Personality Modification #1

This essay by Mid­night Writer is used with per­mis­sion on the Old Tom Archive.

Per­son­al­ity Mod­i­fi­ca­tion: Tech­nique #1, ver­bal self-​​programming

By Mid­night Writer

Okay — I’ve had it with the angst.

I’ve got­ten a lot of email on this topic — mostly, requests for the tech­niques, all promis­ing to be care­ful with them. Some of the email was giv­ing me dif­fer­ent POVs on the ethics involved in mak­ing these tech­niques public.

Many thanks to the per­son who asked me how I’d feel if I’d heard that some­one was try­ing to keep, say, an unusual flog­ger tech­nique under wraps, because it took mod­er­ate skill to keep it from being dangerous.

I’ve been focused on free­dom of infor­ma­tion for a long time — I just had to have some­one point out to me that it means me, too.

So, I’ll be post­ing on the tech­niques — from easy/​safe onward to the difficult/​can eas­ily be mis­used. First, how­ever, I’ll have my say on the ethics and moral­ity of psy­cho­log­i­cal manip­u­la­tion of others.

  1. It hap­pens daily, often with­out clear informed con­sent. Madi­son Avenue is prob­a­bly the worst offender — much more effec­tive than most gov­ern­ments. Gov­ern­ments come in sec­ond place — and they’re usu­ally tar­get­ing their own cit­i­zens, not the neigh­bors. (Yes, I know about Radio Free Europe and the many other times that Gov’ts use pro­pa­ganda on non-​​residents, but that’s noth­ing com­pared to what gov’ts do to their own citizens.)
  2. With informed con­sent, any­thing fits within my ethics. To be extreme, if I nego­ti­ate with some­one for a scene that’s likely to leave them a cool­ing corpse, and they’re clearly informed, and con­sent to this — it’s eth­i­cal. Not my kink, but it’d be ethical.
  3. The mind is a murky place, with lots of sub­sur­face issues and atti­tudes that can really screw you up. An eth­i­cal dom can be tremen­dously cau­tious, care­fully tai­lor­ing a train­ing pro­gram to do no dam­age, and still trip over a land­mine that was never vis­i­ble before — leav­ing them to put the pieces back together as best they can. Rest assured — this one will bite you on the ass at least once, if you use personality/​response mod­i­fi­ca­tion to even a mod­er­ate extent. Usu­ally, the bites will be (rel­a­tively) minor — but not always, and there’s no way to pre­dict it.
  4. Life is uncer­tain — if you pro­gram some­one to need you in order to live life hap­pily, you’ve fucked them over when you get hit by that bus. Yes, it’s hot, it’s sexy — and almost cer­tain to cause dam­age. Pro­gram­ming some­one to orgasm (or any­thing else) only on com­mand can only be done respon­si­bly if you can guar­an­tee that you’ll always be there to give the com­mand when appro­pri­ate — and you can’t. So don’t.

If you read these warn­ings, and work with these tech­niques any­way, and screw some­body (or your­self) over, it’s your own damn fault.

I am not a Doc­tor of any sort — not a med­ical pro­fes­sional, not a psy­chi­ac­tric pro­fes­sional. I’ve been a stu­dent of the mind for most of my life, but I am not qual­i­fied to give psy­chi­ac­tric treat­ment. Nobody, to the best of my knowl­edge, is qual­i­fied to pre­scribe psy­chi­ac­tric treat­ment over Usenet.

That said, on to the techniques.

The first tech­nique I’ll dis­cuss here is very dif­fi­cult to use on some­one with­out them being aware of it — in fact, it requires their con­cious par­tic­i­pa­tion. When I’ve taught this in the past, my focus has been on self-​​programming. In a D/​s rela­tion­ship, though, one may com­mand another to self-​​program using this technique.

