TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS, egostates
Eric Berne is the founder of transactional analysis. He developed this model in the fifties of the past age. He discovered three kinds of human behavior, called ego-states. It is about the behavior of the (inner) Child, the behavior of the (inner) Adult and the behavior of the (inner) Parent.
The Parent is supporting, caring and permissive on the one hand, here we speak of the nurturing Parent. On the other hand the Parent is structuring and protective, in order to guarantee safety and respect. This is the normative Parent. The Parent has his shadow. Here we speak of the negative nurturing Parent or Savior and the negative normative Parent or Persecutor. Saviors are always, everywhere busy with helping everybody with word and deed, without someone asked for it. They patronize, they impose themselves, they give advice and they do things because “you are surely not able to do it”. Persecutors induce fear and guilt, they give rules without respect or they give unreasonable norms. The savior and the persecutor keep you little and dependent in order to be big. They are manipulators.
The Adult lives here and now. The Adult is neutral, objective and handles with facts. The Adult observes and thinks analytical, linear and deductive. The Adult solves problems and does never judge. Communicating with the Adult is to relate in the position “I am OK – You are OK”. Active listening is an activity of the Adult.
In the Child dwell our feelings (glad, sad, angry, afraid), also the unconscious lives in the Child. It is in the Child (mammal brain) people write their script as a kid. With our Child we can handle situations with humor. The Child is playful, manipulating, submitted or rebellious. The Child is intuitive.
It is the purpose to learn to observe what is going on in the different ego-sates, not only in stress situations, also in a simple conversation.
You can find these three ego-states in the human ego, and also in systems as families, schools, enterprises, societies…
When two people are communicating in a verbal or non verbal way, we can observe if they are relating in an Adult-Adult way or in a Parent-Child way. I am in favor for Adult-Adult communication, because it enlarges the chance to relate in the life position “I am OK – You are OK”. Adult communication prevents us from playing manipulative games in the triangle of drama.