ENNEAGRAM Basics (Part 2)

I’d like to know more

PREVIOUS: Enneagram Basics (#1)

SITEs: Variations & Types of the E.
“Who are you Enneagram” – sites
Enneagram LEADERSHIP Types
EXTENSIVE description of each type

: “The Three Keys to Understanding” by Pat Wyman, combines the MBTI, the Enneagram and Inner Child Work
—  “Are You My Type, Am I Yours?, Relationships Made Easy Through The Enneagram” ~ Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele

#1 Reformer / Perfectionist – (Terrier) SELF IMAGE: I am perfect.
• The GOOD person, highly responsible, fixated on improvement: orderly, principled, rational idealist, reasonable, self-righteous.
— They’re driven to do the ”right’ thing. Often critical of self and others, have a over-developed sense of responsibility & are prone to repressing their anger

#2 Helper / Giver – (Cat) SELF IMAGE: I am helpful.
• The LOVING person, who needs to be needed: caring, concerned, generous, nurturing, manipulative, possessive, well-meaning.
— They will go the extra mile to please others at the cost of taking care of self. Gives a lot and is proud of it, but strings are often attached

#3 Motivator / Performer – (Peacock) SELF IMAGE: I am successful.
• The EFFECTIVE person, focused on looking successful in order to be validated: adaptable, ambitious, arrogant, goal & success oriented,
image conscious, pragmatic.
— They’re efficient, achievers, goal-driven and focused on being a “winner”. Concern is with appearances, style over substance, often refusing to be introspective/self-aware, they crowd out family & friends

#4 Individualist/Romantic – (Basset Hound) SELF IMAGE: I am unique
• The ORIGINAL person, seeking identity, who feel special and different: artistic, aesthetic, depressive, intuitive, self-absorbed, sensitive, withdrawn.
— They crave self-expression & emotional depth. Sensitive to beauty & meaning, prone to melancholy, they feel inadequate & envious

#5 Thinker / Observer – (Fox) SELF IMAGE: I see thorough.
• The WISE person, who tends to withdraw and observe: analytic, cerebral, eccentric, innovative, original, perceptive, provocative.
— They recognize & can synthesize information in new ways. Are emotionally detached, protecting their privacy & personal resources

#6 Loyal Skeptic – (Rabbit) SELF IMAGE: I do my duty.
• The LOYAL person, with a major conflict between trust & distrust: anxious, cautious, committed, engaging, hardworking, responsible, traditionalistic.
— A term-player OR rebel-vigilant, they’re always scanning for threats from the environment. Are loyal and engaging, but full of contradictions which create self-doubt and indecisiveness

#7 Enthusiast / Epicure – (Monkey) SELF IMAGE: I am happy.
• The JOYFUL person, pleasure-seeking, always planning – something, in search of distraction: accomplished, excessive, hyperactive, manic, uninhibited, versatile
— They have a perpetual surplus of new schemes & goals, they’re eager for experiences and/or material goods. Habitual optimism covers a fear of boredom and pain

#8 Leader / Challenger – (Rhinoceros) SELF IMAGE: I am strong.
• The POWERFUL person, taking charge in order to not be controlled: authoritative, challenging, combative, confident, decisive, determined, executive, powerful, self-sacrificing
— They’re driven to control self and environment, they’re capable of both domination and protectiveness. Vulnerability and a tender heart are hidden under a tough exterior

#9 Mediator / Idealist – (Elephant) SELF IMAGE: I am content
• The PEACEFUL person, creating harmony: complacent, disengaged, easygoing, optimistic, phlegmatic, receptive, tolerant.
— They’re good at seeing all points of view, trying to be a peacemaker – while easily distracted from noticing personal needs and priorities. Avoid direct confrontation & can be passive and immovable.

HOW each Type would approach a RIVER to cross
Imagine a large group made up of all 9 Types traveling together, coming to a river without a bridge. How do they deal with this obstacle? Each type is unaware of their True Nature, yet unconsciously approached it in their own ‘compulsive’, default style. Notice not everyone gets across!

ONES search for & find the only ‘perfect’ place to cross
TWOS start to swim across, then double back to help others. Because they continue to do this, they never get across themselves. Some drown from exhaustion
THREES wait at the edge until they’re the center of attention. Then they wear their best outfit & swim with fancy strokes

FOURS cross using a variety of artsy styles, even doing a water ballet
FIVES never get into the river. They hide behind a tree & and take notes on what everybody else does
SIXES either fearfully grab onto someone strong to help them across, OR stride into the water & do the traditional over-arm stroke

SEVENS splash, dive & generally have a party, and it doesn’t matter if they get across or not, as long as they’re entertaining the crowd
EIGHTS march into the water and swim upstream – against the current, but they always get across. Some even help the weaker ones
NINES amble into the water and float downstream – with the current. If they don’t drift out to sea, they eventually land OK

NEXT: Enneagram – Basics (Part 3)