It’s squick­some to some — in fact, Babalon hates it. It seems silly, like one of those things you’d read about in ‘Grow Suc­cess and Make Mil­lions of Friends, Too’ or some such dri­vel. In fact, it’s a tech­nique often sug­gested in such books.

But it works.

It has a lot in com­mon with NLP, and it’s widely used in ther­apy. It’s usu­ally called ‘affirmations’.

What it looks like: The sub­ject (one’s self, or one’s sub) stands in front of the bath­room mir­ror three times a day, and reads aloud from a list, often feel­ing silly for doing this dumb stuff.

Why it works: The sub­con­cious mind has no “true/​false” eval­u­a­tion abil­ity. Tell it some­thing, and it’ll believe it. Tell it that the floor is up and the sky is down, and after a while you’ll have a very dis­ori­ented per­son. Madi­son Ave. uses this tech­nique a lot — and it sells car­bon­ated sugar water, bot­tled tap water, col­ored plas­tic that peo­ple call “cheese” with a straight face, soap, and politicians.

Now, most (if not all) of you have heard that the most impor­tant sex­ual organ (and the biggest, for you size queens) is the mind. Inter­est, excite­ment, and orgasms all hap­pen in the mind first, or they don’t hap­pen at all. This tech­nique has been used suc­cess­fully in ther­apy to enable peo­ple with no feel­ing below the waist to have orgasm. It can be used to “grow” an ero­go­neous zone any­where — it can be used to make the lit­tle fin­ger as sen­si­tive as a clitoris.

Since the sub­con­cious actu­ally does most of the dri­ving on everybody’s bus, con­vinc­ing it that X is really true tends to make X true.

How it works: The key, of course, is in the word­ing of the list of state­ments. The list should be some­where between 10 and 20 items long, each item being one or two sen­tences. The sen­tences should reflect grad­ual changes in the real­ity that the per­son read­ing them is expe­ri­enc­ing, as if those changes are already hap­pen­ing — because they are.

The phras­ing should reflect pos­i­tive changes, not neg­a­tive changes. “I’m no longer crav­ing cig­a­rettes” is not going to be nearly as effec­tive as “I’m bet­ter able to resist my crav­ing for cig­a­rettes”. What works best in alter­ing behav­ior is either instill­ing new behav­ior, or writ­ing new behav­iors over old behav­iors — sim­ply eras­ing old behav­iors doesn’t work well.

Note that it’s impor­tant for these to be read aloud. The sub­con­cious doesn’t pick up con­cious thought — it picks up what is heard, seen, and expe­ri­enced by the other senses. It’s rec­om­mended that it be read in front of a mir­ror because that rein­forces the mes­sage — the sub­con­cious not only hears it said, but sees it being said.

If you’re work­ing heav­ily on one aspect, you can set up all of the items to relate to that issue, and you’ll get quicker results. If you want to work simul­ta­ne­ously on sev­eral fronts, you can do that too — but each front will progress more slowly than if it were the sole focus of the programming.

Hav­ing at least 10 items in the list seems (for some rea­son I’m not cer­tain of) to be impor­tant — fewer items in the list isn’t nearly as effective.

Hav­ing more than 20 items in the list is counter-​​productive, too. The sub­ject will tend to zip through the list with­out pay­ing much atten­tion to what is read, if it gets too long. Bor­ing one’s sub­con­cious to inat­ten­tion isn’t helpful.

Of course, work­ing on dras­ti­cally alter­ing some­one on 15 fronts at once is risk­ing a cri­sis — they’ll wake up one day and have no idea of who they really are. Peo­ple don’t accept change read­ily, even changes they’re happy about. I tend to use this tech­nique to work on 1 or 2 fronts at once, both for safety and for focus on the new change. It’ll work on more fronts, but I really don’t rec­om­mend it, unless they’re mostly minor or very grad­ual changes.

