Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. In August of 2007 I wrote an article. Today I felt led to share the article in an email that I sent to a friend. I would like to share the contents with you. In the event that you are living with a traumatic or acquired brain injury, or some other type of invisible disability I believe you will be able to identify with me. May you be encouraged.
Traumatic Brain Injury and the Double Bind
Posted by Second Chance to Live on August 28, 2007
Hi, and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by and visit with me. I am a bit flustered today with what has been going on in my world. I am doing the best I know how to do with my set of circumstances. I make decisions that are based upon previous experience and I seek to live a life of personal responsibility and accountability. Nevertheless, over the past week I found myself being placed between a rock and a hard space. If I agreed I would be jeered along the way and if I disagreed I would be shunned. I found myself in an all too familiar double bind.
The double bind becomes apparent when I interact with individuals in group 2 and group 3 as explained in My Struggle living with an Invisible Disability –Part 1. Although I attempt to educate people with in those groups as to the nature of my disability, for some reason they can not or will not accept that I have legitimate deficits and limitations. Nevertheless, in many instances when I interact with people within groups 2 and 3 they still want me to function as a person without deficits and limitations. What makes matters more difficult for me is that when I interact with individuals in groups 2 and 3 I am held responsible for not being able to live up to their expectations. Often times I am blamed, shamed or put in the position of being a scapegoat for matters that are out of my control and thus the double bind.
Based on my awareness and acceptance I attempted to negotiate a win-win outcome. In the process of attempting to negotiate an amicable course of action the other person became incensed with me. My attempts to negotiate a win-win outcome were discarded as unacceptable. After I stated how a win-win outcome could be obtained, our conversation became heated. In the process of attempting to prove my point I got caught up in justifying, answering and defending my position. Angry words were exchanged before the conversation ended. Several hours later I contacted that individual and apologized for my part of the verbal exchange.
Several nights later I attempted to process what I experienced during my negotiation process while attending a support group meeting. After the meeting ended, while talking with a friend he pointed out that I was focusing on the other person’s behavior. At first I found myself experiencing shame over wanting to be heard. Reality became apparent as I thought about what my friend had told me. In my attempt to be heard I lost my focus. I forgot to remember that the person with whom I attempted to negotiate continues to believe that I am making excuses and using my traumatic brain injury as a tool of convenience. In essence, I am being given the message that I should not be limited by the injury to my brain.
Through the course of attempting to negotiate the win-win outcome I re-learned several valuable lessons. I am powerless over people’s perceptions. I do not have the power to change anyone’s perspectives. What other people say or think about me does not make it so. I am not responsible for fixing another person so that we can have a better relationship. I can not help open eyes that chose to remain closed. I need to accept people for who they are, rather than who I want them to be.
Because I have the power to make healthy choices, I am able to avoid being placed in a double bind. I no longer need to stay stuck in shame and guilt for not being able to measure up to the expectations of people within groups 2 and 3. I am an empowered individual because I choose to practice live and let live. I am responsible to people, but not for them or their choices. In the event that people, like the individual that I discussed above, choose to deny my reality then I need to practice healthy self care and limit the amount of time that I subject myself to their criticism. In my choice I do not judge people in groups 2 and 3 as bad or wrong, I merely recognize that I am unable to create a win-win outcome through our interactions.
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