Lessons: Social Games

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At a very early age, we start to learn the game

We start to learn to hide the truth

And how to bend the rules

We start to learn how to manipulate

And how to deceive

We start to learn life’s social games

And we think Mommy has no clue

We play games, often we don’t want to admit it, but the truth is we play lots of games. I  do this for you, therefore you will need to pay me back (the I scratch you scratch my back scenario). Eric Berne, tells us in his book the Psychology of Human Relationships that we start to learn to play these manipulative games from an early age and by the time we start school we have become young game experts. Oh the games people play!

Imagine that it is dinner time and Baby Johnny will need a great deal of persuasion in order to eat his greens. Mommy tries to coax Johnny, she is literally trying to prise his mouth open for the toddler to eat a few mouthful of greens, but Johnny is not interested. Mommy is a strong believer that Johnny must learn to like vegetables and so she continues to beg her child to open his mouth to eat. Johnny cries and eventually it becomes too much for him and so he relents and consume the horrid greens.  Mommy is the winner of this game, but the story doesn’t end there, Johnny has an ace card up his sleeves, because he is waiting, for a particular time, he is waiting for a bathroom call/potty training time.  

Johnny is at the age where he is able to choose to release or withhold his stools, however Mommy is unaware that Johnny has reached this stage of development (little Johnny has a secret). Mommy might believe that she knows everything about her young child, but in fact she has no knowledge that Little Johnny has been playing her for quite a while. During mealtimes as we know, mother clearly has the upper hand, since she is able to prise little Johnny’s mouth open. From Johnny’s perspective he is upset with mother, since she will regularly pressure him to eat horrid vegetables. He is angry with his mother but he feels helpless, she has power over him, however during potty training time the power is transferred to Johnny. The power is transferred because mother requires Johnny to perform a toilet and mother does not have the power to force the issue. Johnny is able to release or withhold his stools and since he is angry with mother, he has decided that he will toy with her. He will make her beg for it. 

At a very early age, we start to learn the game

We start to learn to hide the truth

And how to bend the rules

We start to learn how to manipulate

And how to deceive

We start to learn life’s social games

And we think Mommy has no clue

Study Coach info@studycoach.uk.com By: Morel Benard 



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