Double BINDS – Options (Part 5b)

PREVIOUS: DB – Options (Part 5a)


OPTIONS in dealing with DBs (cont)

3. PICK ONE: Eventually, as you get emotionally stronger & with the right support, the most common option is to choose one of the 2 opposing positions presented to you, & stipick oneck to it – the one you prefer & can live with.

EXP : SO – between “I encourage you to go back to school” and “I discourage you from going back to school”
– YOU choose the one YOU want, even if you understand & maybe even sympathize with the other person’s needs & fears (of abandonment or envy) ….

4. “And now for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT” (Monty Python): Look for a 3rd alternative which suits you but does not deal with either part of the DB, like cadet James T Kirk did on the Kobayashi Maru test.

There may be a middle way between compliance & escape, especially important when you’re in a relationship with a S you’re not ready or willing to leave (boss, spouse, parent, adult-child….).

a. It can be done by directing the S’s attention to a point outside the DB.
In the medical example from ‘Double Messages’ Part 4b, instead of getting angry, defensive or wounded, one could say: “Let’s just focus on understanding my present symptoms & how to treat them.”

b. It can come from noticing a missing part of the DB – a loophole – as a possible exit from the trap.
EXP: Carla on Cheers always turned an insult aimed at her – back on the speaker, by changing the meaning of their words. No matter how obvious the slur, her response would usually be “So what’s your point?” LOVE IT!

: from the Calvin & Hobbs cartoon, using Tropes:images
> Teacher: “Explain Newton’s First Law of Motion in your own words”.
> Calvin: (writing) Yakka foob mog. Grub pubbawup zink chumble spuzz. (to camera: “I love loopholes!”).

c. It can be done by changing one part of the pattern. Helping yourself to feel differently about an apparent double bind can be a starting point to escape the claustrophobic prison of a ‘no-win’ situation

EXP : An artist was commanded to paint a flattering portrait of his one-eyed king. He would be executed if he failed to show a faithful likeness, but would meet the same fate if it revealed any imperfections in his majesty. All was well when the royal portrait was finally unveiled. It showed the king taking aim with bow and arrow – with the bad eye firmly closed.

EXP : A woman wanting to stop smoking but not gain weight afterward, was encouraged to find a food plan that would ‘protect’ her. She re-tooled her diet & exercise style first – & then quit the cigs. Changing one part of her life-pattern made room for other parts to shift more easily.

5. SLIGHT of MOUTH** – If physical detachment is not possible, the pattern can be dented if not broken, by commenting on or questioning the essence of the D.Messages leading to the DB.
EXPs of what to say:
• “Thinking in no-win terms creates no-win results. Is that your goal?”
• “What are you trying to accomplish? You can’t have both, so which do you really want?”
• “You only believe that because you haven’t considering the impact or consequence of what you’re saying”
• “Have you noticed that your statements put me in a no-win situation?”
• “How do you figure out or explain the difference between those opposing ideas?”
• “If those ideas belong together, do they only apply to you or to everyone?” (More)

**Slight of Mouth, a cousin of the magician’s slight-of-hand, was created in the 1970s by founders of NLP as a tool for persuading people to change their beliefs or actions. It’s a powerful set of re-framing patterns, consisting of 14 precise ways to speak to others, which can create or force a particular outcome.
EXPs of “Sleight of Mouth” patterns

NEXT: DBs – Facing ourselves (#6a)

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