I KNOW THERE IS HOPE
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)
CHANGING the GAME
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* allow 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 1: 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 2: 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