Monday, September 14, 2015


The narcissist loved to put you in a double bind....between a rock and a hard place. No matter what you do, things won't come out right. They are masters of manipulation and this is a way they can abuse you that they believe you can't escape. In other words, you get TRAPPED because, no matter how much you wrack your brain, you lose either way.

Here's some double abusive narcissist who has you walking on egg shells demands that you be “spontaneous”, except that the demand for spontaneity means that if you comply, you aren't being spontaneous. Besides, the N abuses you which makes you extremely cautious and withdrawn, so how can you be spontaneous? Either way, you're going to get it from the narcissist.

Here's another....the narcissist has made sex very unpleasant, ugly really, and you never feel loved or even cared about. The narcissist is very crude, the N is pushing porn and you aren't interested. So, naturally, this situation isn't going to make you welcome his fact, you dread it. So, the narcissist says if you don't, you're frigid. If you do, you get nothing out of it except that you feel used.

And, another....the narcissist likes, say, going to a sporting event, say....NASCAR racing. Fine, but the problem is that the partner doesn't care for NASCAR. Now, the narcissist insists that the partner go...AND LIKE IT...otherwise, it proves how selfish the partner is. If the partner goes, they are more than bored, but have to pretend to be having fun, but if they don't they will never hear the end of it. Notice that this double bind has a lot in common with the one just above, with sex....insisting that you do something you don't want to do and don't like, and expecting you to enjoy it.

Notice that the key to the double bind is that whatever you chose, you get adverse consequences. And, an insidious aspect of this is that it APPEARS as if the narcissist is NOT controlling because it SEEMS that the Narc is giving you a choice, but it's a false, and this is a form of control.

A double bind appearing as an ultimatum sounds like you want to do something that you don't want to do, or do you want me to find someone who will? Do you want to get off my back (not object to anything I'm doing), or do you want me to leave? Yikes.

Suppose the narcissist asks you if you want to go to the show, or out to eat. You say, “Well, out to eat and somewhere nice”. The N says, “So, you don't like going to the show with me?” You: “No, that's not it.” Then, the next time the N asks you something like this, you answer the opposite, “The show”. The N says, “So spending time with me talking at the restaurant is something you don't like.” Or, you say, “You decide”, in that case, the N says, “What's wrong with you. You can't make any decisions. I have to do it all for you.”

So, what do you do when presented with a double bind? If you play the N's game, you're had. You will lose. So, you DON'T PLAY. Detach and observe. Reason out what the N is doing and why. The key is to not be COERCED into a decision you don't want. This is where boundaries are very handy.

In other words, if the narc tells you to choose between X and being married, you say, “I'm going to do X. You do what you want.” That keeps control of your life in your hands, not the Narc's. Don't allow the narc to divert by deflection, where you end up defending your choice. You know you'll never get anywhere with that. You've got to opt out, and that means saying what you will and won't do, and will and won't tolerate. I should add that when I did this, my NarcX chose to end the marriage, which I was perfectly OK with by that time.

And, don't shrink up in defense. You have to be strong and assertive, and yes, I know that this has consequences, but allowing yourself to be manipulated and abused has extraordinary consequences as well. This is YOU CALLING THE N ON THEIR SH*T, but not engaging in dispute and debate. There is no compromise with a narcissist. The N thinks they MUST be in control, and shared control is not in the cards with an N.

So, when you realize that you're being put into a double bind, take a step back mentally and emotionally, and decide what YOU want to happen. I realize that in a normal relationship, there is give and take. Not in a narcissistic relationship. You have control of your life, or the N does, and that's a REAL choice, not a double bind.


  1. My NEx used to accuse me of the double bind all the time. I never understood what he meant. I had never heard of this before him. He would say, " you just have this way. No matter what I say I'm worng." I was using logic to unravel his crazy reasoning and he didn't like it. Now this article makes it all clear. He was really projecting on me and setting me up to turn the tables. This blog is really teaching me a lot!

  2. Has anyone ever been gaslighted ? It is so awful. He used to do stuff like put the conditioner in the bodywash bottle. Olive oil in my hair serum. Hair remover mixed with my shampoo. Just crazy stuff & then he would say I was making it up. Every time I got proof of something he did. I would go to get it to show someone and the stuff would be gone. Stuff that sounds so crazy that if u tell anyone THEY THINK THAT YOU WERE CRAZY.