“Games People Play” by the psychiatrist Dr. Eric Berne revolutionized our understanding of people interacting with each other.
The book has become a best selling phenomenon with over five million copies sold.
This is what is so brilliant about it: people interact with each other all teh time – and do so though fixed patterns. Berne calls these patterns “Games.” His theory astonished me and helped me understand the human psyche better than any other psychological theory.
These “Games” have names like this:
“I’m only trying to help you.”
“Ain’t it awful?”
“Now I’ve got you, you S.o.B.”
Why do everyday people play these games all the time? Let‘s look at one of the games, one that I guarantee you will know yourself: “Ain’t it awful.” This is how the game goes: Two people meet, one tells his STORY of something that is just awful (weather, kids, TV, anything). The other person agrees with the first person: yes, it is really awful. Then they switch. The other tells the “Ain’t it awful” story. Why is this a stupid game? Ultimately, it accomplishes nothing and leads to no improvement in the situation that is the context for the complaining. Sounds familiar? To me this absolutely rang a bell.
However, to really understand all of the games it is essential to understand the stories behind the games. All of the games in Dr. Bernes groundbreaking theory include stories people tell – and very specific ones. I call them Negative Narrations. Interested? Read on here: Your Life’s Narrative.