I recently came across the idea of Life Scripts in Transactional Psychology. Berne, i.e., Wikipedia, describes a Life Script as:
Dr. Phil (boo!) adds:
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.
- 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.
Edahn 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?
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?