Games People Play by Eric Berne – A summary

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Games People Play was released in 1964, and has been a bestseller since then. It was written by Eric Berne. Dr Eric, was a Canadian Surgeon, who later migrated to USA, and studied Psychiatry. He served as a Psychiatrist in various hospitals after his psychiatric residency, including the US army, during WWII.

 

He invented the theory of Transactional Analysis, a method to analyse human interaction. According to this analogy, human personality consists of three EGO STATES – Parent, Adult and Child.

He says, human beings are deeply dependent on physical, mental and sensory stimuli, without which their body and brain shrivels. Parallels can be drawn with the lack of nutrition on human body.

“’Stroking’ may be used as a general term for intimate physical contact; in practise it may take several forms. (..) These may have analogues in conversation”, So, people need any form of ‘stroking’ (a social interaction) to live a healthy, fulfilling life.
It is during these social interactions, Transactional Analysis can be identified, when we enter into one of the three ego states.

Why are ego states important?

Because understanding them is the essential first step toward understanding our relationships, and the roadblocks we face attain a healthy, fulfilling inter personal bond.

Ego States:

Parent: We are in the same state of mind as our parents/ parental substitute. We would respond with the same attitude and physical gesture

Adult: We are in the state of mind, with sense of independent, rational, non prejudicial analysis and judgement. This is possible even with small children and mentally ill individuals

Child: We are in the same state of mind, as we were during our childhood-with the same innocence, vulnerability, creativity, charm, inquisitiveness and energy. However, if the child was conditioned in a confusing, unhealthy way, then an consequences may be unfortunate.

However, at times, you seem to be acting from one ego state, when in reality you are interacting with another. When this happens, what appears to be the goal of the interaction, is not the real goal at all. That is when we are playing games.
Pastimes, procedures, rituals, by definitions have candid ulterior transactions, and may result in contest, but never conflict.

GAME
However, games, quite different from above-Every game, on the other hand, is basically dishonest, and outcome has a negative conclusion. The name ‘game’ should not be confused with. “It does not necessarily mean fun or enjoyment.” Grimmest of them, is War.

Types of Games:

Life Games

These are the games which have a lifelong impact, and may usually have innocent bystanders
• Kick Me
• Alcoholic
• Debtor
• Now I’ve Got You, You Son of a Bitch (NIGYSOB)
• See What You Made Me Do (SWYMD)

Marital Games

These games are generally played by couples, where the ulterior transaction, being nice, actual motive is to insult, or cause disadvantage to the partner

• Sweet Heart
• Corner
• Frigid Wife/Woman
• Courtroom
• If It Weren’t For You (IWFY)
• Harried
• Look How Hard I’ve Tried (LHWIT)

Party Games

More complex games than pastimes, rituals:

• Ain’t it Awful
• Blemish
• Schlemiel
• Why Don’t you…Yes, But (YDYB)

Bedroom Games

These are the complex psychological games that couples play and aren’t connected to fun at all
• Rapo
• Uproar

Underworld Games: 

Games played in and out of prison-
• Cops and Robbers
• How Do You Get Out of Here?
• Let’s Pull a Fast One on Joey.

Consulting Room Games
These are games played in professional situations. Example is “I’m Only Trying to Help You (ITHY). Unlike people offering genuine professional help, the ITHY player is driven by a hypocritical motive—to prove that people are disappointing and ungrateful.

Other consulting room games include:
• Wooden Leg
• Peasant.
• Psychiatry
• Stupid

Good Games

Its but natural that games are a fakery, and selfish motive oriented, yet there are circumstances, when they may incur positive results. For eg., “Chavalier”, a person goes on and flirts with a women, but not on sexual motivation, but to appreciate her and grant his innocent adoration.

This kind of game, though originally violating the consent of the lady, and is imposed on her, may lead to a higher dimension environment of positivity and creativity

Other examples of good games include:
• Happy to Help
• Busman’s Holiday
• They’ll Be Glad They Knew Me
• Homely Sage

Why Do We Keep Playing Games
If we can see so clearly that all that games do is make our lives miserable, why do we continue to play them?
Most of the time, games are generally played subconsciously, spontaneously. Every demography, family and culture have their games, and many them. we have picked up during growing up without even realizing it.
Additionally, games enable people to interact with each other without getting intimate, and thus without getting hurt. Most people feel uncomfortable with revealing their true selves to others.
However, vulnerability and courage, along with being a little alert, are essential for forming genuine bonds between people. If we want to have a healthy relationship, we have to give up playing games.

Again, if games are a part of everyone’s life, how can we get rid of them?

The first step is accepting and realizing all different games people play. We need to become aware of the ego states that exist in each human mind and pay attention when we interact with other people.
If we understand all the games that exist, we will be able to snap the tie whenever we observe them happening in our life
Drop that facade and do not fear to show up your true self.
It may not be easy, in no other way can we have a fulfilling, evolving life. Let the other person decide, if they are able to accept us as we are! Hence begins a beautiful relationship!

Created by Soumali Chatterjee

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

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The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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