ENNEAGRAM Basics (Part 1)


makes me squirm

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 12)

ARTICLEs:Using the Enneagram from a multi-dimensional perspective

The Enneagram, Jung & MBTI

QUOTE: “Always remember that it is your birthright and natural state to be wise and noble, loving and generous, to esteem yourself and others, to be creative and constantly renewing yourself, to be engaged in the world in awe and in depth, to have courage and to rely on yourself, to be joyous and effortlessly accomplished, to be strong and effective, to enjoy peace of mind and to be present to the unfolding mystery of your life.”
Don R. Riso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram (p. 41)

Essentially the Enneagram shows us how we CAN BE, at our best, as well as how we are – in our weaknesses. It is a merciful delusion-buster that opens us to the truth of our experience by the use of radical awareness and compassion.
• It is a Map of Wholeness. Its primary purpose is to study the universal Human Soul expressed in each of us, to connect us with what is deeper than our persona – legitimate but limited – and to that which does not come from our ego-fixations (weakness to be overcome).

• It is a “nature/nurture” system, with both social & genetic components to each Type, psychological templates tied to brain development as well as the influences of our environment, & so can be considered ‘programs’ or life-scripts. They also point to Carl Jung’s 9 psychological processes of consciousness & 9 distinct versions of the his Shadow archetypes, all of which makes the Enneagram a powerful system for self-understanding.

• The 9-point diagram gives us nine different sets of values & filters through which we can view the world, a way of describing inner experience as well as conscious self-image. But it goes deeper, indicating unconscious motivations as the source of thoughts, emotions & actions. It can help people recognize & expand the boxes they’re already in, & ultimately a way to dissolve those boxes.

• Although everyone has some aspects of all 9 numbers, we are each born as one basic type, with the others operating in the background to drawn from throughout our life. Based on this foundation we then develop a ‘passion / fixation / weakness’ as a reaction to our earliest experiences. This fixation governs our outlook & behavior until modified or corrected.

• The Enneagram symbol is an ancient form to describe the path of self-development. It can be traced at least as far back as the Greek mathematician Pythagoras (c. 500 BC), developed by Christian & later Sufi mystics (c. 500-1000 AD). It was re-introduced in the 20th cent, starting with the Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff (a controlling Type 8), the founder of an influential Inner Work school, who drew from Sufi tradition & focused on sacred dance.

• Then Oscar Ichazo, the South American student of ancient wisdom, formed the Arica School, updating the Enneagram by creating a system of Types using Gurdjieff’s ‘chief feature’ as a starting point. More recent writers, including Claudio Naranjo, Don R. Riso, Russ Hudson & Helen Palmer, have developed the Enneagram further, adding a psychological emphasis to its spiritual base.

The symbol is made up of :
A circle, representing the whole experience of life. It’s used as a Process when moving around the circumference, and as an Experience if taken as a whole, or as a Point. It speaks to the cyclical nature of change – death follows life, life follows death – with its progression through time

enn SYMBOLA triangle, dividing the ‘one’ into 3 parts. The points touching the circle (9, 3, 6) are where external energies provide the fuel needed to drive any process, including needed Change. It exemplifies the universal Law of Three (man-woman-child, Body-Mind-Spirit, the physical-emotional-intellectual body)

The Six straight Lines come from dividing the ‘one’ by 7, which equals a repeating fraction* (.142857142…), but does not include the triangle points. Placing these decimals around the rim form the 6-line web showing the essential internal movement of the universe, & gives us the direction of our personal growth-work as we move around the outer circumference. The “missing” 7th line is the point in the center of the circle.
*The Enneagram has been associated with the invention of the decimal system.

We can say the Enneagram is:
● a mirror, reflecting the truth of who we really are.
● a map, guiding us toward growth and liberation.
● a catalyst, speeding our journey of self-knowledge & transcendence. .

NEXT: Enneagram Basics (Part 2)

Double BINDS – Solving (Part 12)

is scary but liberating!

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 11)

INFO & CHART BY (Below): James Lawley, presented at June 1999 ANLP , with Penny Tompkins

Levels: Every person or system has its own built-in self-preservation, & acting to maintain their identity (in unhealthy or healthy ways) – as seen in the family mobile. To do this successfully, the system is able to change at one level (lower) in order to maintain itself an another ‘higher’ level. See DBs, Part 2.

• However, these same processes which keep a system from dissolving or spiraling out of safe bounds can also act to block, brake, constrain,hinder, inhibit or prevent development and transformation
-via BINDS: any repetitive self-preserving pattern which never-the-less is inappropriate or unhelpful, & which the person has not been able to change

• Although the organization of each bind is unique, they can be expressed many ways – non-verbally, as multi-layer conundrums, in recursive patterns (repeating itself indefinitely), conceptually – such as the line by Groucho Marx, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member”, & metaphors: “I’m trying to run round a track to overtake my ideal self twice, and the more I develop the more the gap widens.”

