Pillars of Madness: Part III, Role Casting Control

Professor Keirsey's Blog

Part III

There are four extraordinarily useful ideas amid the massive tangle of publications on madness, these contributed by four men of genius in the practice of studying and changing seemingly irrational human actions—

[1] The Temperament Base of Madness (Ernst Kretschmer)
[2] Distracting Automatisms (Pierre Janet)
[3] Role Casting Control (Jay Haley)
[4] Disarming Confessions (Alfred Adler)

[3] Role Casting Control

In the wake of Adler’s magnificent elaboration of Schopenhauer’s rule, Jay Haley, an American word analyst turned counselor, told us at mid-century that self-defense entails a peculiar kind of communication that occurs in those families in which low self-esteem abounds and high self-esteem does not, communication in which family members are exchanging irrational messages while involuntarily and inadvertently denying that they are doing so. Thus he defined defensive behavior as “self-disqualified relationship-defining tactics”, or as “paradoxical role-casting communication”, all family members continuously trying to…

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