In the BDSM community, there are quite a few mentions of TPE. This is especially true when discussing fantasies. Despite the fact that there are many fantasy-based desires for a Total Power Exchange, very few people are actually comfortable engaging in it, in real life. Slaves are often afraid to give that much of themselves to another person, even though the thought may temporarily excite them. Given that TPE involves a lack of limits and completely entrenched slavery with potentially very little slave feedback, it can be a controversial practice, as well. BDSM often hinges on consent, and the gray area of consensual non-consent is a hot-button issue for the community. Still, TPE remains a desirable dynamic for many slaves. As with any lifestyle choices, it is not without any bumps in the journey. 

Just as in vanilla life, the road to mastering lifestyles in BDSM can be rather arduous. There are factors that will distract, discourage, deflate, and possibly defeat. If mastery were easy, everyone would master something. In practice, we all know that is not the case. Even though it will be difficult, we still strive for the best possible outcome, because achieving the extraordinary is extremely fulfilling. So it is worth the effort to surmount these obstacles. Without further ado, here are some common stumbling blocks and how to get past them:

Distraction is a part of everyday life. Technology, humanity, and the fast-paced modern experience, all contribute to a very distracting atmosphere. As a slave, it may be tempting to "cash out" and let those factors win, over your commitment to servitude. After all, who would rather dutifully check off all of the items on a list (even things they don't particularly find enjoyable) rather than check to see what's happening on Facebook, or Fetlife? 

But this temptation for distraction can be built into the framework of how a life is controlled. If you are aware your slave has a few pleasures revolving around the checking or updating of technology, engaging in chit-chat on social media, or "zoning out" and watching people in their daily tasks, you can take advantage of that. Locking down the television, computer, cell phone, or caging them may be a worthwhile consideration, to gain a measure of control. If you are taking on the great responsibility of TPE, you must take into consideration the fact that automatic obedience is too difficult a task to obtain very easily. When you are gone - working, leisure, vacation, you must consider what the slave will be tasked with, and what will happen if they are able to gain free time. 

High protocol instructions are often the answer to this question of idle distraction. Instructing the slave in how to tackle free time, making a grand, overall list of things to do when there is nothing else to do, and enforcing rules about how to refrain from distraction are ways to combat this problem. 

Examples: 

1. If you encounter free time, a deep cleaning is required - cleaning the crevices of all grout, underneath the cabinets, freeing the corners of cobwebs and dust, removing air vent covers and debris removal (etc). 

2. Things to do, in the long term: painting the exterior of the house, affixing the mailbox to the railing with stronger materials, buying the items to power wash the concrete, filling the basement floor with cement where there are holes, cleaning out the damage from the dry rot. 

3. Cell phone is to be monitored with an app that tracks and reports texts, calls, GPS coordinates, and internet usage. Net nanny and keylogs update Me with computer usage. If necessary, changing the WiFi password until Dominant returns home. 

Discouragement can strike at any time, and it may become debilitatingly demoralizing, which is something that needs to be addressed before it becomes relationship-ending. Slaves will have moments where they feel they did not live up to expectations. Even still, they may feel displeased with their overall performance even when a Dominant is satisfied or impressed. The key is how to navigate the impact discouragement has on a slave. This can be handled a number of specific ways, but there are a few general methods.

Examples: 

1. The "suck it up" approach is taken when a Dominant wants to minimize the psychological or emotional impact of discouragement. Instead of coddling the slave, and therefore legitimizing their concerns, the attitude of "stop your nonsense" is taken. Suck it up, buttercup - life is hard sometimes, and you may be terrible at some things, but through effort, mindful diligence, and practice, you will become the slave your Dominant desires.

2. Empathizing and encouragement is a tactic used by more sensual Dominants. They acknowledge that a slave may have feelings about their own performance, even though they're being controlled in all of their actions and behaviors. They are encouraged through praise or "can-do" statements. Empathy is often important with switches, who may have felt the same way once upon a time, and want to offer the connection of feeling present with their slave during their time of hardship.  

3. Punishment may be a rewarding experience for Bratty TPE slaves. They may provoke their Dominant even if they don't necessarily mean to, just to get attention or a reaction. A physical or psychological reminder of both Dominance and the importance of obedience may be the best way to mitigate feelings of discouragement. 

