The double bind an inescapable mind knot

"The classic example given of a negative double bind is of a mother telling her child that she loves him or her, while at the same time turning away in disgust. (The words are socially acceptable, the body language is in conflict with it)" ...

"A double-bind is an emotionally distressing dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, in which one message negates the other." ref.

how can we resolve such a situation ?

blubird :)

asked 22 Jan '12, 08:47

blubird%20two's gravatar image

blubird two

edited 23 Jan '12, 09:07

Barry%20Allen's gravatar image

Barry Allen ♦♦

in other words how do you sell a fridge to an eskimo?

(06 May '15, 11:36) jaz

how can I attemp to persuade anybody of anything? ... by drowning them in a flotilla of words and other symbols

(07 May '15, 01:17) jaz

also will say this often people are divided in their mind and in their heart. the mind say something and the heart say something else. so you get weird result and many double bind can come out of this. to give you example the mother can love her child but at the same time not understand what he does think or why he is like he is and in this world base on men made rule of what is acceptable and what is not. some time the mind and the heart conflict.

(07 May '15, 02:15) white tiger

what to do to get out of those double binds? make the heart and the mind be each with out division and work in perfect harmony. there is a lot of work to be done but the worker are fee. in this we only touched the water.

(07 May '15, 02:16) white tiger

"work in perfect harmony"- white tiger ... :)

(07 May '15, 05:00) jaz

@blubird two: how to resolve a double bind situation ... let go, feel good and allow

(07 May '15, 09:04) jaz
showing 1 of 6 show 5 more comments

I think the only way out is to convey in every way possible that the instructions don't make sense.

But it is more than that.

Even the above response of "Your instructions don't make sense" allows you to walk into the trap because by saying that you are essentially saying "Please give me instructions that make sense" which means that you are acknowledging the idea "I am giving you permission to give me instructions"

What you have to do is to go for the head of the snake or nip the problem in the bud by making it very clear that the person has no authority to give you any instructions (even if in reality they do)

If it’s a boss you could potentially say "You and I both know that those instructions contradict each other" or if you are really confident, "I'm not taking either of those instructions, if I need guidance I will ask for it".

If it is a family member or a friend, you could be much more snappy and say "What kind of BULLS&&T is that? Did I give you permission to order me around? Get the F*&K out of my face"

Whatever you do don't end your response with a question like "why? Or could you? Or Please?"

Always end it with a command where you are ordering the other person around.

This doesn't work if you put up with it again and again until can't take it anymore (AKA gather enough courage) and wait for enough anger to build up before you snap.

It works only if you catch the pattern of control right at the start and snap back right away without any hesitation.

You have to practice yourself reacting to the situation by roll playing the potential event in privacy. You have to do it until you react effortlessly with anger...but only for that moment.

This technique is not for predominantly angry people.

This is for meek and gentle people who are not used to standing up for themselves.

You can use anger as a tool that you wield with deft movements instead of as an emotion that takes complete control of you.

You use it quickly and suddenly followed by a Zen like calmness.

This is exactly what people who use double binds are trained to do, but they don't like it when you turn the tables on them.

So I suggest to you that you practice and practice on all the ways you can turn the situation around when you see it happening, and then follow through without fear, because the alternative would be regret and suffering.


answered 22 Jan '12, 16:54

The%20Traveller's gravatar image

The Traveller

well what you are saying is to use your ego to solve the problem. and anger will only bring more anger. i would say try all the other ways possible before using anger. solving a problem by creating another one is not the solution. find the solution and solve the problem. if you act with anger you are only creating another double bind situation.

(22 Jan '12, 18:06) white tiger

Don’t remember mentioning ego anywhere. However I do know that turning the other cheek doesn't work in a real situation because I have tried it. I think it's because most aggressors are not biblically or spiritually aware.

(22 Jan '12, 20:38) The Traveller

well traveller anger comes from ego.well sometime turning the other cheek works. but the best way to defuse a conflict is to tell the truth. and there again free will can work with you or against you. meaning that the person has free will just like you. if the person does not want to accept the truth and is still on anger and attack you then defend your self and win.

(22 Jan '12, 21:33) white tiger

@The Traveller - a brilliant analysis and an equally brilliant solution, thanks :)

(22 Jan '12, 23:38) blubird two

!Hey Thanks Bluebird two.

(23 Jan '12, 00:38) The Traveller
showing 2 of 5 show 3 more comments

The double-bind situation is where you can say, "Damned if I do, and damned if I don't!"

It is the most stressful of psychological situations, as there appears that there is no way out of the problem that will give a happy resolution.

