Over the next three weeks I will explain a little more about how we can recognise patterns using transactional analysis models and then how you can start making some changes.
We often talk about people playing psychological games with each other and wonder what is really going on. The idea of games is explored a particular way in transactional analysis. A game is described as a repetitive but unsatisfactory interaction with another person or group of people. There are a number of elements to a game that can alert us to its presence:
- Ulterior transaction.
- Negative payoff.
- Out of awareness.
These games are a specific way to identify some of your self defeating patterns of behaviour. These patterns will have disempowered you and prevented you from accessing your full potential. The first step as I mentioned in previous weeks it to become more self aware.
A game may last just a few minutes or may last years. A game can only continue if both parties are willing to “play”. This willingness occurs at a subconscious level. There are a number of games that could lead to aggression if they get out of hand, here are a couple of examples.
A problem is mentioned, solutions are offered. For every solution there is a reason why it won’t work. Eventually the person offering suggestions gets exasperated and may become angry. Alternatively the person with the problem becomes angry and accuses the “helper” of being controlling and nosey.
This starts as a sensible discussion proceeding to a formidable argument. The psychological temperature increases and polite norms break down as each tells the other what they really think of each others ideas. A real potential here for violence.
There are many other versions of common games and many Transactional Analysis books will give you whole lists to help you identify your own ones. Next week we will use the “Drama Triangle” as a way of exploring games from a slightly different angle.