SAY WHAT YOU MEAN
& mean what you say!
PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 7)
SPEAK UP about the Double Bind (DB), because “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” (Al-Anon). DBs can only control us as long as we deliberately ignore our contradictory beliefs and their contradictory messages (loyalty to toxic family, not trusting our perceptions….), or keep them out of unconsciousness altogether.
LANGUAGE components help us become aware of embedded “thought viruses” in various communication distortions, (Chart in #6a). To stand up to internal or external D. Messages which put is in a D. Bind, we need to know something about the way people express themselves.
1. Congruent communication – (matching)
All parts of the communication are consistent, agree with each other, fit together, make sense.
But if what you’re ‘receiving’ is not self-congruent, make sure you do not participate in the S‘s game of control, so you can point it out as best you can
Listen for obvious or subtle contradictions in what someone says – or you say to yourself – often in the form of CDs.
Where’s the focus? Is the speaker – or you – talking about Thoughts, Emotions, or Actions?
Do the statements make sense? Are there obvious & hidden meanings?
EXP : What’s being implied when someone says “Even Jimmy got an A on that test!”?
The function of each level is to synthesize, organize & direct the interactions on the level below it (ANIMAL vs cat). Processes on a behavior level are different than those on a mental level.
EXP: Tying someone up would stop them from physically taking revenge, but not from continuing to plan it. In fact, it will often encourage it. (MORE….)
Learn to discriminate between messages directed to different levels of experience, which automatically helps distinguish different levels of distortion (DMs, #1)
LEVELS, from highest to lowest :
(1) identity, (2) beliefs & values, (3) capabilities, (4) behavior (5) environment. (6) -spiritual- a type of ‘relational field’ forming a sense of being part of a larger system beyond one’s individual identity.
EXP: “It’s a sin to lie” and “Don’t tell dad what I bought today”
Meta – a special form of communication, info sometimes unspoken but always implied, which the R picks up on but can’t prove.
They are non-verbal signals – tone of voice, body language, vocal sounds (sigh, grunt…) or facial expressions – which contradict the spoken words (incongruent)
Notice the small visible changes in unspoken cues when someone’s talking (a frown, inappropriate smile or voice tone, clenched fists, stiff posture …)
IF they’re at odds with the words being spoken. EXP: ACoAs are notorious for telling horrific childhood events while smiling, even laughing!
Paying attention can help identify mixed messages by tracking & sorting various types of verbal conflicts. It will free us to respond differently to Metas that confuse, reducing the power of the DB, & possibly allowing us to give the other person feedback, if desired & appropriate.
ALCOHOLIC RULES: don’t THINK, don’t FEEL, don’t TALK
ACoAs stay trapped in DBs when we hide our fear – from shame, S-H & feeling crazy, assuming others will laugh at or belittle us, cut us off…..
Instead, questioning our beliefs & talking about them weakens the hold DBs have over us.
We can’t afford to let fear & shame stop us! Rather than being lonely & passive victims, speaking THE ‘truth’ (not just our personal beliefs) lets us actively help ourselves, by not isolating with our emotional pain & mental confusion.
• Given the nature of D. Binds, it’s absolutely appropriate & necessary to need other people’ perspective to help us sort out the mess – a few we know to be safe & not caught up in the dilemma we’re fighting to escape. At the very least they can provide company & encouragement! “A burden shared is a burden halved.”
NEXT: DBs – Verbalizing (Part 8b)