I try hard but I am always making mistakes. I'm a sad
sack. I can't do anything right.
I'm so unattractive; no one will ever want me. It is
better to be alone than to be rejected.
I am weak and sickly, I've got problems, please don't
abandon me (see Stella in chapter 15).
I have a heavy cross to bear. I'm preparing for the
worst, because it's coming.
I'm a little rebel, a real trouble-maker; I'm never going
to get along.
I don't want to upset anyone, ever. I don't ask for much
because I don't deserve it. I apologize (for being alive).
The idea of scripts is useful in uncovering and identifying possible
unconscious forces that direct our lives. Yet, scripts aren't the only
forces at work. The TA theorists tend to neglect the "adult's"
conscious, reasonable planning and decision-making. As discussed in
chapter 3, we can consciously chose our own values and life goals. We
can pit our constructive self-help efforts against our unconscious,
childish scripts, and live more rationally. You can give yourself realistic
and practical "I'm OK" messages which can override any unconscious
putdown messages. Furthermore, besides a "script," there are perhaps
hundreds of driving forces, habits, and traits trying to find expression
The notion of human needs
Most theories try to simplify our personality so it is
understandable, i.e. three parts or nine character types or "the
environment determines the behavior." Henry Murray and other
theorists argued for much greater complexity. Murray wrote, "a
personality is a full Congress of orators and pressure-groups...and a
psychologist who does not know this in himself, whose mind is locked
against the flux of images and feelings, should...make friends...with
the various members of his household." A need is a force that causes
us to act, to try to satisfy our specific wants. Murray identified 20 or
more needs, including dominance, deference, aggression, autonomy,
nurturance, achievement, order, understanding, sex, self-abasement,
and to avoid harm or blame from others. The strength of these needs
are constantly changing but the strongest needs at any one time
strongly influence our behavior. Therefore, it is important to be able to
measure the relative strength of our needs, as done with the Edwards
Personal Preference Schedule (see chapter 15). Also, if needs
determine our behavior, then it is vital to self-understanding that we
know how our needs developed. Just saying "I have a need" is hardly
a complete explanation.
Fromm proposed these five needs: (1) the need for human
contact, especially love but including destructive interaction
(domination, sadism, or submissive dependency) if love isn't possible.
(2) The need for transcendence --to rise above and change things--can
be positive or negative. If we love ourselves and others, we can act