Eric Berne, Games and Blogs

I was reading @dw2‘s blog entry “Game Changers” early this week, when I found myself pondering about some of the rather agressive comments left by a minority of readers at the bottom of his post.

I have noticed this to be a common behaviour pattern in public channels such as blogs, forums and even twitter. I am not talking about comments disagreeing with the bloger, but rather comments that seem to be off the general tone of the conversation. I started thinking about why people get a kick out of leaving such comments, when I remembered Eric Berne’s Theory. Eric Berne is the father of  Transactional Analysis (TA) and author of  “Games That People Play”, although my favourite book of his is “What Do You Say After You Say Hello?

TA theory provides a framework for the analysis of human behaviour. The specific aspect that I thought relevant to these negative blog comments is “game playing”.

The basic concept is that each of us develops a “script” for our lives as we grow. Slogans such as “I am no good and I will always get fired” or “I have to do better” are reinforced by our behaviour as we face life.

However,  getting fired or achieving success does take some time and people need quicker reinforcements of their “scripts”. That is why we play games.

Games are easy to spot once they have been completed, as you are always left thinking “how that hell did that happen?”. This is called the switch.

It is called a switch because the players change their roles . In games there are 3 roles that you can play.: the persecutor, the victim and the rescuer.

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