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Fun With Reading Ourselves and Others Like a Book

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Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

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Psychology Minus Academic Cosmetics

Some time back in the 70's, during my life long playing a book worm in the field of human behavior, I came across this little system called Transactional Analysis, or T/A for short.

Somewhat fancy name for a rather simple system of interpreting human personality traits -- but that fanciness never helped it to be taken seriously by the mainstream science community.

However, just because something didn't get a blessing in form of an academic status on the culture market, doesn't necessarily make it inferior to the existing fund of knowledge.

Especially when we keep in mind that all existing "officially recognized" therapeutic modalities have shown a rather low rate of success, almost suggesting that any novelty might have an equal, if not even better value.

Transactional Analysis, due to its simplicity, doesn't require a volume of a book to explain its main tenets -- actually an article of this size will do. When we really think about "volumes", any system of interpreting human nature could fit in just few pages -- the rest are fillers to swell the text into a book size.

So that the reader may not even be aware how with all that paraphrasing and rewording they are actually reading the same thing over and over for over 300 pages.

So, here I go telling you about this elegant and simple little system for an easy recognizing "where someone is coming from psychologically" in their way of interacting.

I will try to make it as much fun as possible, stripping it of academic cosmetics -- even applying it in "cases" of (unnamed) other writers on this Hub Pages Network.

Just for entertainment, not for claiming some highly accurate analysis.

Ready? Let's go.

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Three Key Aspects of Personality

Eric Berne, father of Transactional Analysis would easily see how I am describing his intellectual baby only from my half century long memory -- meaning that he would probably insist on a more eloquent treatment than I could possibly provide.

But, let us not have him spoil our fun of making things as simple as they deserve it, while still respecting his basic terminology, which reveals three basic aspects of human personality:

1) Intellect, 2) Emotion, 3) Position ( or rule)

Corresponding to them, Berne gave them symbolic names, like:

1) "Adult" (for non-judgmental, facts-oriented intellect)

2) "Child" branching into O.K.-Child, and Not-O.K.- Child, meaning good and crappy emotions)

3) "Parent" (branching into Supportive Parent and Critical Parent.

Now, for a little elaboration, Adult is all about objective awareness, processing of the factual reality, without a position, intellectual taste, preferences, and pet theorizing -- just facts and logicalness not hijacked by emotions of any kind. Adult is really about "knowing", not "believing".

To most of the people this mental force is almost nonexistent, or it is so contaminated by emotions and positions that they are just kidding themselves when they talk about their "objectiveness", or "facts".

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Next, Parent is so often the inner impersonator of Adult, as it abuses intellect for its positions, rules, and beliefs.

Its one function is Supportive Parent, by its very name doing the function of protecting, supporting, encouraging, guiding the inner Child. Two of them are players in inner landscape of health, mental, emotions, and physical. When Adult joins them, we are talking about spirituality.

Critical Parent is an aspect of inner parenthood which "beats on inner Child in a constant conflict" -- by criticizing, belittling, ridiculing, suspecting, punishing, discouraging, imposing rules and norms.

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It's for that same Critical Parent that Child develops its aspect of a Not-O.K.--Child, with all derivatives of fear -- like: sadness, shyness, anger, bitterness, guilt, jealousy, rebellion, etc... anything from that crappy emotional repertoire.

Their inner conflict almost as a rule becomes exteriorized, so that Critical Parent seeks some outer Not-O.K. Children to criticize, belittle, ridicule...etc. -- which is classically evident in all cases of political grouches, where Critical Parent is the victimizer of someone in political arena, while Not-O.K.-- Child is playing a victim of those same "political boogiemen".

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And finally, O.K. Child -- our emotional aspect of happiness, creative curiosity, sex, love, playfulness, exploring, friendliness, sense of aesthetics, art, music, dance, sport, etc...

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All of them are -- in individually potent varieties -- present in all of us.

So we are talking about "dominant personality aspects" in a person. It helps us, more than anything, to recognize "where someone is coming from".

Now, let's have fun with a hypothetical example in a life situation.

fun-with-reading-ourselves-and-others-like-a-book

"Where Is the Blue Neck-Tie?"

