People are social creatures that live within a community. Each person interacts with one another, leading to change and growth. Games people play is one way that each person interacts. Games people play has been formulated by psychiatrist Eric Berne, M.D. Moreover, it is a perspective from transactional analysis that is often considered in the workplace and personal life experiences. The perspective suggests that every person plays a predictable series of interactions or otherwise described as social transactions that can be labelled. Two labels include:
Debtor - can be a lifetime game where the person will use the struggles of managing debt as a life purpose to talk about how he/she succeeded. There is also the “try and collect” usually performed by young married couples. It involves the debtor playing others (usually parents and grandparents) in a game of “I spend your money and you have to chase me to collect the money I owe you” and enjoying the chase and game. The problem occurs when the creditor becomes determined to collect the money and becomes coercive. The creditor can then play the game of “try and get away with it”. Moreover, a gift can put the recipient in psychological and/or physical debt for years to come.
Kick me - when a person does something (e.g., ignores the person, treats them with disrespect, arrives late) that results in a negative stroke (I’ll explain soon) to confirm that he/she is bad. Then he/she will say: “why does this always happen to me” and/or with pride “my misfortunes are better than yours”.
Every person will play a game where they expect positive or negative strokes to be returned, such as “I will do/say this, and you will do/say that”. The stroke is, as according to Berne, essential for psychological and physical health. If a stroke is not returned, then the person may experience anxiety, depression, etc. A stroke can be verbal, non-verbal or physical (e.g., touch).
In summary, understanding the games people play will help you understand why you and others interact, how to manage the interaction and most important of all how not to get hurt as some games are exhausting and can damage your sense of wellbeing and self.
jb Consulting and Psychology
Counselling, consulting and eduction to improve child, adolescent & youth mental health, and parenting skills.