PREVIOUS: DMs, Part 1
SITE: “Double Bind Theory: Still crazy-making
after all these years”
SENDERS (Ss) are adults with some type of ‘power status’ in a relationship, the one-up position, assumed or legitimate, FROM:
• Parent to child
• Boss to worker
• Male to female
• Teacher to student
• Dominant to subordinate lover / spouse / friend
• Mother-in-Law to son’s wife
• Cop to perp, Politician to The People….
✦ While most Ss are not conscious of what they’re doing, there are some who deliberately use this tactic to capture others : savvy business people, clever criminals, some religions, & those trained in high-powered sales, advertising, the military, media & government.
Confronting these Ss is either impossible or dangerous, so it’s best to avoid them when we can.
✦ Double Messages (DM) are a favorite way abusers control their victims (Receivers – Rs). Yet Senders rarely know they’re being ruled by a false self. Nor would they admit that they’re desperately lonely, even when not alone, yet terrified of genuine intimacy, & prone to creating drama wherever they are
• The much-used defense against their anxiety & vulnerability is to have as much power & control as possible, a life-long struggle for dominance – which can only provide a false sense of security.
• The S’s armor is the absolute conviction that all their actions are ‘for the good of others’ – so they’re never in the wrong! To maintain this self-created illusion they rely on blaming & shaming others.
This deflects any responsibility for their emotions or actions, making it clear that everyone else is ‘bad’ – except them, of course. Their private logic says that -naturally- anyone who opposes them is ‘against what is good’, & thus ‘deserves whatever they get’, justifying the S’s cruelty.
In this destructive Game (see Part 3) the Receiver is anyone who gets caught – Senders can only get away with the psychological/ emotional mess they try to create if someone is vulnerable to this type of communication.
Being the Dominant One in every situation is definitely in the S’s mind, although the intended ‘target’ does not usually agree, which including those who may not be able to overtly stand up to the S, such as workers who need to keep their job.
IMP: In any social interaction, whoever reacts less has more power, explained in detail in “The Givers & the Takers”.
Reacting is an expression of investment or compliance – which humans only do with people & things we value. Rs are by definition reactors, so are automatically in the one-down position, always wanting to ‘please’, even if the other person is a complete stranger.
This is obvious with co-dependent ACoAs who have been conditioned to be afraid of displeasing anyone, consciously or not.
One can understand giving in to a loved one, but what kind of investment would an ACoA have in a stranger?
Well, the WIC is terrified of abandonment & needs everyone to accept & approve of it, no matter who it is, or whatever the personal cost. Although not everyone we deal with will take advantage, this fear automatically makes us fair game for manipulators.
✦ So no matter how smart, educated, creative, thoughtful Rs are, by reacting they fall into the S’s frame by slanting the communication, who is then in control (Framing in DBs, Part 2)
EXP: At a pick-up place a guy wants to get lucky, so he approaches a pretty girl: “You know what? I have an instinct about you – a part of you is very sweet & innocent, and a part is a real pain-in-the-ass trouble maker. I bet I’m going to bring out the devil in you!” She not only shyly agrees to both versions, but is flattered & titillated, which = being seduced.
Because the girl reacts (positively) to the frame he has set up, the guy now has the power, therefore the higher value, therefore he ‘wins’. Boy 1 – Double-Binded Girl 0!
♥ About ACoAs: DMs, Part 7a & b
NEXT: DMs, #3