As clients become aware of their binding patterns they’re faced with a hard choice: to be forever trapped in the bind OR risk moving into that scariest of places – the Unknown. But as their binds become clearer and clearer, they may spontaneously reorganize, which modifies or eliminates their need to DB themselves or others.

PROCESS – See chart
• Name and locate the parts of ones metaphoric ideas (what’s underneath the beliefs, using “Being stuck is like ….. Because …..” statements)
• Clarify the relationships between components, and the patterns across ideas / beliefs
• Once identified, the patterns themselves can be named, symbolically represented and explored

• Thus the modeling process (gathering all the elements & then subtracting what’s not relevant) continues at a higher, more inclusive level of organization (DBs, #2).
The combination of components provides a Metaphor Landscape, a context in which a pattern of the patterns – the larger organization – emerges, which provides the conditions for change

Note: The “Operational Closure” at each level of this procedure occurs when the various components and their inter-relationships are clear enough so that the whole ‘fame’ is brought into the person’s consciousness
Full explanation of Chart…..
resolve DBs

Double BINDS – Positive Use (Part 11)

if I only knew how!

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 10)

SITE:Talking to Toddlers: Double Binds in Parenting Young Kids”

QUOTE: “If a man achieves or suffers change in premises which are deeply embedded in his mind, he will surely find that the results of that change will ramify throughout his whole universe.” ~ Gregory Bateson

After all these post on the ‘evil’ of D. Messages & D. Binds – would you believe there are actually ways to use DM for good?
On the one hand they can cause untold suffering. On the other – the pain can motivate us to transform ourselves, if we’re willing to do the work.
Invaluable leaps in learning & personal development involve “including & transcending” (Wilber) both our negative and our positive binding patterns. Often our greatest strengths come from being doubly bound to enact them. Steve Jobs couldn’t not innovate.

PURPOSE: to help clients release painful emotions & get past their resistance to positive changes. Sometimes clients don’t want either choice of a positive bind, even tho both are to their benefit. DBs are one of the most effective indirect language device available for inducing trance, as a way to encouraging therapeutic ‘movement’.

• The POSITIVE use of DBs was instituted by Dr. Milton Erickson, as a therapeutic tool. He first learned the art of the DB from his father, who would ask, “Do you want to feed the chickens first or the hogs, and then do you want to fill the wood box or pump the water for the cows first.” The elder Erickson gave Milton a choice of which chore to do first, but the boy was not free to leave the chores undone. Erickson admitted he consented mainly because he chose the order in which he did them.

Clinical Hypnotherapist Dr. Jay Stone uses double & triple binds to subtly aid the client. EXP:
Double Bs “Will you apply your lesson of self-care before or after you let go of your resentment?” THEN:
Triple B “Will you apply your lesson of self-care daily, weekly or monthly?” If the answer is ‘daily’, then clients are asked: “Will you
apply your lessons of self-care 1 time, 2 times or 5 times a day?”

• In two-level communication, the conscious mind gets a choice, but the unconscious mind does DBs - POSITIVEnot
• In the triple bind, the client’s conscious mind is allowed to choose how often to apply the lesson, but the unconscious mind has agreed to self-care as soon as the conscious mind made its choice of frequency.  USE Sample Form

ACoAs: This way of using DBs is very effective with toddlers (see ‘SITE’ above) and is worth learning to use with our WIC, who is usually resistant to more direct forms of change.  (Read more…..)

WIN-WIN We can learn how to create win-wins for ourselves and others, using positive / therapeutic DBs to help create a desired outcome, rather than living in anxiety. This would make both Sender & Receiver right, no matter what they do or say. Once we’ve mastered the skills to deal with DBs, we gain greater confidence. There are five dimensions of the Win/Win model: Character, Relationships, Agreements, Supportive Systems and Processes.

Examples from Business &/or Parenting Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 4.29.04 PM
a. When forging good relationships is the main focus & goal, Win/Win is the desirable outcome.
b. BUT in a competitive situation OR in an unhealthy one, where making a safe connection isn’t possible, Win/Lose is a valid option.  (More….)
• In that case, the “Purpose frame” is applicable – to give the other person what they want (actual need), but not what they asked for (request).
EXP: Eskimo needs warm feet…. (Read )

Alan Watts, philosopher & theologian, noted that DBs have long been used in the East as a therapeutic tool & a path to spiritual wisdom. The Zen Master purposefully imposes them on his students through various skillful means (upaya) in the hope that they achieve enlightenment (satori). One of their most prominent techniques, especially in the Rinzai school, is called the koan (unsolvable problems), where students are posed a Q. and instructed to pour all their mental energies into finding the answer.
EXP: A student can be asked “Show me who you really are.” OR “What was your original face before you were born?”. These are to be meditated on until the student can give an appropriate answer.

• Since there is no correct answer possible, the goal is for the student to become so frustrated in the quest that the ego relinquishes its hold, and the student gains enlightenment by seeing through the false mind of duality – the DB. According to Watts, the student will eventually realize there’s nothing to do, and nothing they cannot do, to present their True Self, thus learning the Buddhist concept of anatman (non-self) via reductio ad absurdum.

