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QUOTE: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Einstein
NOTE: This set of posts is a continuation of the Double Messages series. Please read or review those.
DOUBLE BINDS (DBs)
In the D.Messages posts, we looked at one side of this harmful transaction – mainly that of the Sender. All the basic components are the same for DBs, except for the crucial difference – the perspective of the Receiver (DMs, #2).
Eric Berne’s student Claude Steiner, in “Scripts People Live” showed how Senders & Receivers play an interactive game, each gaining Negative Benefits (points) – the S to always be in charge, while the R is to always be a victim & stay dependent (no S & I).
• The other side of the transaction is the Double Bind. One way this happens TO the R is when someone hears words said to them in such a way that the accompanying actions or non-verbal communications directly contradict the spoken words.
EXP: a mother screams at her child “I love you, and you better believe it or I’ll whip you!”
• DBs are created by DMs as logic fails, Boolean questions** (in 3 parts) being asked in binary terms (in 2 parts). That doesn’t work. A person is presenting with a 3-way, no-win situation: You’re damned if you do / Damned if you don’t, and / Damned if you notice that you’re damned both ways
• Accepting or trying to deal with DMs leads to a great deal of angst, causing the R to think:
Re. Actions: “I must do them both, but I can’t, but I must, but I…. If I don’t I’m really bad!” OR, in other cases
Re. Emotions: “I have to make sense of the 2 sides, but they don’t make sense, but I have to, but I can’t … I must be crazy!”
Since DMs are inherently irrational, they must NOT be honored, which then eliminates the D.Bind
**Boolean Logic: the main operations are the conjunction ‘and’, shown as ∧, the disjunction ‘or’, shown as ∨, and the negation ‘not’, denoted ¬ (MORE…) corresponding to the 3 major components of the DM. (DMs #3)
TYPEs OF D.BINDs
CONFLICT : A struggle between equal but opposing forces (intentions). ”Part of me wants to and part of me doesn’t.”
DILEMMA: A situation requiring a choice between 2 equally (un)desirable alternatives. “I’m damned if I do & damned if I don’t.”
IMPASSE: A situation where the intention to progress is stopped by a difficulty which can’t be overcome. “I keep banging my head against a brick wall.”
PARADOX: A self-contradictory statement (or statements). ”My head aches from trying to stop you giving me a headache.” (MORE….) Also see chart in DBs – Part 2
EMOTIONAL BIND patterns focus on giving you the illusory choice of how to feel. It’s less obviously harmful but still manipulative:
a. Which chair would feel better, the soft one or the hard one?
b. Would you feel better if I ignored you or talked to you?
c. Which restaurant would you enjoy eating at, Olive Garden or Red Lobster?…..
>> The manipulation is limiting your physical & emotional choices.
Qs presented in binary form (either-or) eliminate the larger truth – that in reality you have several other possibilities, like – MAYBE YOU :
a = would rather stand rather than sit, OR perhaps leave
b = are not interested in me either way, OR maybe prefer to talk later
c = don’t like Italian food OR chain restaurants, OR not hungry
NOTE: You’re not in a bind if you’re ‘allowed’ to speak up, object or offer a 3rd choice. However, if you don’t go along with the other person’s suggestions, and they get angry, act hurt, plead, whine, make you feel guilty, threaten to leave…. you’re being offered a DB. Stick to your guns AND don’t feel bad!
NEXT: Double Binds (Part 2)