Double BINDS – Re-Framing (Part 7)

sharng food
in a whole new light! 

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 6b)


• A frame is the focus of attention we give to something (DBs #4a & b).
❖ Re-Framing (R-F) assigns another meaning to any upsetting situation, which helps us identify, interpret & respond to it in new ways.
It’s a powerful tool for solving problems based on assumptions that insure stuck-ness. (See ‘AGREEMENT Frame’)

• Dealing with DBs requires making cognitive leaps by using a broader perspective, by putting toxic communications into a larger context. While re-framing by itself seldom resolves a problem, it offers a way to “softening it” so a solution can be uncovered that’s acceptable, if not always always liked.

Re-framing asks “How can I think about or respond to this differently?”
This shift leads to self-empowerment, which leads to higher functioning & satisfaction, taking us from no-win to no-lose. (MORE…)

ACoAs are used to feeling trapped (‘Learned Helplessness’), but eventually in Recovery we can come to value the inherent freedom of dealing with OR resolving DBs. (also: Seligman – slideshare ). While we originally experienced DBs as a horrible trap, we can now see them as opportunities to choose what works for us.

As adults we have access to many different feelings (Es) & perspectives (Ts) to life’s events – like how each of us grieves a death differently, or how we show love. This means we can’t be “wrong” when expressing our True Self.
★ Damage is the same for everyone, but our essence is specific to us, so we can learn about & pursue our own style! (Grieving & DBs)

TYPES of Re-Framing
🧩 Context
Figuring out where a ‘problem situation’ or reaction would fit better – the context most appropriate for it, that would make it useful, an asset or skill
EXP: Dancing in the isles in a conservative church / synagogue / mosque would be severely frowned on, but not at a Pentecostal or African-American Baptist church!
Shifting the focus, either to a different part of the problem, & asking: “What else could this mean?”
OR seeing that the same situation can have a variety of meanings – good, bad or different

EXP: Someone was frowning ‘at me’. Were they annoyed with me? OR maybe they were :
• worried about a loved one
• thinking about a problem to solve
• looking at someone/ thing past my shoulder that upset them….—> none of which had anything to do with me!

Changing the meaning of a word or term, often done in marketing, where the same product is given a totally new purpose, a different use &/or presented to new markets.
It can also be the way a phrase is accented, as in the picture
EXP: Many pre-Christmas retailers will say they’ll help you “Pay less” with special deals, but the Berlin lingerie store Blush recommends a ‘smaller’ holiday gift: “Make your loved ones happy with less!”

Sooner or later we may run into someone who loves to ask unfair or impossible DB Qs – the kind that try to force the answer the (S) wants, no matter which way you answer.
Unless we can step outside the Bind, we’ll be in a catch-22 – angry & possibly humiliated.
These Qs are usually made up of 2 parts: Reference to a ‘bad’ thing or an assumed action PLUS the issue of frequency (★ MORE…. )

The S starts with an accusation OR assumption about you, then asks if you’re ‘still at it’ or ‘will be doing it’.
By framing the Q as closed, you’re expected to only give a Yes/No or other one-word answer, without a chance to address the actual topic
EXP: “Are still lying? / Have you stopped beating your wife? / When do you want to help us? / How much money can you contribute?”….

RE-FRAMING: The only sane & self-respecting way to handle this kind of verbal trickery is to treat it as if you heard an open question, so that you respond to the underlying assumption rather than the closed question.
EXP: “What makes you think I’m a liar? / I’ve never beaten my wife & never will / I don’t have time in my schedule to help / I’ve already contribute all I can”…. (Open vs Closed Qs)

NEXT: DBs – Part 8a

2 thoughts on “Double BINDS – Re-Framing (Part 7)

  1. The idea of reframing is profoundly creative in that it is a step away from Learned Helplessness, which by its nature feels inescapable.

    I was struck by “…we can’t be “wrong” when we’re expressing our True Self, because each of us are unique.” I had so much training that I was/am wrong and I chip away at that daily.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.