Okay, Annabel, so to be clear, I wasn't saying D/s is sick or pathological, nor that there's something wrong with every person into it. That it isn't clear to me what the benefits are, certainly. No one's ever really been able to tell me how the dynamic enriches their life, beyond a leaning toward kinky behavior. That D/s goes against what I've been taught about to be respectful toward someone else, yes. I do not know how putting myself in a position that is below my partner will serve me. Yes, I can dig role-playing for sex, but I also know that this is a serious life choice for people. It's the 24/7 D/s that freaks me out. I just can't wrap my head around wanting to be a slave or putting someone else in charge of my life. The only reason I bring up how I am confused about it is so I can learn more, because it seems that I run into it everywhere there are poly people (which often frustrates me since I am not into it).
NK, regarding where you wrote, "I fail to see the benefit in holding the D/s dynamic responsible for this kind of abuse," I did not mean to imply that the dynamic was the reason that someone abused someone else. I know people can be cool and people can be jerks, whether in a D/s dynamic or not. However, I think that they had better be pretty damn balanced, emotionally well, and centered in themselves before getting into it. I've read many times here and there, however, that too many people in the dominant position don't know what they're doing or they abuse their position of power and do harm. Makes me wish there was a clearinghouse or something to make sure that the person you sign this sort of contract with has their head screwed on straight and understands and appreciates what a gift the submissive is giving them.
In the case of the OP, I questioned D/s in their situation not because of a blanket generalization about D/s (although I admit I find quite a lot of what I've read about D/s disturbing, I try to keep an open mind and I do acknowledge that people enjoy living this kind of dynamic, even though I don't understand it), but because of what appeared to me to be irresponsible and dismissive behavior of the OP's gf toward her. It's the people in the D/s roles I wonder about, especially the Dominant one, more than the roles themselves. See, the OP's situation is the kind where I wonder if one of the "players" (for lack of a better term) truly has the wherewithal to participate in such a dynamic without abusing the role they're in and potentially doing harm. Just like one could say to someone, "you're not cut out for poly," one could also say "you shouldn't be messing with D/s" if they're not willing to at least even look at their own behaviors. I mean, it seems like serious shit to me, and I'd think anyone would have to be on the alert for the emotionally bereft or disturbed individual (talking generally -- I'm not saying Gypsy's gf is disturbed, but that it seems she perhaps shouldn't be engaged in it if she won't act responsibly).
And to me, even if I were a submissive, I couldn't wait to say, "hold on we need to step out of our roles here so we can talk about this." I would want the freedom to speak my mind at the moment, no matter what role I'm supposed to be in, and confront shitty treatment right away. I don't think being in one of these power exchange relationships should preclude basic human rights to express ourselves and be treated with respect. If I were ever to want to try this kind of thing, it would certainly take a whole lotta trust in someone who had proven they were capable of handling this kind of responsibility before I'd ever even consider submitting to anybody.