Psychological Self-Help

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person by person, a more caring, cooperative, egalitarian, and less
competitive society. We can allow others the freedom to be
themselves, as Carl Rogers (1972) repeatedly advocates. We can
accept ourselves without lessening our self-help efforts. We can learn
social-communication skills (see chapter 13) and overcome shyness
(chapters 5 & 12). We can be honest and involved with others and not
play "games." 
The “games” we play with others
Surely, many of our needs could best be met by having loving,
secure, intimate, satisfying relationships with others. However, Eric
Berne (1964) contended that three undesirable (and unconscious)
needs motivate "games" between people which actually interfere with
finding friendships, love, and closeness. The three major destructive
needs or motives are (1) expressing hostility or putdowns towards
others, (2) expressing self-hatred or self-criticism (see Sooty Sarah in
chapter 6), and (3) ego-boosting by exaggerating one's assets or
someone else's faults. It becomes clear why these transactions or
games would be unconscious; they are mean and/or selfish. 
Berne's book, Games People Play, was a best seller for several
years. It was and is meaningful to many people. What is a game? It is
a put on...a dishonest interaction designed (by the "child") to deflate
someone or to inflate the game player's ego. Every game has three
steps: (1) the initial interaction which appears on the surface to be
reasonable and straight-forward. This is the "hook" or the "set up" --a
deceptive front or pretense which hides the true purpose of the game.
(2) There is a secret ulterior purpose --the destructive need. This is a
hidden agenda, and gradually a "switch" is made from the pretense to
the real motive. (3) There is an unhealthy, childish, "sick" outcome, a
"pay off" that usually degrades the player him/herself or the other
person. An example will make it clear. Suppose you volunteer to help
a friend with her math problems. If there is a part of you (the child)
which unintentionally makes the math lesson more difficult or
confusing to her than it needs to be, then you are probably playing a
game. If you use her feeling stupid to make yourself feel smart and
superior, than it's a game. If you get some pleasure out of seeing her
feel inadequate and scared or feel satisfaction out of proving again to
yourself that most women are dumb, then it's a game, since you aren't
really helping, although you may consciously think that is your motive. 
Put downs of others
Games, as defined by Berne, are always destructive to
relationships. They aren't "fun and games;" they end up being very
serious and cruel interactions. So why are they performed over and
over? As mentioned before, we have needs to "one up" another
person, to punish ourselves, to feel self-righteous, to get attention
(even if negative), to deny our fears and self-doubts and
responsibility, to cut down others and so on. In the service of these
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