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The Double Bind Theory: Still Crazy-Making After All These Years (2006) [pdf] (psychotherapy.com.au)
29 points by kordless on Feb 9, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 2 comments

“This state of affairs is known technically as the "double-bind." A person is put in a double-bind by a command or request which contains a concealed contradiction...This is a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't situation which arises constantly in human (and especially family) relations...

The social doublebind game can be phrased in several ways:

The first rule of this game is that it is not a game.

Everyone must play.

You must love us.

You must go on living.

Be yourself, but play a consistent and acceptable role.

Control yourself and be natural.

Try to be sincere.

Essentially, this game is a demand for spontaneous behavior of certain kinds. Living, loving, being natural or sincere—all these are spontaneous forms of behavior: they happen "of themselves" like digesting food or growing hair. As soon as they are forced they acquire that unnatural, contrived, and phony atmosphere which everyone deplores—weak and scentless like forced flowers and tasteless like forced fruit. Life and love generate effort, but effort will not generate them. Faith—in life, in other people, and in oneself—is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.”

-Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are



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