An "over and over" orientation expects history to repeat itself,
e.g. "Over and over again I fail, just when I think I am going to
succeed" or "Over and over I think I have found the right
person, then they screw me over."
An "always" orientation sees things as remaining the same, e.g.
"My job...my marriage...my family...the world will always be
the same, so why try to change it?"
A "never" orientation reflects a wish that will never come true,
e.g. "I'll never be able to..." or "They will never change..."
An "open ended" orientation is where the original script has
been played out and now we have no script; thus, we feel lost.
Berne believed most of us have a notion of when we will die. If
we live beyond that time, we may have no script to guide us.
Also, Berne believed it is hard for our "child" to out do our
parents and may have no script for doing so. This had personal
significance for Berne because his father was a physician who
died in mid-life and his mother was a writer and close to her
son. Berne, a writing physician, felt he was living on "borrowed
time" after middle-age and he died of unknown causes about
the time he reached the age of his mother at her death. Other
examples of having a vague script are (1) a student who has
been in school for 20 years and facing graduation has little
notion of what professional life will be like or (2) a person who
gets a divorce after 20 years of marriage and has little idea of
what being single will be like.
Hopefully, a few brief descriptive phrases can convey to you the
general nature of several life scripts or attitudes towards life.
Remember these are "life plans" of 5-year-olds, which influence their
life-style and continue to dominate their lives even as adults. Try to
see which ones "ring true" for you.
I'm the greatest, a conquering hero, a big shot.
I want to do something worthwhile and I will.
Let's live it up today, let's party, and I'll show you how
much fun I can be.
I'm a stud or a sexy thing.
I'm a little angel or a good boy.
I'm a fantastic ____ (student, athlete, talker, mechanic,
I'm the class clown, I make people happy.
I'm a good person, I help people in need.
I'm down on myself, I hate myself (see Sooty Sarah in
I'm always messing up other people's lives. I just do and
say the wrong things.