Playing Games is a part of Transactional Analysis where the people communicating either become the victim, persecutor or Rescuer. The victim is the person that always communicates with a "poor me" style, the persecutor will make everyone feel bad and the rescuer will be the person who always wants to help people. If the person does not have a "poor me" style and feels capable then the rescuer may then play the persecutor role and make the person feel guilty. Therefore they are playing a game, but it is up to all the people involved if they choose to play. Usually people don't realise there is a game involved and will unconsciously play it anyway, leaving each party feeling either tired, guilty or unloved, etc.
I always look for the games people play during consultation as the awareness of the game will allow the people involved to realise what is going on and then give them a chance to learn how to change it. I would also offer an alternative so the client will learn that there are better options.
Other considerations, which I prefer, are the ego states. There are three that are involved when playing games -
Child ego state - again similar to the victim and playful
Parent ego state - controlling, critical, etc.
Adult ego state - objective, energetic and lives in the now rather than acting as their parents or as when they were a child. Although you can become too righteous when communicating in the Adult Ego State.
We all communicate in a different state every day but it is important to become aware of when you are using either as we usually use one more than the others. For example do you want to be too controlling or helpful? Do you want to become too playful and not responsible enough? Communicating in the child ego state all the time can become too exhausting and it also means you have not had the chance to know yourself through growing. Communicating in the parent ego state can destroy relationships as you will become too critical rather than understanding and flexible.
Remember that you are in control, therefore it is up to you to either play the game, ignore or offer an alternative. Although you would only ignore the game to build rapport and offer an alternative once the rapport has been built.
jb Consulting and Psychology
Counselling, consulting and eduction to improve child, adolescent & youth mental health, and parenting skills.