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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.
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.
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.
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.
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’