will know the exactly what you mean unless you define the words you choose to use, and exactly what they mean to you.

As with everything this is my opinion, take what you will and leave the rest. If you wish to contact me, my email address is If you wish to see more of my work you may find a complete listing of all my writings at…. in the files section. Norische

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