I am sure you will recognize people of your own life -- perhaps even yourself -- in one of the following typical responses depicting one or another of the three key aspects of personality makeup.

In this example, we are going to have a situation in which husband is asking his wife a simple question. Then we are going to see from one to another answer coming from wife's possible dominating personality aspect.

Husband's question is: "Honey, where is my blue neck-tie?

Wife's O.K. - Child (playfully): "I think I saw the cat playing with it".

Her Not-O.K.-- Child (as a victim): "Why do I always have to know where things are in this house?"

Her Supportive Parent (helpful): "Let me find it for you."

Her Critical Parent (lecturing): "You should keep your things where it will be easy for you to find them."

Her Adult (stating a fact): "It's hanging on the left side of the closet.

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When a situation knocks on the door of our responses -- who is the one in us that rushes to open the door to face it? Is it Adult? One of the aspects of Child, or one of the aspects of Parent?

We could see them as programs recorded on different channels of our mental makeup -- picking up from any current situation the material that corresponds with any of their characters, recording it for future automatic use, and displaying the past recordings in current situation.

Now we are talking about "getting hooked" , like a fish gets hooked on a bait, a situation being the bait, with its experiential material calling for the response of our most prominent personality aspect.

In the example above, we could see how that wife might have responded to husband's question in each of the possible dominating personality aspects in her.

In our everyday life we can easily see where the people are mentally coming from, once we recognize one of the key aspects in their behavior.

Now is the time to have some more fun with a partial analysis of some of personality traits belonging to some (unnamed) Hub Pages writers that we see frequently on our Feed.

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Where Are Our Writers "Coming From"?

--- Many writers chose their artistic name at the very start of their joining; while they didn't know yet if their work would be possibly rejected, criticized, or accepted. So their cautious Child picked that "X-Writer" name, letting any criticism happen to "X-Writer", not to the name by which they are identified.

--- For the similar reason, many -- guided by that same Cautious Child -- didn't want to reveal anything in their Bio, not attaching their photo either, while emotionally not ready to be "exposed to the whole world".

--- Then, some are typical dominating O.K. -- Children ignoring any critical voice inside, which would tell them that they simply suck as writers with their grammar, spelling, composition, choice of topics. They "just want to play", ignoring any existing rules.

--- We have some Supporting Parents at hand, more than willing to help, and in that willingness sometimes so well-meaning that they can't just tell the person how they are beyond any help, because no instructions could possibly make them a writer.

And maybe encourage them to start collecting postal stamps, learn to play an instrument...anything -- but not try to write. Indeed, it's much like trying to teach someone to sing who has no voice at all for singing.

--- Some poets' Child is clearly lonely and open to as much friendly dynamics as possible in this virtual realm. They are deep souls expressing poetically their heart's longing for closeness and a wide spectrum of their heart's dealing with matters of love, destiny, relationships -- life's many emotionally charged aspects.

--- Some typical Adults with a cautious Child like sticking to facts and information, revealing of themselves a minimum where they appear almost impersonal.

--- Then there are those friendly and O.K. -- Children, creative and happy to base their writing on interacting with others -- whether through hubs or in Forums.

--- We can't miss those politically minded Critical Parents in their constant business of political lecturing. They are expressing their normative nature, seeing themselves as competent authorities to tell all others "what's good for them", and "what's bad for them".

In their normative zeal they can get so carried away that they forget how others also have something like a brain to reason for themselves, together with their own political standards of normalcy, and their own freedom to choose.

They are exteriorizing their inner conflict, picking an outside Not-O.K.--Child to criticize -- while their inner beaten child is picking those same outer "bad parents" who make them feel like victims. Like inside -- so outside.

--- And finally, where am I in that gallery of portraits? My combination of Adult and humorous O.K.-- Child is my literary signature displayed in satirical expressions, which pick me as well for a target just often enough to let everyone know that I am not speaking from a "pedestal" of someone "better".

Well, this would be my playful, as if also clumsy, presentation of something for which Eric Berne intended to get an academic status. Sorry Eric, I am here for fun, not for changing this world. I love it just as it is -- how the hell would I make my satires if it was perfect, and with myself being perfect in it.

© 2021 Val Karas

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