Double BINDS – STAYING AWAKE (Part 6a)


I’m going to have to pay close attention

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 5b)

BOOK: “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” ~ Chip & Dan Heath (review…..)

D. Binds, created by D. Messages, are like being called over to someone who is crooking their index finger, meaning “Come to me, my darling,” – but when you get there they slap your face.
Or being told, “Darling, tell me how you feel,” but then when you do, they sarcastically sneer that you’re being dramatic, hateful, over-sensitive, crazy, ridiculous, immature…. (More…..)

📣 IMPERATIVE : We can not afford to mentally blank out when dealing with controlling, narcissistic, double-binding people – which is what the WIC does when terrified & trying to disappear.
It will make a big difference to your well-being if you stay awake for how you feel around people who do the come-here-go-away dance or give other kinds of DMs.

🔺Identifying the specific D. Messages you’ve been getting is crucial so you know what you’re dealing with, & then figure a way out.
If one specific person you’re around is a S, you’re probably angry a lot of the time, but may not recognize it as that specific emotion. And underneath the anger – you’re really scared of displeasing or losing them – whether you can feel that deeper layer or not.

❗️VERBALIZE what’s going on. You’re only in a full Double Bind while the contradictory statements you’ve been subjected to remain unconscious. Once they’re articulated, they lose some of their force. Questioning AND objecting to the contradictions, & getting external support, can often help with our own internal distorted beliefs

of self-hating D.Message (More….. )  Also DM Part 7b)
a. Having many PTSD symptoms means I’m broken, worthless -AND-
b. Admitting to only a few symptoms means the abuse wasn’t that bad
c. I’m not supposed to notice what really happened, or help myself out of it

❓CHART: Use it for your own DBs, to figure out what were imposed on you by another person or institution. 📕 Expand & add columns as needed
Re. RESULTS: Internally – what’s already happened
Externally: what you fear will happen
Re. OPTIONS: The one best suited to your personality & current circumstances
Final RESULTS – of your choice, in T.E.A. terms

Fill in columns for each part of the Double/Triple BIND you’re in, in as much detail as you can. DO a little, then add as you figure more out. Include:
🔸 (A,B,C) Conflicting commands & Consequences, from yourself or others
🔸 Blatant & subtle Punishments
🔸 Any attempts to unhook yourself, successful or not
🔸 What happened – in yourself or from others / overall outcome
🔸 If still stuck, why you’re still in it (internal reasons)….
Step Away from DBs and post “Negative Benefits

• Since DBs are often stacked together, it’s necessary to unravel them statement by statement – like parsing a sentence. See how many parts you can identify in the following abusive, distorted manipulative communications:
EXPToxic Parent to actual Child
“Now you want my help! Hah! I never got into this kind of trouble when I was a kid. Surprise me by doing something right for a change, I’d like that!”
“You should be ashamed of yourself. Listen to me, you’ve got to take control over your life. Stop questioning what I tell you. I’ve been around a lot longer than you have, you know.”

EXP Authority to ‘Problem’ Person / Patient
“You have to accept that you are X (mentally ill, addict, out-of-control, raging, self-destructive…) before we can help you. We’re only doing this for your own good, out of love and compassion for you, even though you are X (the label).”

“When you say that — “we have the problem, that we’re doing this to suit ourselves because we don’t like the way you are — it only proves that you are indeed X (the label)”

NEXT: DBs, Staring Awake, Part 6b

6 thoughts on “Double BINDS – STAYING AWAKE (Part 6a)

  1. “Or being told, “Darling, tell me how you feel,” but then when you do, they scream that you’re being dramatic, hateful, over-sensitive, crazy, ridiculous….”
    People used to do that to me all the time. Now I just refuse to reinforce it.


    • Absolutely! You can always say – “Well, you’re too insensitive!”

      When I used to be told ‘You’re crazy” I replied – “Maybe, but I’m never boring!”
      That shut them up!


  2. For some reason, the three sentences below make me feel really angry. I think maybe the situation they describe hits very close to home. And I think they somehow put pressure on me to put blame where it belongs – but I don’t want to do that for some reason.

    a. Having many PTSD symptoms means I’m broken and worthless
    b. Having only a few symptoms means the abuse wasn’t that bad
    c. I’m not supposed to notice what happened, or help myself out of it


  3. Thank you for including the worksheet example. That is going to be very helpful to me as I continue to unravel the distortions present in my life due to DMs and DBs. It’s been a scary road so far, but I know I can do this.


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