In the 60’s, Eric Berne wrote about an emerging branch of psychology called Transactional Analysis. It has a great validity, and there was even a song written about it by Joe South called Games People Play. There is far too much to cover in a blog post, so if this interests you check out the books of Eric Berne and Thomas Harris.
I want to cover the topic of Games. Berne’s theory is that we have six ways of “structuring time.” How we primarily structure our lives in relation to others. Firstly, we can withdraw. Essentially, we retreat into ourselves whether or not other people are present. Secondly, we have rituals which need little explanation. An example of a ritual is saying the same greeting to someone, perhaps on your way to work, every day. Thirdly we have pastimes. Indoor pursuits such as reading, watching TV etc. Or external pursuits such as going to the gym or for a walk. Fourthly we have activity. Work mostly. Fifthly we have games and finally intimacy. One day I won’t have to put a caveat on the word intimacy, but that day may not arrive in my lifetime. Intimacy is not restricted to sexual or physical intimacy.
Intimacy is an authentic encounter with another, a moment of shared openness, trust and honesty. An intimate encounter may be an argument, conducted with respect and openness to each other’s feelings. It is the highest level of emotional intensity, but also involves risk taking and vulnerability.
Almost all games are an attempt to secure or reject intimacy. And most games are driven by the subconscious.
Let’s look at a couple of games. NIGYSOB (Now I’ve Got You, You Son Of a Bitch) and Wooden Leg.
In the game of NIGYSOB, both partners experience hostility towards one another, however the NIGYSOB player usually shows their anger, and the other may supress it. In relationships, the NIGYSOB partner may be in a bad mood about something. Their partner may trigger a tirade of anger in the other with a poorly timed question or comment. The other, sensing this, might ask: “What have I done wrong now?” which triggers the NIGYSOB partner to launch into a long angry monologue of how the other person is at fault. In other words, “Now I’ve Got You, You Son Of a Bitch!”
So, the NIGYSOB person selects a partner who will allow them to avoid their anger/jealous behaviour by providing them with a seemingly legitimate way to vent their rage. They then feel justified for behaving the way they do. It allows them to avoid personal issues such as fury and resentment, and gives them justification of their inability to control their emotions. The NIGYSOBer confirms their belief that “I’m OK, but other people aren’t,” and avoids self-responsibility…
- Wooden Leg.
Playing this game is all about having a defensive attitude of “What do you expect of someone with a wooden leg/bad childhood/neurosis/alcoholism?” Almost any behaviour is OK, because the person cannot help it. It excuses the lack of competence or motivation, but mostly the person does not have to take full responsibility for their life.
For me, this victim game is like a cancer in society. It’s blatantly obvious that there are systems and structures in this world that not only prevent entry, advancement and justice but keep us all down in every way imaginable. Equally the “rugged individual” can overcome these restrictions. The wooden leg player blames everyone but themselves. Quite clearly, especially in America at present, systemic and institutional racism and white supremacy prevent anyone of colour getting on in the world, getting justice and being successful. Because of this we should all “take the knee”, pay reparations, and feel guilty (if we are white). It is clearly impossible for black people like billionaire Oprah Winfrey, corrupt politician Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, and Patrice Cullors (BLM co-founder) to name just a few, to achieve anything, given the corrupt system.
So, if you’re scratching your head about the lunacy and insanity of it all, this is why we can excuse rioters, encourage criminals and hate the police. After all, what do you expect from a society riddled with white supremacist attitudes, individuals and structures?
Silence is violence! Sanity is profanity! (Just made that one up).
All this truly appalling, abhorrent bullshit is designed to divide us. I remain colour blind and look forward to the taking down of all those with wooden heads. For the uninitiated, this means the Cabal and their brainwashed foot soldiers.
Namaste, love to you all. Jack Stewart, April 15, 2021.