double bind

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double bind

 [dŭ´b'l bīnd´]
a type of paradoxical communication or interaction in which one person demands a response to a message that contains mutually contradictory signals (verbal or nonverbal). The other person is unable to comment on the incongruity or to escape the situation.

dou·ble bind

a type of personal interaction in which one receives two mutually conflicting verbal or nonverbal instructions or demands from the same person or different people, resulting in a situation in which either compliance or noncompliance with either alternative threatens one of the needed relationships.

double bind

n.
A psychological impasse created when a person perceives that someone in a position of power is making contradictory demands, so that no response is appropriate.

double bind

[bīnd]
Etymology: L, duplus, double; AS, bindan, to bind
a "no win" situation resulting from two conflicting messages from a person who is crucial to one's survival, such as a verbal message that differs from a nonverbal message. An example is the insistence of a mother that she is not angry about a child's behavior although she is perceived as being obviously angry and hostile.
A situation in which option A and its alternative, option B, both have considerable disadvantages
Psychiatry An interpersonal dilemma in which a person is presented with mutually contradictory messages by another person, usually one who is respected by, or who has authority over, the person receiving the ‘mixed message’
References in periodicals archive ?
In order to help correctional officers frame organizational tensions in emotionally healthy ways, administrators should know that double binds are particularly debilitating when recipients feel unable to physically or psychologically step outside the problematic frame set by this message, either by physically escaping the message or by communicating about the tensions themselves.
Individuals can free themselves from the discursive prisons created by double binds through "metacommunication," or commenting about the message and contradiction process itself.
Further, organizational leaders could allow officers to step outside double binds by encouraging questions and metacommunication throughout myriad interactions with correctional officers.
Second, he exposes the double binds of the female witness, double binding her if need be, to ensure his own successful cross-examination.
Overtly, then, advocacy advice texts are motivated to explain the doublebinding behavior of female witnesses, and to advise novice lawyers about how to avoid the double binds and achieve success in cross-examination.
A position of uncertainty, decreased self-esteem, physical losses and double binds may contribute significantly to increased hopelessness and learned helplessness (Seligman, 1975) and any somatic complaints are likely to be exacerbated.
Double binds are most enticing when the two alternatives are positive, but they can work when both are negative.