(build up anger or self-pity) which could then be cashed in for a
temper tantrum, a drunken party, an affair, a nervous breakdown, a
suicide attempt, or some other guilt-free, pity-seeking crisis. Perhaps
you could rationally negotiate and reconcile with the person who set
you off (see chapter 13). This whole process enables you to know your
Parent ego state better, so you can instantly recognize its tapes.
The depressed-dependent patient described above came to
recognize the Parent messages from her father... and how her
husband took the same demanding, "I'll take care of you," chauvinistic
approach. She decided to see her father for the dominant manipulator
he was and to acknowledge her own abilities and goals, i.e. to shift
control from her Child to her Adult. She confronted her husband about
doing his share with the children and spelled out what she wanted to
do with her life, like going to college, having a challenging career, and
renewing old friendships. In short, she tracked down her enslaving
Parent, saw her Child's feelings for what they were, and wrote herself
a new winner's script. You can too.
Finding new ways of interacting, new ways of living a new
Uncovering your Parent's tapes and the Child's games is an
emotional process all right but knowing how to do the uncovering is an
intellectual-cognitive process and so is figuring out what to do with
your life. Chapter 3 will help you think about your values and goals in
life, which in turn determine with whom and how you interact.
Chapter 9 discusses avoiding games. It is important to withdraw
from people who hook us into harmful, unhappy relationships. Have
your Adult honestly evaluate "Is this relationship good for me?" If not,
avoid put downs (yours and his/hers); in fact, sooth the other person's
Child and give an honest compliment, if you can. Don't be a
prosecutor, rescuer, or victim; stay in your Adult and control your
seductive or whiny Child and your critical Parent; remember "I'm OK,
You're OK." As the Gestaltists would say, "Stay in the here and now,"
don't bring up the past. Most importantly, develop other friendships
and remember the bad times, so you won't keep coming back to a bad
relationship (Harris and Harris, 1985, pp. 217-219).
Other parts of this book could help: chapter 7 may reduce the
anger, chapter 8 the dependency, and chapter 10 the infatuation. Also,
chapter 13 may help with confrontation and negotiation, while chapter
14 deals with the overly harsh self-criticism of the Parent ego state.
Besides our Parent, we also have to handle other people's Parent
which may direct criticism at us (You're not OK) or be overly
controlling. Harris and Harris (1985, pp. 220-233) suggest several
ways of coping with a person who is dominated by his/her own Parent
ego state: realize he/she was usually raised by stern parents who
demanded conformity, no Child's play. Such a parent "makes" us feel
oppressed or belittled. But, underneath the other person's facade of