What Is The Opposite Of Submissive?

The opposite of “submissive” is “dominant.” Submissive refers to someone who is willing to yield to the authority or control of others, while dominant refers to someone who exercises authority or control over others.

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The opposite of submissive is dominate

Answered from Shelye Weaver

What Is The Opposite Of Submissive?


Submissive indicates readily yielding to authority and power. Its antithesis involves confidence, asserting oneself, and resistance. Let's explore this dichotomy further.

Historical Underpinnings of Dominance and Submission

The dichotomy has deep roots:

  • D/s imagery appears in ancient religious texts and philosophy.
  • Molding subjects' will to absolute rulers defined feudalism and despotism.
  • Slavery epitomizes violent domination and enforced submission.
  • Democratic reforms confronted ingrained class hierarchies.

But biases around power, status and obedience persist even today.

Dominance and Submission in Relationships and Culture

D/s relationships manifest in many forms:

  • BDSM activities overtly explore sexual power play.
  • Traditional household gender roles often expect female submission.
  • Some cultures teach youngsters unquestioning obedience to parents and elders.
  • Codependent partners or abusive dynamics reveal darker compulsions to dominate or submit.

Social constructions around dominance and submission permeate society's fabric.

The Psychology and Neuroscience of D/s Personality Types

Studies reveal insights on submissive and dominant mindsets:

  • fMRI scans show dominance lights up reward circuits for controlling others.
  • Testosterone correlates with more dominant personality traits and competitiveness.
  • Childhood attachment patterns may determine comfort with vulnerability or control.
  • Narcissists often leverage relationships to fulfill dominance/submission needs.

So personalities arise from a blend of biological wiring, upbringing and experiences.

Varying Cultural Attitudes Towards Assertion and Conformity

Cultural norms shape expectations around deference:

  • Collectivist East Asian cultures value social harmony from respecting hierarchies.
  • Democratic cultures in theory encourage speaking truth to power, defiance of repression.
  • Patriarchal attitudes in some societies pressure women into subservient roles.
  • Social movements like feminism or LGBTQ activism promote assertiveness against discrimination.

One's culture influences how dominance and submission are perceived.

Philosophical Debates Around Free Will, Authority and Submission

Philosophers have long pondered obedience and defiance:

  • Are humans bound by fate, or can we exercise free will to resist authority?
  • What right does a government have to compel submission to its dictates?
  • Are civil disobedience and resistance ethically justified against unjust regimes?
  • How do religious conceptions of an all-powerful God impact notions of free will?

These deep questions frame ideological struggles over submission versus self-determination.

Famous Dominant and Submissive Figures Throughout History

Notable dominant and submissive personalities:

  • Ferociously dominant leaders like Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon.
  • Submissives like Edward VIII giving up his throne out of devotion to Wallis Simpson.
  • Slave rebellion leaders like Toussaint Louverture and Harriet Tubmanfighting subjugation.
  • Reformers like Elizabeth Cady Stanton advocating women defy conventions demanding their submission.

Their stories offer perspective on how dominance and submission manifests.

Literary Depictions of Dominant and Submissive Roles

Fictional characters provide case studies:

  • Dominants like Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights or Javert in Les Miserables.
  • Submissives like Jane Eyre conforming to Rochester's wishes initially.
  • Evolution towards defiance in characters like Offred in The Handmaid's Tale.
  • Analyzing motivations reveals psychological nuance beyond stereotypes.

Literary analogies make these dynamics relatable.

Understanding Rank Hierarchy Struggles in the Animal Kingdom

Parallels exist in animal behavior:

  • Alphas physically dominate more submissive pack members.
  • Displays of submission prevent violence – exposing the neck etc.
  • Dominant mating privileges over more subservient betas.
  • But cooperation also matters for group survival.

So aspects of dominance and submission permeate the natural order.

Contrasting Dominant and Submissive Business Leadership Styles

In management contexts:

  • Autocratic styles demand unquestioning obedience.
  • Servant leaders humbly submit to workers' needs.
  • The sweet spot empowers others while still driving strategic vision.
  • Overly dominant bosses risk resentment, while permissive ones chaos.

Smart leaders understand when leading is needed versus deferring input.

Tips for Building Confidence to Become Less Submissive

Those wanting more assertiveness can:

  • Start small saying no to trivial requests to practice.
  • Learn techniques like broken record statements to stand your ground.
  • Visualize scenarios going well to override fears.
  • Identify and challenge limiting self-beliefs about weakness or inadequacy.
  • Seek out self-defense training to build physical self-assurance.

With time and effort, developing healthy assertiveness is achievable.

Theories Around Dominant Body Language and “Power Poses”

Body language impacts others' perceptions:

  • Poses like hands on hips expand the body to take up more space.
  • Head height, eye contact, relaxed limbs project confidence.
  • However, some experts argue impacts are exaggerated. Authenticity matters.

Paying attention to physical presence can reinforce self-assurance.

Balancing Gentle Guidance with Respect for Autonomy

In parenting or teaching:

  • Total submission produces dependent, conformist thinking.
  • Total dominance stunts independent judgement and self-realization.
  • The ideal nurtures critical thinking and individuality within necessary boundaries.

Wise leadership recognizes submission is earned through empowerment, not demanded through control.


While dominant is the textbook antonym of submissive, many shades exist between obedience and defiance. Developing respectful assertiveness represents the greater maturity.

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