• Bateson’s book “Towards a Theory of….” tells of a Zen koan: The Master holds a stick over the pupil’s head and says fiercely:
— If you say this stick is real, I will strike you with it
— If you say this stick is not real, I will strike you with it
— If you don’t say anything, I will strike you with it ….
…. and the student submits to the conflict in order to learn. The pupil might: reach up & take the stick away from the Master, then break it, or make it into a broom stick to sweep the room, or…. This would resolve the impasse, and the relief of finding a way out would be its own reward. (3rd possible way to counter a DB, see Part 3).

• Since the ZEN master is trying to help, he’s relatively open about the contradictions presented, accepting and approving of the student who finds a solution to the dilemma.
In contrast, in a destructive DB relationship, unacceptable contradictory parts are presented covertly or in a way that makes them inaccessible, so that the victim who does finds any way out is made to be wrong or otherwise punished.

NEXT: DBs – Part 12

Double BINDS – Tools (Part 10)

help with DBs

all I have to do is use it!

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 9)

SITEs: ‘Dealing with BDs’
Double Bind Insults

Many of the previous posts have tools you can apply to this issue.
In addition, since change is so scary & difficult, working on shifting out of DBs can bring up quite a bit of anxiety (a fancy word for fear / terror).
Remember the old Gershwin song “Someone To Watch Over Me”? Maybe no one ever did truly watch over you, so you didn’t learn to do it for yourself. It’s a good time to start – by learning to be the Loving Parent you never had.

● While we can’t stop being afraid of the changes we decide to make in dealing with DB-ers, we can take some preemptive actions to help ourselves. Before talking to / spending time with – difficult people, it’s important to take care of yourself & reinforce your ADULT and PARENT ego states, so that your WIC doesn’t take over.
Plan ahead BY:
— getting enough sleep the night before, & eat healthily
— taking more time to get ready, leave enough time to travel, wear something comfortable
— talking to you Inner Child before the ‘event’ to prepare him / her. Do the first half of book-ending
— doing some rage work, if at all possible, so you go with less pent-up rage & frustration
— calling a safe person for support. Take a friend with you, if possible
— knowing that you cannot be perfect, because humans aren’t!
— remembering – you are NOT the crazy one
— praying for guidance & inner peace

It’s not you: You are not stupid or crazy – the DB is crazy-making, the way you’ve been set up in a no-win situation by a damaged /abusive person or system
Trust your gut: If you ‘feel’ something is wrong, believe in perceptions, & if necessary – check it out with someone you trust.

Believe in yourself: Be aware of your own power to break free & the intelligence to get out of the dilemma, so you don’t slide into one of the co-dependent roles – Victim, Rescuing the S, or Perpetrator.
Question the statements: If what you’re being told is self-contradictory, AND you’re supposed to act on both, you know the whole communication is flawed & is not to be honored

Threat of punishment: Be sure the person can actually do you any actual harm. You may already have experienced how they react when you don’t fall in line with the craziness, & you survived. What form did it take? How did you cope? What was the outcome? What kind of actual power do they have over you in the present? Do they pay your bills, are they in charge of your employment ……? If not then you definitely have the freedom to ignore the mental games they’re playing. If they still have some control over your life, you can use the suggestions in many other posts.

Redefine punishment: Yes – the S may get angry & say mean things – but once you believe you’re a good person & you “know what I know” they are not actually harmful. To a child, all forms of abandonment on any PMES level feels intolerable (‘death’) – but you are no longer a child. Punishment is not just physical abuse, but includes disapproval, verbal abuse, being ignored & deprived….

Meet your own standards: Since all choices lead to punishment, pick the side of the bind that fits your personality & circumstances. Give yourself permission, even if others around you don’t agree
Change the focus: In some cases, you can successfully shift attention
outside the double bind (DBs – Part 3, #3)

Look for allies within the situation: Adults need to go elsewhere for approval, respect, kindness… since the S is not willing or able to provide these. In the medical example (DMs, Part 4) maybe some one in the doctor’s office can encourage & validate you. Don’t let your fear & shame isolate you.

Get external support: Look for people, groups & activities that help you feel strong, resilient & let you be creative & have fun – let you breathe!
Keep searching until you find outside witnesses or authorities who will believe you & understand the problem

Walk away: It’s a big world AND you’re not a child anymore. Teach your WIC that you can get your needs met in abuse-free ways. Keep looking for them using your Healthy Adult.

HELP for ANXIETY: 11 TIPS to manage anxiety
Self-help for Anxiety Management (UK) NEW APP on iTunes
WORRY solutions    /         ANXIETY – Home Treatment

Double BINDS – Re-Framing (Part 9)

Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 3.48.53 PM I CAN SEE THIS ‘MESS’
in a whole new light! 

