needs, games yield a variety of immediate, primitive, pleasurable
I'm smarter than you are!
I'm always being dumped on so I have a right to get revenge--
to be mean and nasty.
I'm always messing things up, I don't deserve good things, I
deserve to be punished.
See you are an SOB! So, it's all right if I rip you off.
Other people are to blame for my problems, not me.
I'm a bad person; I guess you'll just have to spend a lot of time
with me, correcting and punishing me.
Also, the outcomes of the games we play confirm our prior
opinions; they prove we were right, e.g. I'm not lovable (not OK),
other people are stuck up (not OK), men are only interested in sex
(not OK), etc. In this way, the games each of us play reflect our
particular life position, our life script, and our expectations of others.
Games are a major means by which we unconsciously carry out our
expectations about who we are and what we are going to become.
In the last 20 years several books have described hundreds of
games (Barnes, 1977). Some are specialized, e.g. sexual games
(Chapman, 1969), student games (Ernst, 1974), alcoholic games
(Steiner, 1971), and games avoiding closeness (Oden, 1974). These
books will help you understand your relationships. Also, see chapter 15
for methods of identifying your life position and script. A few more
examples of games will aid you in recognizing when you are or
someone else is playing a game.
The set up: "Hey, help me solve this problem." When the other
person tries to help and offers advice, the response is "Yes, but I could
never do that" or "Yes, but I tried that once and it made things worse"
and on and on. Every suggestion is shot down (then the helper and the
helpee begin to realize they are in a game).
The ulterior motives: to prove that "no one can tell me what to
do," to control the conversation, to picture oneself as being the
innocent, suffering, pitiable victim of an insolvable situation, or to
demonstrate that "I am superior--I thought of a tough question and
found fault with all your answers."
The payoff: I'm OK (smart and powerful); you're not OK (wrong
The set up: a couple meets and has a good time together. He tries
to impress her; she flirts.