Psychological Self-Help

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or caretaker role or perfectionistic needs. Weinhold (1995) provides a
guide to discovering dysfunctional family traits and their impact on
your inner Child; that is the first step to healing the hurt inner Child. 
Table 9.2 may be used in either or both ways, i.e. (1) identify the
kind of parenting you experienced as a child, and then ask if you fit
the suggested possible outcomes. Or, (2) identify your current
personality traits or problems, and then ask if your parents parented in
the suggested ways. Knowing how you got to be the way you are is a
good first step towards gaining insight and changing. 
STEP TWO: Finding your life script.
Chapter 9 dealt with "Understanding Yourself and Your
Relationships." The parent, adult, and child parts of our personality are
described there. Also, life positions, games, and life scripts are
discussed. Our task here is to more clearly identify your life script and
to find ways to change it, but in order to do this please refer to the
important information in chapter 9. 
Although our life script develops by age 5 or 6, it is a complex
process. Parents and others gave us useful, growth-promoting
messages and models: Be nice, don't hit, be responsible, think of
others, etc. Sometimes parents modeled undesirable behavior: Hitting
and yelling at each other, lying, being selfish, etc. Providing more
inconsistencies, we were rewarded for good--and bad--behavior and
punished for bad--and good--actions. We were evaluated: You are a
good kid, dumb, clumsy, gentle with sister, strong, cute, fat, fun, a
pain in the neck, etc. Parents had certain expectations of us: You will
be in trouble when you go to school, you'll have lots of friends, try to
be an athletic star, etc. We learned to give ourselves both possible and
impossible self-instructions: Be great, do your best, always do what
others want, always be strong, etc. Perhaps, one or both of our
parents' child or parent ego state might subtly have given us
destructive instructions: Don't outdo me, don't grow up, don't be a
child, don't love, don't be sexual, don't think for yourself, etc. We
learned to trust or to dislike others; we felt good or bad about
ourselves. Out of that welter of cognitive-emotional processing comes
our personality. No wonder we have such mixed feelings about our life
roles. Chapter 9 gives more details. 
From day one, we all are trying to get along the best we can in this
complex, contradictory, confusing world. We, as young children, decide
how to live. The whinny, sickly child gets attention; the mean, strong-
willed, rebellious kid gets his way; the conforming, quiet child is
appreciated; the good kid is loved. We learn to expect to be winners or
losers. These are all preschool choices...and they influence us for an
entire lifetime. But the scripts can be rewritten when we get older and
wiser. Just as with any self-help effort, it is important to make specific
decisions about exactly what behaviors, feelings, ideas, or interactions
you want to change. Transactional therapists usually draw up a
contract with the client, stating what the client wants to change and
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