A myriad of questions prompted me to research Transactional Analysis. Especially the fact that we have many games in our lives and that we can live without them. In fact we are not even aware of the games. But if we look purely from the everyday life. We start the day by waking up in the morning with the partner in whose role we are, partner, lover, husband, friend… if there are children here, we also appear in the role of parents, educators, persecutors, etc., then the profession we are in, in the role of employees, superiors, subordinates, executors, motivators, etc. … We come home, maybe we visit the shop we are in between in the role of protector, logistician, etc., and at home the morning game is repeated: hunting, please, executing, …, using various tricks, games to achieve the desired goal. And when we are completely tired, we still have to use the game of seduction (when our partner does not notice us), when we want to rest in an embrace or simply feel that we exist too.
If we do this every day, we quickly notice that we are tired. What we suddenly see for ourselves, we feel that we are no longer ourselves, that we lead a different life, that we are available for others. That there are countless different people in our lives, someone else we are tired of. And then we ask ourselves: Who are we?
Countless miles and years must pass before we realize that our life is full of play. And so we come to the same conclusion as Dr. Eric Berne, which he supported in Transactional Analysis. He has described this particularly well in the book: “What game do you play?
Alone I realized that the games were beginning to tire me and I wanted to get out of them. At the same time I wanted to see the reason why we play at all.
What I saw with myself and especially with the managers of family businesses, I realized that we learn these games from parents or educators. So their life pattern continues through us. Their way of life is “implanted” in us, which we adapt in our time and space. Dr. Eric Berne justified this as a script – a script for our life.
If we look a little different. Before we are born into this world, we do not go into some preparation room where we would learn to live, but we simply come into the world as an “indescribable piece of paper”. We bring a few things into the DNA record – mainly traits, character and the like, but we learn to speak, behave, think, react by imitation. This means that the parents give us how we will live through gestures, lifestyle, a life scenario/life plan. You could say they program us. Just as we program computers that cannot make their own decisions, but do exactly what we tell them to. If we think about it a little bit now, we realize that almost every decision we make is influenced by the excellent performance of our parents. But we have the opportunity to get rid of them!
But where are they? Where are these parents? We can see in ourselves that we have a conscious and an unconscious part of consciousness. This means that we can influence some things and others not. We are amazed at how we react; at certain moments we say, “But this is not me”. And this is where our parents hide: in an unconscious part, in a part that we cannot control. This is the place where the script of our lives is written. I am not talking about fate, but about lifestyle, about decisions, about how we should dress, etc. All these recordings happen in early childhood, until the age of six.
Before I go into the lifestyle that is written in the script, I would like to say that since my teenage years I have been haunted by the idea of what the heart and mind are. When we were unhappily in love, we used to say that our heart longed for this person and our mind distracted us from it. It was a kind of general saying, but I could not explain it to myself. I always imagined that there were two personalities in us. Well, now with the knowledge of Transactional Analysis things have become clear. There really are more people inside of us. Dr. Eric Berne described man as a being that constantly checks whether itexists. He called it a stroke, which means stroke.
An example: You walk down the street and meet a neighbor who comes in your direction, wishes you a nice day and smiles at you. You smile back and respond with the same wish. You have just exchanged “professions” with your neighbor. The line is a unit of recognition. Most of the time this exchange of professions is so close to us that we are not even aware of it anymore. Imagine a repetition of the event that happens like this. You walk down the street and meet a neighbor, you smile at him and he passes you by as if you were air.
If you are like most people, you would be very surprised at your unresponsive neighbor. You would ask yourself what is wrong? In fact, we need a stroke and feel deprived if we don’t get it (this is called attention in everyday language).
The facts are based on the findings of a very well-known study by Rene Spitz, who observed babies in an orphanage. They were well fed, clean and warm. However, they showed more physical and emotional problems than any other children raised by their mothers or other caregivers. Spitz concluded that the children lacked stimulation. All day they could only stare at the white walls of their rooms and had little physical contact with the staff at home. They lacked the touch, carding, and caress they would normally get from their parents.
Berne chose the word profession (caress), which refers to a child’s need to touch. As adults, we still crave physical contact. But we also learn to replace physical touch with other units of recognition. A smile, a compliment, a grim look, an insult – all these are signs that our existence has been recognized. Recognizable hunger is a term used by Berne to describe the need for recognition by others.
