Games People Play

Games People Play, by Eric Berne, MD, is the bestselling book that uncovered the dynamics of human relationships and interactions. Since its publication in 1964 to the updated 40th anniversary edition, over 5 million copies have been sold worldwide in over ten languages. The book remains immensely popular and has recently experienced a huge increase in sales due to renewed interest.

I was prompted to read the book in 1964, because a person, who bragged about his ability to crush anyone by the games he played, said he learned to be better at his gamesmanship from Games People Play. I was horrified that someone would write a book to teach people, ‘How to play psychological games against others.’ However, since I often was blindsided by someone’s psychological game, I decided to buy the book to possibly glean insight into someone’s game in order to stop it in it tracks.

After reading the first chapter, I realized, Berne wrote, Games People Play to convince people to stop playing games and to live a healthy stress free life. It was to Berne’s chagrin that he learned some people used the construct to play games more effectively. However, in the end, more people have used his transactional analysis constructs to learn healthy relating more than to play games better.

I am most grateful I did not allow myself to be dissuaded by a rogue reader of Games People Play, as it has helped me to avoid being caught up in other people’s games. Games People Play represents many things to many people. One reviewer stated, “Games People Play is widely recognized as the most original and influential popular self-help book of our time. It’s as powerful and eye-opening as ever.”

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. said, “An important book . . . a brilliant, amusing, and clear catalogue of the psychological theatricals that human beings play over and over again. The good Doctor has provided story lines that hacks will not exhaust in the next 10,000 years”

The five most prevalent games people play are:
1. Yes, but

2. Wooden leg

3. If it weren’t for them (the boss, co-workers, management, etc.)

4. Ain’t it awful

5. Now I’ve got you, you S.O.B

While each of these styles is characterized by different behaviors, a common trait is avoidance behavior. Each style serves the purpose of avoiding becoming involved in the process and/or having to consider seriously the issues being raised.

Having become an ardent user of Berne’s interaction constructs in Games People Play, it was a natural for me to read and incorporate the constructs presented in, What Do You Say After You Say Hello.

Psychiatrist, Eric Berne expands on his theory of Games People Play, to include ‘Life Scripts’ which identifies how ‘parental, education, society, religion, cultural influences’ become your unconscious modus operandi, thus determining your destiny and ultimately what is written on the epitaph of your tomb.

The illusion that a human being is a free, autonomous being is shattered. One need not find this distressing as there is hope.

Berne gives the prescription to identify your dysfunctional ‘Life Scripts’ and the recipe to create a healthy and vibrant life sans ‘Life Scripts.’ You can unwind the tape on which the holes have been punched to make your program (Life Script) and reprogram yourself! The majority of people need expert assistance. However, it is far easier to reprogram your Life Script when you know how the ‘Script’ was programmed and how to change it than you might imagine.

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, Metaphysician – Certified Hypnosis and Regression Practitioner, Author and Speaker. Dr. Dorothy facilitates Emotional and Spiritual Healing (ESH) for all diagnoses – clearing baggage, fears and limiting beliefs. Then, you can live the life you desire. She brings awareness to concepts not typically obvious to one’s daily thoughts and feelings.