The ulterior purpose: to deny responsibility for one's life, to blame
others for the misfortune one experiences, to seek sympathy, to
express anger and resentment towards others or the world or God.
The payoff: to prove I'm not responsible, I'm faultless (OK); you
are to blame (not OK) and deserve my resentment. This is similar to
the game of "See what you made me do."
Note that many games are repeated over and over again with new
victims, i.e. a Rapo or a Yes, but player may go through the same
routine hundreds of times, suggesting the game player needs to
frequently gain a certain pay off. In TA terms, this is called a "racket,"
that is, a need to play certain games and feel a certain way
repeatedly--angry, neglected, superior, inferior, cheated, etc.
Sometimes game playing leads to "Stamp Collecting," a TA term for
storing up points for feeling bad, e.g. being "dumped," or for doing
good. Then, "Brown Stamps" for being hurt can be cashed in for a
guilt-free temper outburst, a week end binge, or some other revenge.
"Gold Stamps" for being good can be cashed in for a good time--a
shopping spree or a night on the town--which you wouldn't let yourself
do if you hadn't been so good.
Thus far, we have described games that put down others. There
are self-put down games.
Put downs of ones self
Kick me or drop me
The set up: when we are feeling insecure and unlovable, we might
put ourselves down and, indirectly, ask others to reject or hurt us. We
might be self-critical and bore others until they leave. We might cling
so tightly to our boy/girlfriend that we suffocate them and drive them
away. We might be so clumsy or incompetent or insecure that we
invite others to poke fun of us. It is as if we put a sign on our backs
that says "Kick me."
The ulterior motive: to feel bad, unloved, rejected, and/or hurt
without realizing that we, as "kick me" players, intended for it to
happen precisely the way it did. Indeed, most "kick me" players then
proclaim their innocence by playing, "Why does this always happen to
nice, little me?"
The pay offs: to avoid having others expect us to be responsible
and capable, to avoid intimacy, to re-create a loss of parental love, to
get sympathy and some enjoyment when we tell others our "ain't it
awful" stories, to deny any responsibility for what happened, to get
positive strokes when putting ourselves down (see Sooty Sarah in
chapter 6) and negative strokes when we are kicked, to confirm that
I'm not OK ("No one likes me") and/or that you're not OK ("You can't
trust people"). Hurt feelings earn us "brown stamps" which can be