Victim in Transaction Analysis Games

Transactional Analysis or TA has three ego states that are the basis of how we relate to each other. The Parent ego state is copied from how we saw

our parents act when we were children. The Child ego is when we ourselves revert to our childhood state. The Adult ego state is our own response as mature adults to others.

Games People Play
Eric Berne wrote “Games People Play”, a pivotal work on transactional analysis.  Eric Berne theorizes that many social games and mind games are social transactions.  Game analysis assumes that all parties are rational adults. Transactional game analysis deal with the social games people play. In these games, each side plays a specific role and frequently a specific script in order to achieve or return to a desired relationship dynamic or state. In transactional game analysis, parties frequently act irrationally such as when we play the victim to avoid the blame.

The Victim in Transactional Analysis Games

Some games in transactional games are based on a victim role.  For example, “Why Does This Always Happen to Me?” or WAHM is based on individuals playing the victim, trumping how bad their life is and complaining “nobody knows what I've been through”.  “Now I've Got You, You Son of a Bitch” or NIGYSOB is based on someone playing victim when a small mistake and uses it to criticize or hold up the solution of a much larger problem.

'See What You Made Me Do' involves someone reacting to an interruption with an error and then blaming the interrupter, a victim to the fact that the other person arrived. In "You Got Me Into This”, one person allows the other to make all the decisions and plays the victim when things go wrong.

In “Threadbare”, the person is the victim of poor equipment or lack of support. In “ain't it awful?”, the individual seeks suffering and to be a victim in the hope of receiving sympathy and support from others.

However, this list is not inclusive.  Berne identified over 100 games in his book. However, it is important to note that even those without an adult ego are not playing games all of the time.

Holding to the “you’re OK, I’m not OK” view in these games fills an emotional void or need for the Child or Parent ego. The individual can act out of one of these egos or a dualism of two separate egos while playing the game.

It is easy to complain and say, “Nobody knows what I've been through” before describing in painful detail why the world is not as we would like or how things are not really our own fault. When we act based on our adult ego, we don’t rely upon games for justification or emotional satisfaction. In adult ego to adult ego transactions, games are rarely played because they are not necessary.


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