Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Games People Play

Lu Writes

Let’s face it: we all could be cast on Survivor; Redemption Island.

John Lennon wrote a song about it; suspense thriller novels have been based on it; even romantic comedies poke fun at it. Let’s face it: we all could be cast on Survivor; Redemption Island, in the way we play games with one another.

Dr. Eric Berne (1910-1970), a Canadian-born psychiatrist, developed Transactional Analysis. This is a powerful tool that can be used to help an individual develop awareness and understanding behind motives and how he or she interacts with other people. This understanding leads to change: making better choices; altering responses that are counterproductive; or making changes in negative belief systems and eliminating dysfunctional behaviors. To read more…

Dr. Eric Berne became famous after his book, Games People Play, was published in 1964. In it, Berne defined certain behavioral patterns as “games.”

There are many games people play.

Some are destructive, some may be beneficial, and some are complex. Berne believed dysfunctional behavior resulted from childhood choices that were made for survival.

The “Game List” published on includes:

To read more common games…

Why is understanding how we participate in games important?

Understanding the “Why” behind our behavior and the choices we make will help one to recognize destructive behavior patterns that seem to repeat themselves. This understanding and awareness is the catalyst for change.

Each repeated transaction, the communication exchanges between two people, will influence how we think, feel and see ourselves. Our transactions are not solely the words that we choose to deliver our message. Our transaction includes how we say those words (punitively, authoritatively or compassionately) and our temperament (hostile, angry or calm). How we interact during the transaction determines how the game will be played out.

Understanding what’s going on under the surface and what our role is (how we play a part in the transaction) can help us improve relationships, communication and break unhealthy behavior patterns.

I think Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty.”

About the Writer

Luanne Stevenson is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on The Games People Play

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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on July 13, 2011 at 09:22 pm

this write-up came handy for me today....we are all a victum(s) of any of those games listed above, but....through it all...i think there is always room for a friendship at the end....just need to have an open mind and a open heart.

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By Luanne Stevenson on July 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

What if I paid you two quarters Cher? lol

I think Gary, Mike and Cher; you all understand this pattern of behavior and can recognize it in others. But what if you can't walk away (from a mother-in-law or from your own son)? Then, maybe it is important to understand them so we can interract with them more effectively?

A relationship is different--walk away from a partner that plays mind games for sport. But how do you walk away from your son or a relative you love? I guess you can if that is what's best for you. So far, I'm trying to recognize their dysfunctional patterns and figure out how I can relate to them better.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to comment!

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By Caballero_69 on July 14, 2011 at 01:14 pm

Being honest with ourselves, what a concept and what a challenge! The more I think about the nature of truth and honesty, the harder it seems to be sure one is not merely looking at a deeper level of self-deception.

When one adds in other people whose inner selves are absolutely closed to us, the complexities increase exponentially.

I simply do my best to follow the Shakespearean advice, "To thine own self be true. And it must follow as the night the day Thou can not then be false to any man." Truthfully, though, one never knows for certain if one has succeeded.

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By Luanne Stevenson on July 14, 2011 at 06:36 pm

I agree. You can't change someone else; but you can change how you interract with them (the methods used in Transactional Analysis) which will help your well being.

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By Luanne Stevenson on July 15, 2011 at 06:57 pm

Thanks Julian!

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