Your basic PARENT-ADULT-CHILD mud map
I’m OK, You’re OK was all the rage when I started my mental health training. Back in the day when the dinosaurs ruled the world. Transactional analysis was the latest self help answer to curing all relationship problems.
Here’s a diagram of how it went –
Once you’ve sorted out your position of OK’ness – you know, like the mudmap of me with kids and arrows flying around here there and everywhere – you’re onto the beginning of sorting out all the ills of the world. IF you can find the pattern of not OK’ness, it’s a cinch to change the relationship dynamic into a healthy one. Or so the theory went. I don’t know about you, but this still has my head buzzing in confusion. Because once you put other people into the picture the possibilities of arrow directional flight exponentially increases to infinity and beyond.
However, if you want to use it to step back and say observe yourself only it can become quite interesting. Once you got yourself sorted, you could analyse the OK’ness say between you and one other troublesome person in your life. Harris identified four of these OK’ness positions-
- I’m Not OK, You’re OK
- I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK
- I’m OK, You’re Not OK
- I’m OK, You’re OK
Now, here’s where it gets even more interesting. You can juxtapose these on to Thomas Harris’ work in Games People Play. Our mental state, according to Harris, is a collection of tape recordings from when we were growing up. You know, the stuff that got drummed into us like make sure you always wear clean underwear. Now some of these life enhancing recordings are good. Others are just damn lousy. But there they are, in our heads as the PARENT. Life goes on as it does and we grow up some and start thinking for ourselves. Pushing boundaries, questioning, making up our own minds – God forbid! This is when we are in the CHILD state. Then life goes on some more, and we move into the ADULT state. We could have become very fragile, over stressed, confused, conflicted by this time – enter the CONTAMINATION OF THE ADULT.
The basic model is very simple. We all have a PARENT, an ADULT and a CHILD. In any given situation we could revert to any of those as the main dynamic in a relationship. Like if you were in an accident and when the ambulance driver was cutting off your knickers your little kid is cringing OMG I didn’t change my knickers! The size of the circle representing each state changes depending on the dominant state at any given time.
In terms of a game, the winner of this one is the person who is the first to return to a balanced Adult state. All clear ? Now off you go and play nicely!
OOPS, one more point that might be useful to know – in order to extinguish the Not Ok’nesses, you stop playing whatever the game is that is creating it.
© Raili Tanska
Written in response to Sandbox Challenge 50