Let us create a possible double-bind situation:

Your finances are maxed-out. You need more money. But you are a stay-at-home Mom, and you have four children. After calculating the costs of babysitters, new clothing, a second car, fast food for dinner, and all the rest, you discover that there really would be no profit in going back to work. What do you do?

I actually was in this situation for years, and it really was terrible. I was constantly torn between what my husband wanted (for me to work) and the innumerable problems that would arise if I was to get a job. I got so stressed that I developed chronic migraines, which helped nobody; but this is a classic side-effect of the double-bind: health troubles.

What did I do?

  1. I prayed to Jesus all the time to help us with our finances. And He did! I remember one day, both my son Johnny and my daughter Megan needed clothes badly. I prayed, and within 24 hours, two separate friends just showed up with bags of clothes for my kids. My son received name-brand stuff, really nice stuff (Ocean Pacific and the like), and my daughter also did well.

  2. I cooked large, cheap meals like wholesome soups and casseroles that did not cost a lot, but fed everyone well and often went for more than one meal.

  3. Every time that I felt the pinch of money, I asked God to intervene. I asked for Peace as well. It did me no good to dwell on the choice I had made-the right or wrong of it- so I tried to accept that choice, and live with it as peacefully as I could.

  4. I networked with other moms, and often got much-needed help from my friends and acquaintances when I needed it. Networking is a valuable answer to the double-bind situation. It places the whole world at your doorstep, and you find that people have big hearts and a lot of understanding- more than the media will give the world credit for.

I know I answered too late for this question, but I hope that my answer will at least help one person. Then my experience and struggles will have been worth it!




answered 23 Jan '12, 06:01

Jaianniah's gravatar image


@Jai - "it places the whole world at your doorstep, and you find that people have big hearts and a lot of understanding" ... what else could we wish for ? ... thanks :)

(23 Jan '12, 07:21) blubird two

@Jai - as a boy child may say to his mother

(23 Jan '12, 07:26) blubird two

i have a solution for this jai work from home ( doing clothing, or medical sample test tube, or being a nanny). then you can keep the children and work at same time.

(23 Jan '12, 16:01) white tiger
showing 1 of 3 show 2 more comments

This is because she is not whole in her intention as to the situation of the matter as it is at hand. There is a split there as in the way you worded it double bind. With this split of action on the outside verses who she is on the inside we see that on the outside she may seem mean but the true person is on the inside and may be completely different in regard to the love she has had for her daughter. So it is with the words she speaks that betrays her true feelings verses the actions that she may be using to outwardly express those feelings like the mask of how she believes she should appear to be verses what she really is within.

It is these times that we need to identify the whole truth. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to what is the truth and what is the mask that the real truth is hidden from inwards underneath the mask of false appearance.

I can put on my best suit and go to church on Sunday to be seen by all as an upright Christian church going guy. This means nothing to God, it is not appearance but who we really are. God wants us to go to church in our jeans and causal dress cloths, my pastor even dresses like that because God doesn't give a hoot about what we wear but who we are that is another thing. We are not to go to church wearing the mask of who we want to appear to be but to be sincere in our love for God.


answered 22 Jan '12, 19:23

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 23 Jan '12, 12:02


@Wade - "we need to identify the whole truth" ... become a truth seeker ... thanks

(23 Jan '12, 07:13) blubird two

Exactly it is not by only watching the magic trick that we understand but by watching how the magic trick is done that we realy understand. In other words like The Wizard Of OZ we need to not only see the great OZ but see the man behind the curtin pretending to be the great OZ. :-)

(23 Jan '12, 11:59) Wade Casaldi

@Wade Casaldi - and for me it is in doing the "magic trick" that we understand and realize there is a profound implicit truth at work beyond our comprehension :)

(23 Jan '12, 13:16) blubird two
showing 2 of 3 show 1 more comments

blubird nothing is inescapable you have free will. in your example the mother use the right words even if she lie to her self and do what she hates. the question to solve this problem would by why does she lie to her self to do what she hates. if you can find this answer you can solve the root of the problem. experience and enjoy.


answered 22 Jan '12, 18:11

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

@white tiger - nothing is inescapable maybe true, however in the real world continuous double-bind situations for a young and growing child has been shown to cause schizophrenia symptoms ...

(22 Jan '12, 23:32) blubird two

more label blubird? why put a label on the child if the mother is the problem? then the mother has the schizophrenia symptoms ... not the child. same with dog you cannot blame the dog for the owner mistake. sure you need to solve the root of the problem first then fix and repair the damage.

(23 Jan '12, 03:04) white tiger

@white tiger - yes my mistake my friend, thanks for reminding me not to put labels on things, very important :)

(23 Jan '12, 05:06) blubird two
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