Professions can be verbal (greeting, praise, insult,…) or nonverbal (smile, gloomy look,…). Positive pods are those that the recipient perceives as positive, and negative pods are perceived as painful. From this we could conclude that people are looking for positive professions but avoiding negative ones. However, this is not true. Maybe there are even more! In reality, every profession is better than none.
This idea is also supported by an interesting study on rats (study name, performer). Two groups of rats were raised in the laboratory in identical empty boxes. One group received electroshocks a couple of times a day and the other no stimuli. To the surprise of the experimenters, the group receiving electroshocks developed better than the group without stimuli.
We, too, like rats, use both negative and positive pods to satisfy our hunger for stimuli. As children, we instinctively perceive this. We all experienced in early childhood how it is not to get a positive profession when you crave it. So we came up with different ways to get negative pods, despite their painful effect. We would rather suffer pain than be left without any profession (which is mainly reflected in families with violence).V odraslem življenju pogosto preigravamo ta vzorec iz otroštva in nadaljujemo z iskanjem negativnih strokov. To je izvor nekaterih vedenj, ki se zdijo samouničevalna.
Here we could also get the first answers as to why we are playing. Namely, our life scenario (Script) is constantly checking whether it is on the right track? Do we live as our parents taught us? If everything is according to the “plan” then everything is OK, if not, we cause a new game or in other words, we make the situation around us so that we will be Ok.
The goal of each scenario is ‘death’. Because it is the basic goal of life, it appears to us in almost every moment of life. If I write a little ironically, “Everything we do, we do to die,” which would otherwise say that the vast majority of things we do against our will, we do them to accommodate a life scenario written to please others. So I wrote earlier that we may even look for negative professions more often than positive ones.
I mentioned earlier that I found out for myself that there are several people living in us, whom I also met through Transactional Analysis.
Dr. Eric Berne also named these persons. In other words, he defined Transactional Analysis as a personality theory that shows us the psychological structure of a person. It uses a three-part model called the “ego state model”. This model also helps us to understand how people function and express their personality through behavior.
An ego state is a set of related behaviors, thoughts and feelings. It is the way we manifest a part of our personality at a particular time.
When I know, think and feel in harmony with what is happening around me in the here and now, and when I use all the resources available to me as an adult, I find myself in my “adult ego state”.
Occasionally I may know, think and feel in a way that reflects the reactions of my parents or other people who were important to me during my adolescence. Then I find myself in the “parent ego state”.
Sometimes I return to the way I behaved, thought and felt as a child. In these cases I am in the “ego state of the child”.
Each time we enter into communication, we address the interlocutor on the basis of one of the three basic states of self: as a child, as an adult or as a parent. Our interlocutor also addresses us on the basis of one of these conditions. The child and the parent have roots in our childhood, in the past. We know that the past characterizes us; Freud already said that a child is the father of man. Childhood determines our adult life in many ways. One might even say that somehow half of human beings are born, and the other half is created through education. Through education our inner psychic structures are formed. Someone who has very strict parents will probably be very strict with himself. And vice versa. A child is often characterized by inflammatory reactions similar to those in childhood; the parents, on the other hand, “return” to childhood by imitating the behavior of the parent figures.
If it can be said of parents and child within us that they are bound to the past, this does not apply to the adult. The adult does not imitate or present content from the past, but reacts independently, here and now. His behavior is in harmony with the reality of the moment. We all have all three forms of behavior, and every time we enter into any kind of communication we use one of these roles. If we look deeper, we could say that there are more roles. If we are a parent, we can be a caring parent, one who praises and caresses, an angry parent who forbids and criticizes, and so on. It’s the same with the role of the child: The first can be obedient, the second spontaneous and free, the third defiant. The concrete choice in this particular situation may depend largely on who our interlocutor is, on his or her form of communication with us. If he speaks to us sublimely, a defiant child will quickly awaken within us.
The choice of self-states is not fundamentally arbitrary, it depends on the individual’s experiences with himself and on previous personal experiences. In most cases, people behave spontaneously, especially if they are not familiar with these theories. Communication can also be very complicated: For example,
if our conversation partner reacts to an attack by a parent, the conversation can quickly end in an argument. If a conversation is continued as a child, he or she is immediately in a subordinate position. This type of communication can only be interrupted if we are aware of what is happening, which means that we are different from these roles, i.e. that we are an adult all the time.