I came across this entry “How To Tell The Difference Between Fake And Real Dominants” at BDSMTrainingAcademy.com, which includes this graphic:
While the information itself is terrific, the presentation of it as a dichotomy of “fake” versus “real” is incorrect.
“Real” dominance isn’t qualified by a person achieving idealized thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Being a Dominant doesn’t imply that you’re a mentally healthy, emotionally stable, or ethical person. A serial killer can be just as Dominant as the Dalai Lama. How they express that dominance is the question a submissive should be asking.
More accurately, this infographic is a delineation of an unhealthy versus healthy Dominant. This would correctly frame a manipulative or (nonconsensually) cruel Dominant as someone exhibiting warning signs rather than not actually being the Dominant they say they are.
If you want to understand how to determine if a Dominant is “real” you first need to understand what one is. The common trait in all Dominants is that they feel more comfortable being in control. They prefer to lead than to follow, and they often naturally take charge when opportunities arise. These are distinct characteristics of a “real” Dominant. How much they prefer these things can tell you how strongly Dominant they are. That’s it, in a nutshell.
Dominants, like submissives, are never perfect people. Many need to learn the same things everyone else needs to learn to be a better person. Until then, some will be very insecure or rude; some may seem hesitant or uncomfortable with themselves. Needing to develop, heal, and grow does not mean you’re “fake”, it just means you’re human.