Deflation is a distinctly different experience than discouragement simply because deflation is a depression in ability rather than a depression in perception. If a slave is deflated it is because they haven't had sufficient attention paid to them, their needs have been neglected, their pre-established limits have been violated too often, or they have not been physically capable of mustering the strength to carry on their duties, because there is an imbalance. Each time this even occurs, it is up to the Dominant to deal with the situation appropriately. There are even situations such as "end of life" care in which the submissive is actively entering the process of death and no longer carries the will to submit, out of self-preservation. Most of the time, there are simple remedies available to the Dominant, to create an atmosphere conducive to further productivity.

Examples: 

1. A Dominant must recognize the deflation and find the source. If it is a motivational one, the slave must be held accountable for a lack of action. If it is a physical one, (barring serious injury) they must be expected to push through a period of laziness and realize their full slave potential. If it is a morale issue, the slave must receive adequate attention and communication - a lack of communication isn't going to go over well with a naturally over-sharer slave. The individual circumstance must be dealt with commensurate with the personality of the slave.

2. If the slave responds best to a system of rewards, the system must be put in place immediately. Praise, kind words, motivational quotes or reading materials should be given to the slave in order to boost their self-image. 

3. If the slave is being obstinate because they are deflated, the Dominant must act swiftly and aggressively to push them out of their rut. This sort of difficulty in behavior can accumulate over a period of years, if untreated. 

Defeat is the last stage in a slave's relationship, and possibly their life. It is one of the silent killers of slavery, and it can be rooted in an initial failure of the slave to appreciate the Dominant. This is not the only route to defeat, however. If a slave is unable to see commitment through and stay resolute in their decision, this can result in defeat, as well. Any time a slave rules that it's not "worth it" to engage in slavery vs. the benefit they receive from doing so (taking into account the fact that some parts may be difficult, unsavory, or unenjoyable), they will go through the motions until they are dismissed - or they may even run. There are also extenuating circumstances that are very difficult to navigate, such as slaves who are preparing to reach the end of their lives (terminal illness, old age, etc), who will react defeatedly as time moves closer to their imminent death. It is vital for the Dominant to determine the next logical step in the TPE, because that will be the deciding factor on how to approach the problem.

Examples:

1. If the issue is that the slave feels neglected or not useful for too long, and they're considering walking away, reigning them in is going to be crucial. Showing them who is boss, as the saying goes. They must be ordered, punished, pushed, attentively handled, given a higher objective; a chance to showcase their worth. One of the most difficult things, especially for an ageplayer TPE slave, is to be ignored - so if it isn't your intention to ignore them, kick your focus into overdrive.

2. When the trouble lies in the slave not appreciating the Dominant, or being unable to appreciate the difference between their fantasy of the Dominant and the reality of who they are, if their recurring lack of self-discipline or inability to follow directions has occurred for such a long time that both the slave and the Dominant are at their wits' end, it is time to decide whether or not a continuation of this dynamic is the proper course of action for both parties. If a slave is immature, getting a handle on their emotional progression is the first step. If they're flakey or full of unmet expectations, it is also worth noting that this is not the right condition for them to be a 24/7 TPE slave. 

3. At the end of their life, a slave will likely start to go through the traditional DABDA (also known as the K├╝bler-Ross model) phases of dying. This is not different for practitioners of BDSM. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance are the natural course for grieving the loss of one's own life. Though it may happen at a different pace for every individual's life (and earlier in life for some), there will always be a moment of defeat when facing this stage of life. The lack of desire to submit, and trying to reframe one's life as a matter of retrospective importance, are going to be the focus of a slave who knows they are imminently dying. At this point, it is important to take cues from them; if they find comfort in further submission, that is the best route. If they are fighting submission, it is best to honor their desires, because after all, it is their death - not yours - and it must be handled with care (even if that care seems strange for your usual activities). 

Each of these practices, complications, and challenges may contribute to the dissolution of a TPE dynamic. But because the Dominant is expected to keep control of their slave, it rests on them to address a problem as soon as it is identified (either by the slave or the Dominant). Despite the impetus of the Dominant to act, it is equally the responsibility of the slave to bring up any problematic feelings or "baggage" they have. Dominance is a fabulous superpower, but mind-reading should not be an expectation. 

If these various pitfalls are worked through, a successful dynamic will likely be the outcome. But avoidance, failure to address the problem, a lack of communication, or other bad reactions to the problems will contribute to either a miserable TPE or the end of the relationship entirely. The more effort put in by both parties, the more rewarding the power exchange!