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 8)

BOOK: Double Bind: A Guide to Recovery and Relapse Prevention for  Chemically Dependent Sexual Abuse Survivors, Caryl Trotter 1992

• A frame is a focus of attention you give to something (“DBs”, Part 3).
Re-Framing (R-F) assigns another meaning to any upsetting situation, that helps identify, interpret & respond to it in new ways. It’s a powerful tool for solving problems which come from assumptions that insure staying stuck. Re-framing asks “How can I think about or do this differently?” (Also see AGREEMENT Frame)

• Dealing with DBs requires making cognitive leaps by using a broader way of thinking, putting our experiences into a wider context. While re-framing by itself seldom resolves a problem, it offers the potential of “softening it up” so that a solution can be uncovered – one that’s acceptable, if not always wholly appreciated. This shift in thinking leads to self-empowerment, which leads to higher functioning & satisfaction, taking us from no-win to no-lose. (More….)

• ACoAs are used to being trapped (‘Learned Helplessness’), but eventually in Recovery we can come to value the inherent freedom of dealing with OR resolving our DBs. While we start out experiencing them as a horrible trap, we can make the shift to seeing them as an opportunity to choose what works for us. There are a variety of feelings (Es) and perspectives (Ts) to each situation (As) – like how each of us grieves a death differently, or how we show our love for someone. This means that we can’t be “wrong” when we’re expressing our True Self, because each of us are unique. The damage is the same for everyone but our essence is specific to us, so we’re free to choose our own style & our own path! (Grieving & DBs)

TYPES of Re-Framing
Context R-F – Figuring out where a ‘problem’ situation or reaction would fit better – the context that would be appropriate for it, would make it useful, make it a benefit or even an asset or skill. (Dancing in the isles in a conservative church/ synagogue /mosque would be a problem, but not at a Pentecostal or African-American Baptist church)!

Content R-F – Shifting the focus, either on a different part of the circumstance, & asking: “What else could this mean?” OR seeing that the same situation can have a variety of meanings – good, bad or different. (Someone was frowning ‘at me’. Were they annoyed with me? OR maybe -
– they were worried,  or just thinking about a problem, OR
– looking at someone/thing past my shoulder that upset them
— neither ow which have anything to do with me.

Value R-F – Changing the meaning of a word or term, often done in marketing, where a product is given a totally new purpose, a different use &/or presented to new markets.
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!”

DB QUESTIONS: 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 questioner (S) wants, no matter which way you answer. Unless we can step outside the Bind, we’ll find ourselves 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 the intended target (you), then asks if they are ‘still at it’ or ‘will be doing it’. By framing the question as closed, the potential R is 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 and never will / I don’t have time in my schedule to help / I’ve already contribute all I can”…. (Open vs Closed Qs)

Using R-F on Senders (S)
• As we make the effort to avoid playing the DB game (DMs, Part 3), it’s important to recognize the S’s reactions when we oppose or ignore them:
– Re. themselves: ”See how good I am”. They’ll strongly protest that they are not appreciated for the benefits they provide to society, maybe tearfully wonder why their benevolence goes unnoticed, and ask to be understood as an active agent of ‘good’. DO NOT fall for it!
– Re. others: “See how bad you are”. The S will try to strike fear into the ‘closed heart’ of an R who wants to get away, accusing them of being out-of-control. And with fake alarm will point out the one who opposes them (R) to anyone who will listen, trying to enlist others in turning the resisting person around! Stick with the winners & trust your gut instincts. . Since you can’t win, don’t try to placate them or explain yourself!
“Being happy is the best revenge”

• By re-framing, we can think of Senders as performing a service – as gifts to help us grow. Their destructive talent is the ‘art of camouflage’, but a knowledgeable person is not fooled by this evil which masquerades as goodness, nor be forced out of Abiding, even though the extremes of Fight or Yield are always available. (DBs, Part 6)

NEXT: DBs – Part 10

Double BINDS – Escaping (Part 8)

of finding a way out of this tangle

PREVIOUS: DBs – Part 7

SITE: Vinh.ly: The Magic way to Persuasion

ESCAPING DBs – requires:
• flexible thinking – giving up either/or (B & W) limitations
• a capacity to see beyond the obvious
• being curious & creative, willing to take risks
• having the courage to let go of the past & it’s ‘training’

Find your own ways to “leave the field of the DB”. Be creative. Use multiple perspectives and meta-perspectives, and become more mentally and physically flexible. By distinguishing between ongoing life events (career) and specific events (‘fight’ with boss), and identifying for differences between them (the ‘fight’ isn’t going to end your career), you can keep the situation manageable. Pick out any positive parts of the DMs which you can focus on & ignore the other parts: “Take what you like & leave the rest”, Al-Anon

Doing vs Being – Separate your identity from your behavior, so you don’t go into shame or S-H. Your actions are not your identity. We know that because there is a great difference between how we act based on our damaged self vs how we act when coming from our healthier adult / Natural Self.

