Bounded choice is a term that describes a situation wherein a person appears to have choices, but none of them are really attainable or viable. For Second Generation Adults – those who were raised in high demand religion, I believe that they face at least two specific kinds of bounded choice. One involves ignorance of alternatives. The other involves double binds.
Ignorance about a Better Way
Imagine asking a blind person to describe color or a deaf person that has never heard any sound to understand and describe music. Children who grow up very cloistered will understand their baseline as a normal, healthy life, and they will not conceive of anything outside of their small world. I recently spoke to a woman who was raised in a very isolated cult, and her family didn't have a telephone or a television. As an adult, someone asked her why she didn't phone the police when she was assaulted.
Having spent most of her life without a telephone and without observing adults using phones, that option didn't occur to her – had a phone even been available. She didn't have television, so she never saw a newscast or a drama where someone in danger phoned the police for help. Not until years later did she realize that she was completely ignorant about what our society considers a typical and healthy response.