Eric Berne, a noted psychiatrist, stated in his last public speech, “Therapy should be like a poker game. In other words, the result is what counts……You either win or you lose….You’ve got to know what’s happening in each hand….A lot of the game depends on getting to know the other guys and what they are doing. So maybe what I’m saying is that big words are hiding the reality of what’s going on between people…”
Dr. Berne defines a game as “an ongoing series of complementary ulterior transactions progressing to a well-defined, predictable outcome. Games are clearly differentiated from procedures, rituals and pastimes by two chief characteristics: (1) their ulterior quality and (2) the payoff.”
Throughout history, it seems logical, that people have played games with each other in order to “win” some sort of “prize”. The cost of game playing can be so great that, even if one wins, the payoff is not worth the effort. Being able to evaluate the “payoff” is one of the most important factors. Consider these issues: it takes two to play a game, games may cause you to give away your power, and games rarely inspire trust and confidence.
At what point does game playing become an unattractive proposition? Awareness of self-goals and benefit/cost ratios helps one to answer that question. The answer is unique to each individual. All of us want to feel we are in charge of our lives and this often creates “silly” games we end up playing with each other over the course of the relationship. When any sort of addiction or other life trauma is added to the mix, relationships can often get lost. Please take a moment to examine your relationships and how you are “playing the game”! The following factors will help:
“Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.” — Sai Baba