PREVIOUS: DMs, Part 3
SITE: “Double Bind Theory: Still crazy-making
after all these years”
In PSYCHOANALYTIC Terms
The ego’s unconscious intentional structure has the “logical form” of a double bind. Everyone’s original DB is the un-resolvable early childhood conflict between staying connected to or leaving the protection of the mother. It starts out psychologically, but later also becomes physical.
It’s a pull between attachment & safety vs separation & independence. Whichever the young child wishes for at any given moment, it will experience fear & a sense of loss.
It’s the need TO:
a. develop one’s own identity, which requires ‘leaving’ – but not too early in life! Total separation causes traumatic anxiety – the terror of facing a vast alien world alone, unprepared & helpless. The outcome would be ‘death’
b. stay under the mother-hen’s wings, for safety & warmth. But if the child stays too long, it can’t develop the crucial S & I of maturity. Symbiotic clinging will also result in anxiety. By betraying a legitimate need for autonomy there’s a constant fear of completely losing one’s identity & freedom. The outcome would be ‘death’
In healthy families, this dilemma gets (more-or-less) resolved for the child by being given a balance of loving availability & personal freedom.
CHART: Great info, like how injury blocks consciousness….
RESULTS of the attachment-separation dilemma start in infancy. Once set in motion, they continue underground into adulthood, until brought to consciousness & resolved. If not, we’re available via the WIC – to be manipulated by unscrupulous or unaware people who tap into the original DB.
PROCESS in Childhood
1. Not able to decide on either unbearable alternative (be free vs. to stay), the infant’s MIND develops the Super-ego (SE), a judgmental voice of the Ego-Self that’s been captured by the BIND.
>> It then creates a second layer of psychic binds (bondage) – the demand to always ‘be good’. If the child gives in to the ‘voice’, it’ll feel weak & enslaved, but if it rebels, it’s stung by guilt
2. To counter the power of the Judge (SE’s too-ethical perfectionism), the subliminal censor creates yet another voice, the ‘evil SE’ Rager, demanding the Ego-Self throw off all social conventions & appropriate behavior.
In adults Rager might say: “Tell the boss to stuff it, have another drink, don’t pay your bills, cheat on your spouse….”. It enjoys the delicious feeling of power that comes from sticking it to the overbearing Judge….. so the Rager scores.
3. BUT defiance scares the child’s id, worried about losing its connection to the only internal caretaker (SE) it knows, which would cause a collapse (death).
This leads to self-punishment, dictated by the Judge, such as isolation (from shame), sabotaging daily functioning & plans, physical suffering or injury, in trouble with authority…. so the Judge scores
4. The vicious cycle continues. To keep from crumbling, the Rager takes over again, & in adults revels in antisocial / immature behavior, like missing work or avoiding other unwanted obligations (even sexual) – but also causes depression, migraines, being fired….
score points go to the Judge, who gets double points, as it enjoys punishing the Rager with the pain it caused
🦠 But the Rager rescues / ‘soothes’ the Self with remedies, such as drugs that otherwise would not be allowed by the Judge…..
— so the Ego-Self finally gets to score a point too – by numbing out.
Everyone ‘wins’, right??
BUT:“What does it benefit a man if he gains the whole world but looses his own soul?” Mark 8:36
COMMENT: This unconscious game is how most people function, wondering why they haven’t fulfilled their dreams or found happiness. Unresolved, It can turn us into damaged Senders or Receivers, limiting our True Self, which is mostly free of internal or external coercion
• We may say “I never play games, I like to be direct.” Unfortunately most of us DO (4 outlined on acoarecovery.com), but they’re so incorporated into our daily relationships & spread over a lifetime, we don’t recognize them.
NEXT: DMs (Part 5)