Games People Play Summary – June 2022

Author: Eric Berne

Short Summary
Games People Play (1964) is a self-help guide that will open up your mind to various tactics and manipulations used by humans either intentionally or unintentionally. By learning about human behavior, you will be able to let go of your toxic patterns and enjoy fulfilling relationships.
games people play summary
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Detailed Summary

Games People Play summary will teach you how our reactions depend on the stages of our ego. Being humans, we react to different situations in different ways. Sometimes it is hard to make sense of our reactions but Games People Play shows us how we are unconsciously just acting to fulfill our ulterior motives. Sometimes we act rationally and logically. On occasions, we act as parents aggressive or possessive and sometimes we become our child self. All of these ego stages make us act differently.

As you learn about these stages of ego and tricks of manipulation, you will know how to secure yourself from such games and not let people take advantage of you. The author also advises his readers towards the end that if we try to ignore such games and trickery and base our relationships on honest interactions, we will be able to cultivate relationships that last longer and bring more meaning to our lives.

Games People Play Summary Key Points

It’s All Games and Play

If we are being brutally honest it will be hard for you and me to find the last social interaction where we were completely honest and straightforward. Before you contradict me, I am also talking about the last time when you did not change your words into more suitable ones so that you can sound good and the words match the atmosphere of the conversation. Hard to remember right? This is the exact point Eric Berne puts forward. Interactions are like games. We play the suitable moves. Moves that can get you what we want. Moves that can help us achieve our ulterior motives sometimes we play these games intentionally sometimes we are not even aware that we are playing the game or being played.

All of us say things that take us closer to our goals; not honest things. As a senior, you might want to yell at your subordinate that he is slacking or being a pain for you. But you know that saying this will not let him do your work or improve himself. So, you might propose to him that he should make more friends at the office and try hanging out with Josh more. Josh is the guy who is also your subordinate and whose work you like very much. See, it is all about games and play whether you like it or not.

Parental, Adult, or Child ego state; Your State Decides Your Actions

Eric Berne observes that all human interactions are largely defined by the states we are in. He names and defines these states as Parental, Adult, or Child ego states. When we are in the parental stage, we tend to crave power or control. For most of us, this state is influenced by our own parents. For example, if while growing up you had a parent who was rarely expressive you will find it harder to express your feelings to your child. This behavior will also repeat itself when you try to hide your true feelings from your partner or try to displace or masquerade that feeling by lashing out or getting angry.

The adult ego state is however linked with rational thinking. It tries to find the reason and logic behind everything. This includes the instances when you try to find rational solutions for your problems. For example, when you learn to set up a new device.

 The child’s ego state includes her true feelings and emotions. This is the state that you were born with, that is why it is pure and intimate. This includes the feelings you have when you surrender yourself you are neither acting like a rational adult nor as a parent.

I am Only Trying to Help You: Sincerely Your Therapist

Often couples go to therapy to solve their relationship problems or to improve the state of their marriage. But according to the author the therapy is also not beyond games. Inside the room of a therapist, one spouse acts like a child, constantly complaining about his partner while the therapist acts like a parent who is trying to solve their problems. Similarly, when a person goes to a psychotherapist sometimes the psychotherapist only wants to reinforce her identity as a parent. So, he gives advice he knew will not work so the patient comes back asking him for help again. This allows the therapist to blame the patient as they would blame a child.

Games People Play Quotes

“The past effect people—some let it decide who they are, while others make it part of what they will do.” ― Eric Berne

“A game looks like a set of operations, but after the payoff, it becomes apparent that these operations were really maneuvers; not honest requests but moves in the game.” ― Eric Berne

Games People Play Summary Review

Games People Play is a fantastic read with lots of wit and sarcasm. The author presents several social interactions in which humans pretend and try to manipulate which calls for the readers to be more vigilant while communicating with others. You will thoroughly enjoy the verbal illustrations that the author creates in order to explain the different games that people play.

To Whom I Would Recommend Games People Play Summary

  • To the forty-two-year-old mother who struggles to express her feelings towards her children due to an abusive parent in the past.
  • To the thirty-two-year-old guy who feels excessive rage when he is at work.
  • And to anyone who wants to learn about human psychology to improve their relationships.

Link: https://amzn.to/3BvDFnj