SAY WHAT YOU MEAN
& 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 deliberately ignored (loyalty to toxic family, not trusting our perceptions….), 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 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, be clear that you must not participate in the S‘s game of control, & then you can 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, cut us off….. 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.”
SAY WHAT YOU OBSERVE
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.”
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
SAY WHAT’S HIDDEN
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)