Psychological Self-Help

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810
understand the origin of the many different personality types. Others
are different from us because they simply have a different background,
different genes, and are in a different environment, i.e. a different
developmental history. Besides the types discussed above, however,
there are descriptions in hundreds of books of many types of mothers,
fathers, children, lovers, wives, husbands, teachers, students, bosses,
employees, poker players, etc. With experience, you will develop your
own lists as well. That's fine, but don't prejudge people and falsely
label them just because your first impression is a certain type. Each
human is unique. Now, we will explore several other varieties of
personality types which may help us understand others as well as
ourselves. 
Personality Involves Relationships with Oneself and Others
Transactional Analysis and life positions
Beyond the parts and the personal traits, our personality is
powerfully influenced by our relationships with ourselves and with
others. In the simplest terms, you can either like or dislike yourself
and like or dislike others. Thus, Transactional Analysis (Harris, 1973)
suggests that we live our lives according to one of four "life
positions." The four basic types are:
"I'm OK; You're OK"--this is the only healthy attitude. The
"adult" must be realistic, aware, and tolerant but in control of the
"child" and the "parent." A person with such an orientation feels
positive; they are winners. 
"I'm not OK; You're OK"--this is the position we all begin in,
according to Harris. Our life is sustained by others, so they are OK.
When young, we are weak and unable to do many things others can
do, so we feel "not OK." If we are repeatedly put down, if we are
taught we are sinful, or if we become severe self-critics (like Sooty
Sarah in chapter 6), we may take the "I'm not OK" attitude with us
throughout life. If so, we run a risk of being anxious, depressed,
passive and, in general, a loser. 
"I'm OK; You're not OK"--this is a self-centered, self-serving
position. If parents are unduly harsh, negligent, inconsistent or
irrational, one learns that others are uncaring, unfair or unsupportive,
i.e. "not OK." Such a person may certainly feel he/she is better than
others, maybe even superior. They are likely to be distrustful, aloof,
and unconcerned with helping others (who are no good). They may
take from others without feeling guilty; they may insult others; they
may avoid or hurt others. 
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