Intense Emotional Attachment – The R’s fear of stepping outside the DB is the Fear of Abandonment – losing the symbiotic dependence on the S. The goal is to develop your own identity & become the center of your adult universe (‘first position’): accept & love your Inner Child just as he/she is, work to find out what your True Self is made up of, become your own motivation (internal referencing), own your strengths & accumulated knowledge, & practice emotional honesty.

Look for the Payoff – Dilemma: while DBs really do trap us & we may complain bitterly about not ‘getting anywhere’, many ACoAs are so used to being stuck & uncomfortable they won’t do anything to change it. What’s familiar FEELS ‘comforting’ – & we hate feeling uncomfortable. SO – which is it? Are we comfortable or miserable in our DB world?

WIC / ACoA ‘logic’: If I’m damned either way, that gets me off the hook. “I’m crazy & irresponsible because my hormones are out of whack OR I’m manic-depressive, OR just plain lazy….”
SO – I don’t have to do hard / painful emotions work, I don’t have to take care of myself & still get to be loyal to the family. Yipeee! – NOT

Compromise – There are always options, and not all compromise is bad!
EXP: An artist was commanded to paint a flattering portrait of his one-eyed king & he’d be executed if the painting showed any imperfections in the sovereign. But all was well when the royal artwork was finally unveiled. It showed the king taking aim with bow & arrow – with the bad eye firmly closed. :)

• We don’t have to like some of the compromises that can make a shift, but if they help us get un-stuck, they’re worth it. If we stop seeing every situation as all-or-nothing, we often find at least the start of a solution. Aristotle noted that doing virtuous things isn’t fun at first, but can become fun once you get in the habit. And to get in the habit we may have to push ourselves first. Since many of us are not allowed to be self-motivating, a little outside help to get beyond the inertia can be the incentive to get our engine turning over.
So, a we might be given the DB: “Don’t be childish – do what you’re told!” (act like an adult – be a child & obey), but sweetened with “Besides it’ll be fun / feel good / work out, once you get going”.

• A positive use of paradox can also be an escape from a DB. The Inner Child loves to do the opposite of what it’s told. Right?
— Can’t sleep, but desperately want to? Decide to stay awake all night, to remove the pressure. You may stay up as long as you want, OR —> not having to will do the trick & soon your eyes will close on their own.
— Afraid to go to a party? Decide to only stay for 15 min & then leave. Removing the pressure of having to on & being acceptable allows you to go, & maybe even enjoy it enough to stay a little longer.

Sort it out — Become more aware of embedded “thought viruses” in various communication distortions, using NLP tools & Chart in Part 5.
Meaning: Listen for obvious and subtle contradictions in what someone says – or you say to yourself – often in the form of CDs. Where the focus? Is the speaker -or YOU- talking about Emotions, Thoughts or Actions? Do they make sense? Also, what are the obvious & hidden meanings?
EXP. What is being implied here?: “Even Jimmy got an A on that test!”

Levels: Learn to discriminate between messages directed to different levels of experience (environment, behavior, capabilities, beliefs, values identity…). This will automatically help to distinguish different levels of distorted messages (DMs, Part 1)

Meta-messages - Notice the small visible changes in non-verbal cues when someone’s talking (a frown, an inappropriate smile or voice tone, clenched fists or stiff posture …) IF they’re at odds with the words being spoken. (ACoAs are notorious for telling horrific childhood stories while smiling, even laughing!).
Paying attention can help you identify mixed messages by tracking and sorting out various types of conflicts. It will help you respond differently to “Meta-communications”, which reduces the power of the DB, and possibly allow you to give the other person feedback, if desired & appropriate.

Trust your natural resilience & resourcefulness. Depending on how much S-H you have & how much you’ve been shamed for not ‘doing it right’, this may be really hard. BUT, it’s important for your adult to believe (as in: “I know what I know”) until the WIC can catch up. These are not qualities we have to learn or work for. It’s something we’re born with as humans – & proof is that we’ve survived many traumatic events. Self-trust will always demand courage, but that’s OK – we have a lot of that too.

Understand the inherent freedom in DBs. For adults – the truth is that they allow us more freedom than ever to choose our own path. Pick the side of the Bind that suits you best. If there are many different experiences and perspectives about a feeling state (mourning a death) or situation (choice of career)…. then how we respond to life is different for each person. This means that we can’t do it “wrong”, because there is no single ‘right or wrong’ way to feel or do what’s best for YOU. You’re free to choose your own way!

NEXT:  Part 9 Re-framing DBs

Double BINDS – Verbalizing (Part 7)

talking it over

& mean what you say!

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 6)

SITE:Escaping from the BD

SPEAK UP about the DB, because “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” (Al-Anon).DBs can only control us as long as the contradictory beliefs remain consciously denied or out of our unconsciousness altogether.

