PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 4)
BOOK: “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” ~ Chip & Dan Heath (review…..)
BDs, created by DMs, are like being called over to someone 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 scream that you’re being dramatic, hateful, over-sensitive, crazy, ridiculous…. (More…..)
• We can’t 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. If they are Ss you’re probably angry a lot of the time around them, & underneath the anger – you’re really scared, whether you can feel that deeper layer or not. Identifying the D.Messages you’ve been getting is imperative so you know what you’re dealing with, & then figure a way out.
IDENTIFY what’s going on. You’re only in a full double bind while the contradictory beliefs remain unconscious. Once they’re articulated, they lose their force. Questioning the contradictions & getting external support can often help with internal distorted beliefs. EXP:
a. Having many PTSD symptoms means I’m broken and 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: Fill in columns for each part of the Double/Triple BIND you’re in, in as much detail as you can:
— Conflicting commands & Consequences (from you or from others)
— Blatant & subtle Punishments
— Any attempts to unhook yourself
— What happened – in you or from others / overall outcome
— Why you’re still in it (internal reasons)…. (See “Step Away from DBs“)
• 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 manipulations:
EXP – Parent to 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’: “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 are doing this to suit ourselves because we don’t like the way you are, it only proves that you are indeed X (the label).
TEASING OUT Double Messages (which lead to DBs)
They are not just simply confusing, they’re devastating – as long as we don’t recognize ‘craziness’ when we hear it & then try to make sense of another person’s over-reaction or distortion of reality, which never has / had anything to do with us. Not having a clear sense of logic, and still believing we’ve done something wrong – keeps us under the Sender’s mental / emotional spell.
• If you are consistently very angry or uncomfortable by the way someone talks to you, they may just be mean, dismissive or unavailable. But if you’re also very confused & feel crazy, you’ve probably absorbed the characteristics of a DB being presented.
— Either way, first ask your Inner Child what it’s saying about itself. If it’s any form of self-blame, (“I can’t do anything right, I’m such a mess….”), the WIC is definitely agreeing with the family’s Toxic Rules
— If you’ve been subjected to a DB, the WIC is also twisting what it heard, using it against itself rather than hearing the twist in what the other person actually said / meant
IF the Adult’s version is quite different from your WIC, and others have agreed that you’re NOT crazy but rather a victim of someone else’s distorted communication – you can help your Child unravel the confusion & eliminate S-H
IF the Adult & the Inner Child are both saying there’s something wrong with the communication you’re getting, you’re a lot closer to being free!
NOTE: A totally different reason for getting angry (E) at what someone says may be because it causes a crack in some deeply held denial, which you’re not ready to face. But this kind of reaction (anger) does NOT include mental confusion (T). It’s clear, it just hurts!
REALITY: if you still feel emotionally confused & mentally lost, test the rules/ demands / statements/… for DMs, by first boiling them down to their underlying implications, to see if they’re contradictory, as in ‘DMs, Part 2’.
START with these outlines, or formulate your own:
> “It’s a good thing that X is….”, AND “It’s a bad thing that -the same- X is….” (and both must be accepted).
> “You’re bad when you X….” AND “You’re good when you X…”
> “I love it when it is X….” AND “I hate it when it is X….”
> “You should/must do/be X… to please me” AND “You should/must not do/be X… in order to please me” – etc.
EXP: Someone teases you & your feelings are hurt. If you complain, an S-type will say: “You’re too sensitive. What’s the matter, can’t you take a joke?”
But then, if YOU tease someone else, those same people will say: “That was a mean, cruel, vicious thing to say. No wonder nobody likes you.”
A – You’re bad (weak) when you don’t like my teasing, – AND
B – You’re bad (mean) when you tease others.
Said another way:
A – I disapprove of you when you’re over-sensitive – AND
B – I disapprove of you when you’re under-sensitive
NEXT: DBs, Part 6 – Changing