Double Binds-Double Trouble

19 Mar

I’ve been meaning to write a blog about “double binds” for a while now, and, recently had an experience that inspired me to do it-finally!What’s a double-bind, you ask? It’s a situation in which conflict is arising because at least one person involved in the conflict feels “trapped.” If he chooses “A,” something bad will happen. If he chooses “B,” something bad will happen. Does that sound familiar to you? It should because, frankly, we’ve all probably been in one before!images7LQEW1EP

The other day I found myself crying “double-bind” to a Mom who was putting her child in a no-win situation. She begged her child to leave the “nest” and strike out on her own. However, ten seconds later, she was crying about how much she would miss her “baby” and how she wanted her to live at home. Talk about a conflict!

I’ve been noticing them more and more, and they rarely come to a resolution without lots of confusion and hurt. As conflict resolution specialists, I think we should be keenly aware of how dangerous they really can be.

After all, how can each party move forward when someone in the conflict feels they lose either way?

I’m committing myself to crying foul when I notice one–and asking each party to be more clear about his intentions when they crop up. That way, instead of one or both parties feeling like “losers,” they can come out feeling like they, at least, have a choice.


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