THERE ARE SO MANY
different way to get trapped!
PREVIOUS: DMs Part 6 – Styles
SITE: Double Bind: Escaping the Contradictory Demands of Manhood Rodney L. Cooper, Ph.D.,
REVIEW: Double Messages (DMs) are manipulative forms of verbal abuse – always about control rather than love, no matter what someone tells you. DMs are not usually blatant or presented directly, but most often come in the form of seduction or as accusation. They’re structured so that the Receiver is deliberately conned into believe there’s no solution, & so no escape from the trap. We can also play this game with ourselves, & ACoAs often do.
PURPOSE of using D.Messages to D.BIND another:
1. from Manipulation to ‘evil‘
a. to keep you symbiotically tied to the Sender, unable to escape – preventing your autonomy & personal growth (S & I), because they have an unconscious Fear of Abandonment (FoA)
b. for power & from greed – to sell products, ideology or a way of life
c. for total control, a compulsion to always be ‘one-up’, forcing others to always be in a weaker position
d. to mess with someone’s head out of resentment, jealousy, revenge….
2. Not malicious, but just as controlling:
a. to not hurt someone’s feelings, by not saying what you really feel or think (‘I act like I want to be with you, but I really don’t, but I can’t say it’)
b. cowardice – fear of setting boundaries or have confrontations
c. social or religious training – must always be polite or ‘spiritual’
DMs are by design disorienting – so you can’t prove what the S is really doing. That way they never have to admit any culpability – nor change!
In reality – the problem is not you, it’s the Sender’s twisted ‘frame’ (how info is presented). SO, if you’ve been manipulated into playing this game, whichever side you try to go with (‘win’) AND no matter how many time you try the ‘other side’ – you will always pay a painful price for ‘winning’ the WRONG side of the GAME.
FORM 1: DMs can be presented by the Sender as 2 negative injunctions (warnings or commands) that always cancel each other out, BOTH of which must be obeyed AND whichever one is ignored will be punished – which is true of all DMs.
A: Do NOT do xyz or I’ll punish you (not allowed) – AND
B: IF you don’t do xyz, I’ll punish you (you must)
A: I’ll hurt you badly if you stay (so leave & save yourself) – AND
B: Everyone always hurts me, I’m used to it (so stay & save me)
FORM 2: More often, Message A can sound like a positive about something, while Message B is a negative about the same thing.
A: I love it when you play the piano (so I can brag/show you off) – AND
B: I hate it when you play the piano (you get too much attention)
A: I want to be with you because of you’re so wonderful (perfect) – AND
B: I’m angry at you for not being everything I want/need (not perfect)
FORM 3: DMs can also be expressed in reverse – A is hostile & B is ‘friendly’.
ACoAs: A familiar one which was set up for us by an abusive, drunk &/or mentally ill parent, who needed to:
A. keep you insecure, scared, feeling stupid & confused, even crazy, by constantly belittling & disapproving: “You’ll never amount to anything, never do anything right, no one will ever love you, you’re lazy, ugly, stupid…” These were said to INSURE you would never feel good enough about yourself to leave the symbiotic connection, to always be available to take care of them, one way or another
AND at the same time:
B. manipulate you (demand, cajole, whine, complement, attack) into being highly capable for them: figuring out how to do all kinds of complicated, intelligent, creative things to solve their problems, (and not just when they’re old!) – to be their nurse, therapist, lawyer, accountant, manager, cook, housekeeper, companion…. as long as you never used any of it for your own benefit. And so you didn’t, & still don’t!
● Talk about crazy-making! The parent says:
A = “You’re stupid & incompetent – for yourself , and
B = “You’re clever & capable – for me”
ACoAs are addicted to this cruel DM which put us in a DB, & now we perpetuate it in self-destructive ways, finding many other relationships to play it out. The problem isn’t just that we run into Ss, like our family – it’s that we stay.
Robert B. Dilts says: “The most emotionally intense Double Binds occur in the context of significant interpersonal relationships. They often involve a power struggle in which one person is trying to make the other person wrong. Such a struggle can also occur between the inner parts of a person.”
Double Binds for WOMEN, re work
• “Ambivalent sexism – Bitch or Bimbo”
• Double Messages & Sexual Politics
• The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership
• Beyond the Double Bind Women and Leadership
NEXT: DMs – Part 8, Re. ACoAs