META vs. Congruent communication
Meta  – a special form of communication, sometimes unspoken but always implied info which the R picks up on but can’t prove. It may include non-verbal signals – tone of voice, body language, vocal sounds (sigh, grunt…) or facial expressions – which can contradict the spoken words. Can be a key to figuring out what’s really meant in a DM.

Congruent - (matching, in agreement) – All the various parts of the communication are consistent, agree with each other, fit together, make sense. If what you’re ‘receiving’ is not self-congruent,  know you must not participate in their game of control & point it out as best you can.

• We stay caught in DBs when we hide our fear – from shame, S-H & feeling crazy, assuming others will laugh at or belittle us. Questioning our beliefs & talking about them weakens the hold DBs have over us. We can’t afford to let our fear & shame stop us! Instead of being a lonely & passive victim, speaking our ‘truth’ allows us to become an active participant/ partner in helping 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 – whom we know to be safe & are not caught up in the dilemma. At the very least they can provide company & encouragement! “A burden shared is a burden halved.”

DB-ed by OTHERS : When we speak up, some things can shift, if not in the relationship with the S, than for ourselves – which is empowering. We need to be able to stand up for our rights, and say what we see & hear:

EXP: “I’m confused! Can we slow down & figure out what we’re really talking about? You’re sending me two messages where one cancels out the other. SO:
a. You say you love me, but in the same sentence tell me you can’t see me / can’t help me out / can’t go with me…. because you’re soooo busy. If I say it doesn’t feel like you care about me, you ask how I could say such a thing. If I try to explain it, you get enraged , insulting & belittling me.  SO – there’s no point in responding to you.”
> OR
b. You say you love me, but then you yell, call me bad names, support others against me, blame & shame me. If I say it doesn’t feel like you care about me, you ask how I could say such a thing. If try to explain it, you get all hurt & victimy. SO – there’s no point in responding to you” (More ….)

EXP: “Please say something that will agree with your body language and facial expression”
— Right now you’re tense & frowning, but you say you’re happy to see me. Which is it? Pleased or anxious? — OR
— Right now you’re insulting me but you’re smiling. Those 2 things don’t go together. What are you angry about? Be honest or don’t say anything!

Talking to the S:
• If the S can’t or won’t talk thru the problem with you – at all – work it out with someone else.
• If they blatantly deny your observations & feelings, don’t second guess yourself. Stick to what you know – then you’re free &  clear
• In some cases they may be willing to admit they’re being confusing / controlling, genuinely not realizing they were doing it. That’s good, but they may still not be able or willing to change
• If they are willing to listen, you can state your need for clarity & re-wording – as a wish, and as a desire to eliminate obstacles in your relationship

DB-ing OURSELVES: We started out trapped by family experiences, & then we continue trapping ourselves because of pain we don’t want to admit to or confront. (See DMs – Part 8a & b).

Remember – we’re human. So many of us have the same kinds of emotions beliefs. When we speak our worries out loud, even if we think they’re trivial, it gives the people around us a chance to say “Me too!”, which they may never have been able to before. Now there’s two – or more – who understand, can commiserate & be supportive

Start by identifying what you need & give yourself permission to do, to have or to feel it, even if others around you don’t agree. List all the things you want & don’t want. The contradictions will point out the DMs you’re telling yourself.

• Ask: “What do I really want in this particular situation?”.
It may be one side of the DB you’ve been in — or something completely different. List all the things you want & don’t want. It’s OK to be conflicted.  It’s also a way to sort out what has more weight.
— Do you want to go somewhere or stay at home?
— Would you rather hang out or work on a project?
— See your family or go to a show?…..
Our personal DBs are about internal conflict – health vs disease, obedience vs disobedience to Toxic Rules, resentment vs forgiveness….

When we ADMIT what we’re trying to hide from ourselves -
• Instead of try to go it alone,  we can talk to people as peers, rather than below or above them
• Reasonably healthy & clear-minded people can help us face our underlying fears & confusion
• We’ll be more accessible (instead of invisible) to others, especially if we’ve been indirect or distant for a long time. Saying what’s confusing will help them understand a little more about how us think & what we need.

NEXT: DBs – Escaping (Part 8)

OBITUARY of evil mother

bad mother

The link below is the obit Katherine Reddick wrote about her mother, & her rebuttal regarding comments she received about it.

I pass this article on to anyone who has been tortured by a parent, & is afraid to say so, or that no one will believe you.

Be aware it may take a ‘strong stomach’, but you are not alone.

“I WROTE THE “SCATHING OBITUARY” ABOUT MY MOTHER, AND HERE’S WHY I DID IT AND HAVE NO REGRETS.  I’m only now speaking publicly about why I wrote the vicious obituary. Even in death, this woman still gives me nightmares.”