For exam­ple, the domme who wrote to me about her partner’s inabil­ity to retain an erec­tion dur­ing inter­course (it’d been checked by the medicos, who diag­nosed “it’s all in his head”) may want her sub to read a line like this in their list:

Every time I attempt inter­course, I will last a lit­tle longer before my erec­tion wilts. Every day, my erec­tion becomes just a lit­tle more immune to fear.”

After a week or two of 3x daily rep­e­ti­tions, when results are becom­ing obvi­ous, it can change to:

Every time I try inter­course, my erec­tion lasts twice as long as it did the last time. I’m begin­ning to look for­ward to intercourse.”

Every time I get inside a woman [1], my erec­tion will last twice as long as it did the time before. I’ll soon be able to keep that erec­tion as long as I want to.”

[1] — Note that phras­ing: not “my Domme”, but “a woman”. IMO, such a thing should not be keyed to any one per­son. See warn­ing above about life being uncertain.

Now, nobody needs to *believe* that this’ll work — just like grav­ity, it works whether you believe in it or not. But the phrases must be crafted to reflect con­fi­dence, even if no con­fi­dence in the tech­nique is felt. The phrases must be phrased to reflect *grad­ual* changes at first, and once those grad­ual changes are expe­ri­enced (lend­ing con­fi­dence in the tech­nique, which does help accel­er­ate things), the changes can be accel­er­ated. Don’t be too ambi­tious here — grad­ual, con­stant change is most effec­tive in the long run.

(It does, how­ever, help if the changes are being given a chance to show them­selves reg­u­larly. In the exam­ple above, it’ll work much bet­ter if he’s given an oppor­tu­nity to try inter­course fre­quently than if he were for­bid­den inter­course while doing the pro­gram­ming. This one will work *much* bet­ter if inter­course is tried for the sole pur­pose of see­ing how much longer his erec­tion lasts each time, rather than try­ing for “suc­cess­ful” inter­course — until, of course, the erec­tion lasts long enough to please all concerned.)

Yes, this tech­nique can and does alter the phys­i­cal body’s work­ings. If, for exam­ple, some­one has a prob­lem with high blood pres­sure, they can use this to heal themselves.

Every day, my blood pres­sure is grad­u­ally lowering.”

Of course, the results of this should be mon­i­tored closely before blood pres­sure med­ica­tion is reduced or with­drawn. Mon­i­tor­ing the results with a blood pres­sure cuff at home, 2x daily, will give good feed­back on how well it’s work­ing — and once it starts work­ing, the change will be accelerated.

To use this to “grow” an area of erotic response where none was before, you can keep the phrase the same for quite some time:

Every day, the patch of skin just over my left eye­brow feels more erotic when stroked than it ever did before.”

After a week or so, another phrase can be added:

Every day, the patch of skin just over my left eye­brow feels more erotic when stroked than it ever did before. I am bet­ter able to be excited when it is stroked than I was yesterday.”

For use with the exam­ple at hand, orgasm on com­mand, a good start­ing place would be:

Every time my dom(me) orders me to orgasm, I get more and more excited. I want to please my dom(me) by orgas­ming when they want me to.”

Of course, there’s a lot more to the tech­niques than this — in fact, I didn’t use this on Babalon until after she’d become able to orgasm at my com­mand. But it’s a good start­ing point, and will work all on its own.

If any­one wants me to review their com­mand list and make sug­ges­tions, I’ll be happy to. Please post ‘em here, though — the feed­back I give will likely be valu­able to more than one per­son. If you want to get feed­back anony­mously, send ‘em to me in email, and I’ll post them and my responses pub­licly, after fil­ing all of the ser­ial num­bers off.

Next tech­nique: Key modification.


Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

emdoub@​visi.​com Mpls./St. Paul, MN, USA

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This essay is the prop­erty and copy­right 1998, of Mid­night Writer all rights reserved. Please don’t repost or make this essay pub­licly acces­si­ble via FTP, mail server, or archive site with­out explicit per­mis­sion. Per­mis­sion is granted for one hard copy for per­sonal use.


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