Double BINDS – Logical Types (Part 3b)

DB mouse trapIT’S A MOUSE TRAP
& I’m the mouse!


🧩 REVIEW (3a)

🧩 LOGIC TYPES (cont)
DBs are best understood in a larger framework, as part of Cybernetics & Complex Systems Theory. It shows the inter-dependence of message components, providing an order to what looks like chaos (if you’re a Newtonian). The mind itself, & therefore human communication, functions inter-actively, like all ecosystems  CIRCLEs ⬇️

NORMALLY, context & body reactions (meta-language) allow participants to decipher the kind of interaction they’re part of – not just the ‘words’.
EXP: As two puppies are playing, they growl & nip at each other gently. But their tails are wagging & their ears are NOT back.
Lower level message: “I am threatening you – I will bite”
Higher level : “This is play- fighting – I won’t hurt you.”

IMP: ‘Levels’ is a common metaphor for arranging experience. Lower levels are defined by more specific examples of higher levels.   (Explanation)

IN CONTRAST – DBs are based on Level-confusion, the contradictory statements being expressed on different Logical Levels of Abstraction (higher/lower) in ‘orders of message’ sent – causing the bind. Are you confused enough? (MORE…..
✦ Paradoxes are a special kind of contradiction, where the incompatible statements exist on different “logical levels” – one of them is part of the context of the other – which is a logical no-no.

✦ A lose-lose evolutionary DB is the rhino horn – meant for protection & to enhance ‘desirability’ for procreation. But the very same feature has caused their near extinction, the horn being harvested for the human desire for sexual potency. Ironic, since it only works for the rhino! CHART ⬇️

Another lose-lose DB, in “Alice in Wonderland”, exemplifies the needs of the DBs No exitindividual and its physical characteristics being mutually incompatible, one on a more abstract level than the other:

If the bread-&-butter fly, which lives on weak tea with cream, does not get its food, it dies.  And / But –
B: If it does gets its food, it dies, because its head is made of a sugar lump, which will dissolve in the tea

MORE Confusion: If a R objects to or ‘outs’ the distortions inherent in a D. Message, the Sender can reinforce the DB by disqualifying the person, making the R’s objections seem unimportant & therefore to be ignored (from 32 DBs….. )
• negating the whole discussion, or evading it in some other way
• twisting the meaning or context of the objections
• changing ‘reality’,  by doubting the validity of the objections
AND reminding the R who has the power: S claims to have a higher status, so what it says is of higher value. (More DB from NLP Institute)

Q & A Confusion: Head-scratching is inevitable when a Q. is asked on one logical level but answered on another. This is the basis of much humor.

Abbott and Costello’s routine “Who’s on First” works on two levels of ‘orders of message’ at the same time, incorporating Lower-order (literal) & Higher-order meaning (implied).
This is NOT a Q, only a statement of fact, but is heard as a Q, so the response is another Q (“I don’t know, who IS on first?”).
If said in a direct way, the higher-order Q. would be: “Who is the guy on first base?” & the lower order A. would be: “Mr. Who is on first base.”

ACoAsDiscrepancies in Levels of Communication is one reason we go BLANK when someone responds to us from a different Logic Level than the one we’re coming from, or says something completely out of context. (TA’s Crossed Transactions, scroll down)

We were taught to not pick up on twisted communications, having nothing to do with our intelligence. We know these people are ‘off’’, but not having learned to ‘hear’ distortions, we’re stumped!

Sadly – we realize it later & think what we could/would have said, levels of logicbut then it’s too late to defend ourselves, or point out the inconsistency or ask for clarification. It can be very frustrating & enraging – but never let it take you all the way to S-H!

In this example ↖️, some responses :  “You just asked another question” , “That’s not an answer” , “What’s wrong with my Q?”,  “I’m interested / curious / worried…..”

In other word, we don’t have to be stumped or blank out. By not giving up or disappearing (on ourself), we may get useful / important info about the other person – OR we can decide to withdraw as an act of self-care, if the person is hostile or consistently unable to communicate. We don’t have to chase the unavailable, but also don’t have to take it personally!

NEXT: DBs – (Part 4a)

5 thoughts on “Double BINDS – Logical Types (Part 3b)

  1. What has been on my mind these days is when people put me in a double bind and then claim that I’m putting them in a double bind. If I’m friendly, I’m punished with attacks on my boundaries, but if not, then I’m punished with condemnation for being rude. If I explain my viewpoint, I’m accused of being manipulative because someone else came up with the notion that I was saying what I was saying to get them to do something for me (nope), but if not, then I’m accused of being secretive and refusing to explain myself. But people like that tend to accuse me of putting them in a double bind, because when they do these things, I get angry, and they are imagining (no matter what I say) that I would somehow also get angry if they left me alone (nope). My current reaction is to make a mental note to avoid anyone who has ever done that to me. Trying to reason just doesn’t work. I feel freer now.


  2. I had an insight reading this. One of the people in upper management in my office sends double messages every chance she gets. If you leave yourself vulnerable (showing even a small lack of confidence) in any way, she’ll pick up on it and put you in a double bind. What’s really interesting is her reaction to you when you don’t fall for any of it. If you react by not reacting – in essence by staying unfazed and confident (I tell myself that these games are about her, not me) – then she suddenly changes her tone towards you and treats you with respect. The insight I had is that when she treats you with respect, it is STILL a game on her part. She’s not treating you that way because she actually respects you (and herself). She’s treating you that way because you gave her no choice. She would look quite childish if she continued her games when you don’t react. The other insight I had is that this explains to me why my mom is not to be trusted on the occasions that she treats me with respect. Even on those rare occasions, her respectful treatment is part of a bigger game. It’s not real respect. She remains unsafe. Poor kids – they just shut down.


    • I know people like that, I think. When they act like they respect you, and you’re thinking, oh, good, they’re getting the picture, we’re going to get along fine from now on, they might really be taking offense that they have t respect you and counting it toward an entitlement )or need?) to treat you worse some other time.


  3. Shana – it’s very empowering to see the games people play, in their many forms, so we don’t have to get caught up in them. It also eliminates self-hate!


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