All games involve interactions using at least two of these three roles. The fascinating aspect of such psychological games is that individuals can switch roles in an instant. The victim can turn on his rescuer and become the persecutor, thus making the rescuer into a victim. This usually results in the familiar line, “I was only trying to help”. It is when such a switch occurs that the game becomes conscious. The roles in the game correspond to the ego states as follows:
- Victim – Child
- Rescuer – Nurturing Parent
- Persecutor – Controlling Parent
Each individual has their own favourite axis which they move along, and every one of us has a favourite role which we resort to in times of need. Personally I mostly take up the roles of victim and rescuer. The mothering which I have actively encouraged throughout my life has been sought from the position of victim. The women which fulfil the role of mother have been the rescuers. In turn I like to help people where I can, which makes me the rescuer. On the occasions I lose my patience I can also become a very effective persecutor.
It is impossible to get out of a game without paying a price. The longer I stay in a game the costlier it will be. It is, therefore, in my best interests to get out as soon as I can. Once a switch of roles occurs, I know I’m in a game and, as soon as I can, I need to move to get out. If I can establish some thinking time, I can help myself immensely. Because the interactions are between Parent (evaluation) and Child (feelings) there is no thought process present. Creating thought gives me the time and the opportunity to make a run for it. A simple request for the other person to repeat themselves can be enough to disarm them and introduce a trace of thought into the process.
Of course it would be better if I could avoid the games in the first place. This is where effective listening plays its part. Listening fully to everything around me, especially what my body is telling me, can give me all the information I need to avoid the game. Feel the body and be in the present; the whole body is a listening tool.
- Be strong
- Be perfect
- Try hard
- Please others
- Hurry up
These are self-explanatory and affect the individual every second of his life. They can be identified in many ways – verbally, through body language, appearance, work style etc. My dominant driver is ‘be perfect’. It is highly useful when detailed work is necessary or when high quality is demanded. It can, however, be very restrictive because I cannot let things go unless they are perfect, which can be time-consuming and frustrating. Not just for me but for those who depend on my work. Moreover, if I consider it difficult to achieve perfection with a task then I will not even bother with it.
Other drivers which are prominent in my life are ‘please others’ and ‘hurry up’. The ‘please others’ driver fits in with my desire to help (rescue) others and also the fact that I dwell mostly in the Adapted Child ego state. My ‘hurry up’ driver causes an inner conflict with the ‘be perfect’ part of me. One demands time to complete a job whilst the other demands a quick completion. Very often I find myself hurrying to finish something when I have nothing else in mind to do. I am working on this and on slowing down my life.