Double BINDS – Changing (Part 6)

if I’m willing to use the tools

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 5)

SITE: “The Double Bind: The Intimate Tie Between Behavior and Communication” (Re. Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality)

1. Emotional / Spiritual – DBs cause stagnation – the opposite of Life.
LIFE is movement, & all movement has momentum. This means that our reactions & choices cause changes in direction – we’re always ‘going to somewhere’ (Desire) and ‘going away from somewhere’ (Aversion). It’s our normal state, and anyone unaware of this basic Human Design principle is very vulnerable to manipulation. Unfortunately, many spiritual teachings associate desire with shame, & aversion with virtue. ‘Followers’ – who consider themselves sooo higher-minded – take great pride in all the things they abhor, while convinced that needing/ wanting is a personal flaw or sin. Of course, this is also the way to obey several Toxic Family Rules - which makes is easy for D.Binders to use this distortion to capture their audience – including YOU. (review “DBs”, Part 1)

• TRANSFORMATION (healing) cannot be forced, but is rather a process, & when or how long it takes is unique to each of us. However, as we know, there are tools that encourage the shifts we want to make. For long-term changes one needs a clear mind – free of enough repressed emotions – to access one’s logic & creativity, in order to make choices or find possible alternatives to the DMs we’ve absorbed. This require the R to have enough S & I, self-esteem & good boundaries – to no longer be overwhelmed by the terror of losing the connection with the S. Some fear is to be expected – so the process requires courage – the ability to take action in the face of anxiety.

One key to resolving D.Binds is to first realize they are an illusion and a lie – just like perfectionism or self-hate. As adult we always have other options. We can find them if we’re willing to explore the beliefs and values that hold the illusion in place, which are based on what we assume is or isn’t real & possible. Mental, Emotional & Spiritual maturity* allows us to embrace paradox instead of running away, by ‘passing through the dilemma of irreconcilable double-binds’. We can only do this if we’re willing to struggle thru the various stages of personal growth. “FACTICITY”, by Elizabeth Michaels offers a sophisticated way of resolving paradox and resistance.

*Maturity: How well we realistically understand situations in their present-day context, are in touch with our emotions as well as in charge of how or when we expressing them, & usually respond from the Adult ego state, with ourselves & in dealing with others. Maturity eliminates Perfectionism! (Review posts)

• A sign of this maturity is finding the middle state which can be called ‘Abiding’ – calmly BE-ing, or NOT-reacting. Reacting (see ‘DMs, Part 2’) is the endless see-saw between aversion and desire, and causes much pain. Firm Abiding is the place between the two extremes – a place of choice, a place of peacefulness & assurance. Being able to Abide in the ongoing presence of a D.Binding control-artist, when absolutely necessary, is indeed a victory! This is not easy but can be done, & is a fundamental way to outwit DBs.

2. Mental, Practical – “We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.” Jean Toomer, American poet / novelist .
Change ONE part of the Pattern – start with some small part of the bind you feel you can handle. We can’t always choose what happens to us, but many times we can shift how we respond to the variations in life’s complex pattern, at least to some degree.
EXP: A woman wanted to stop smoking but was worried about the ‘inevitable’ weight gain. Instead of staying afraid, hopeless & paralyzed, she learned about nutrition & started changing how she ate – before quitting. That made her feel confident enough to give up the habit

EXP: Jason is in a less than healthy relationship. He’s caught between -
A. wanting to stay & please the other person (so he won’t have to feel lonely & abandoned) – but can only do that if he denies / ignores big chunks of himself (so his mate won’t have a crying fit or tantrum – again)
B. Jason also feels trapped, needs space & wants to be free to be more himself, to not be the ‘good one’, not always be in charge….. but isn’t ‘allowed’, neither internally nor by his mate: “I just want to love you – is that so bad?”
• Until he’s strong enough in self-esteem to leave & find a more suitable companion, he can try some small improvements in their routine together. Taking a half hour out of the weekend for a walk by himself, make phone calls privately, go to the store…. & see what happens. It’s OK to let the other person have their feelings (at least some of the time), & take care of his WIC, instead of hers.

RECOVERY EXP: In therapy Maria tackled the issue of feeling suicidal since early childhood, but never blatantly acted on. She learned that the impulse came partially from her mother’s DMs:
A. “You’ll be the death of me – yet” (you’re a potential murderer, it’s only a matter of time, you terrible child)  - AND
B. “Of course I love you – you’re my baby!” (as long as you’re just like me – perfect! So don’t be yourself, ie. the Real You has to die.)

– Young Maria could never be ‘perfect’ (please mom), no matter how hard she tried. She was always doing/being something her mother couldn’t stand – because the child was not like her! By the time Maria was 10 she wished she were dead, but suicide was against her religious training.
— As a young woman she ‘chose’ to date men who were not only emotionally abusive, but also physically dangerous. Maybe they would do it for her! But that never ‘worked out’ & she was left having to face the underlying problem.
In terms of the DB, it came down to siding with her mother’s messages or her own sanity. “Either she dies or I die”. Maria chose herself. Even so – her mother lived another 25 yrs, to age 90. No matter what – Maria didn’t have the power to kill her mother, and her mother had not succeeded in destroying her!

NEXT: DBs, Part 7 – Verbalizing

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