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  1. #1
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Default Life Scripts: a cool idea to improve your psychoanalyses

    I recently came across the idea of Life Scripts in Transactional Psychology. Berne, i.e., Wikipedia, describes a Life Script as:

    • Script is a life plan, directed to a reward.
    • Script is decisional and responsive; i.e., decided upon in childhood in response to perceptions of the world and as a means of living with and making sense of the world. It is not just thrust upon a person by external forces.
    • Script is reinforced by parents (or other influential figures and experiences).
    • Script is for the most part outside awareness.
    • Script is how we navigate and what we look for, the rest of reality is redefined (distorted) to match our filters.
    Each culture, country and people in the world has a Mythos, that is, a legend explaining its origins, core beliefs and purpose. According to TA, so do individual people. A person begins writing his/her own life story (script) at a young age, as he/she tries to make sense of the world and his place within it. Although it is revised throughout life, the core story is selected and decided upon typically by age 7. As adults it passes out of awareness. A life script might be "to be hurt many times, and suffer and make others feel bad when I die", and could result in a person indeed setting himself up for this, by adopting behaviours in childhood that produce exactly this effect. Though Berne identified several dozen common scripts, there are a practically infinite number of them. Though often largely destructive, scripts could as easily be mostly positive or beneficial.
    Dr. Phil (boo!) adds:

    Our fixed beliefs define the roles we play in life and have a lot to do with the scripts that are running them. Just as actors follow a play's script for lines, actions and attitude, we follow life scripts according to what our fixed beliefs tell us. Are you telling yourself that you are a tragic character or heroic character? Are you playing the loving mother, abusive husband, frustrated artist or successful businessman?
    Edahn adds:

    I have some of my own ideas about Life Scripts based on what I've seen. I think people have certain expectations for how events will play out in their life. For instance, someone (e.g., me) might believe that they are destined to be unhappy in their job or unhappy in their relationship. This story leads them to recreate the situation they expect. When faced with an option to either improve their situation against the story, or sabotage it in conformity with the story, they will choose to sabotage. In these cases, sabotage will feel more natural and will produce less stress, ironically. Another life script is: "I'll be nervous in front of the opposite sex" or "I'll never be successful" or "my relationship will have drama in it" or "strangers are untrustworthy."

    I think what gets encoded in the person's memory is a specific feeling. Rather than just "fear" or "anger" or "disappointment" the feeling gets fine-tuned based on the situation it arises in. For example, the feeling of "disappointment with loved ones" gets encoded (and later recreated) rather than just plain "disappointment."

    It's easy to see a script in other people when you're aware that it might be there. It helps explain a lot of repetitive patterns in relationships and whatnot. Once you identify it, you can edit it. There are a couple ways to edit these things. I haven't read much about it yet, but I can intuit that visualizing results against the Life Script would have a really powerful effect, in that you would essentially be writing a new script and replacing the new script with the old one.

    Anyway, thought I'd share. Cool, no?

  2. #2
    Senior Mugwump Apollanaut's Avatar
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    Very cool! And also highly accurate: this is, indeed, how most people operate. It's also good news, because a script can be re-written or edited to better serve the current needs of that person. This usually requires the assistance of an appropriately skilled therapist of life-coach.

    Elements of a person's Life Script are fairly easy to pick up once you've tuned in to listen for them. We all drop little hints or tell stories which are based on those scripts. For example, here are some of the things you are likely to hear me say, which probably give some clues as to my own Life-Script:

    "I'm always lucky with the weather."
    "Things have a way of working out for me."
    "I find it hard to get respect."
    "I'm always nice to people"
    "I wish I didn't procrastinate so much"
    "I need lots of sleep"
    INFJ 9w1 sx/sp/so

    "A wizard is never late. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to." - Gandalf The Grey

    And if I only could,
    I'd make a deal with God,
    And I'd get him to swap our places,
    Be running up that road,
    Be running up that hill,
    With no problems.

    - Kate Bush

  3. #3
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Definitely!

  4. #4
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    This makes absolutely no sense to me.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    This makes absolutely no sense to me.
    Okay, what part? Are you open to the idea at all, or have you already assumed that the idea is not worth real consideration because it has been posted on the Internet by someone without authority?

  6. #6
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Okay, what part? Are you open to the idea at all, or have you already assumed that the idea is not worth real consideration because it has been posted on the Internet by someone without authority?
    I understand that we experience the world through filters but beyond that I don't see how it applies, sounds too much like fate. I haven't noticed any themes or the like throughout my life, usually just stuff happens for no good reason and that's that, loose ends areeverywhere, if it is a script then it's a poorly written and disjointed one.

    "I'm always lucky with the weather."
    "Things have a way of working out for me."
    "I find it hard to get respect."
    "I'm always nice to people"
    "I wish I didn't procrastinate so much"
    "I need lots of sleep"
    These don't really apply to a here and now attitude.

  7. #7

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    They are talking about mental models that reside in your subconscious right?

  8. #8
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    I understand that we experience the world through filters but beyond that I don't see how it applies, sounds too much like fate.
    It doesn't really have anything to do with fate. Even the idea of filters is not really it.

    The idea is, you have certain subconscious story about how life works. For example, in the paragraph below, you say:

    I haven't noticed any themes or the like throughout my life, usually just stuff happens for no good reason and that's that,
    This is the kind of script Berne and Apollanaut are talking about. "The subtext to what you said is 'I don't really have control over my successes or failures.'"

    I was proposing a slightly different idea, that we don't just have stories about how life will work, but that we encode certain states of being, combinations of feeling and situations. So, we could take what you said and speculate (even though this may not be you) that at some point in your life, you saw shit crumbling around you and felt no control over it. You decided at that point that your life would contain a series of events where things were crumbling beyond your control. (To some extent, this also serves you in the sense that it relieves responsibility for failure.) So, now you have this Life Script.

    As you live your life, you will put yourself in situations that "produce" this script. For example, you might aim for a certain goal and put time into it. When you notice that things are getting tough, you give up trying to succeed and produce the same state of mind you were in when you were young. What the outer world tends to see, though, is the summary of your life script, which is a statement like "things just happen to me."

    See?

  9. #9
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    It's more complicated that than. Early conditioning and bad relationships may limit perspective and life skills and lead to bad patterns just as easily as false beliefs. And it may not be apparent to the person living the life at the moment.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
    They are talking about mental models that reside in your subconscious right?
    Model is a tricky word. How about...

    ...script.

    LOL

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