• Toxic situations people end up in from the book “Games People Play” by Eric Berne:
    • “If It Weren’t For You” (IWFY): In this game, one person (usually a wife in Berne’s traditional examples) complains about not being able to do things because of their partner. For example, a wife might say she could have been a great artist “if it weren’t for you” wanting her to stay home and raise kids. The payoff is that the complainer never has to test their skills or take risks while also blaming others for their unfulfilled life.
    • “Why Don’t You… Yes But” (YDYB): One person (the ‘victim’) presents a problem, others propose solutions, but the victim finds a flaw with each one. The payoff for the victim is a negative form of attention and the ability to control the conversation.
    • “Now I’ve Got You, You Son of a Bitch” (NIGYSOB): One person feels wronged or disadvantaged in a situation and waits for the opportunity to retaliate. When they believe they’ve caught the other person doing something wrong, they deliver the line, “Now I’ve got you, you SOB.” The payoff is the satisfaction of revenge.
    • “I’m Only Trying to Help You” (ITHY): One person, often in a superior position, offers advice or help to another, who doesn’t take it. The person trying to help may then feel unappreciated, but they receive a payoff in the form of moral superiority.
    • “Uproar”: A cycle of increasingly loud and aggressive behavior is used to avoid addressing a substantial issue or feeling. The uproar distracts from the real problem.
    • “Kick Me”: The ‘victim’ behaves in ways that invite criticism or negative attention and then plays the victim when they receive it. This validates their negative self-image.
    • “Look How Hard I’ve Tried”: One person makes an effort to solve a problem, but their solution is designed to fail. They get the payoff of showing that they’ve tried and the problem is unsolvable, so they can give up with a clear conscience.
    • “See What You Made Me Do” (SWYMD): The ‘victim’ performs an action resulting in a negative outcome, which they blame on the person who supposedly ‘made’ them do it. This allows them to evade responsibility for their actions.
    • “Ain’t It Awful” (AIA): The player complains incessantly about the terrible state of the world, but rejects any suggestions to make it or their situation better. The payoff is sympathy and permission to do nothing since everything is so awful.
    • “Blemish”: The player points out minor flaws or errors in others to draw attention away from their own inadequacies. The payoff is a temporary boost to self-esteem.
    • “Schlemiel”: Named after the Yiddish term for a clumsy person, in this game the player repeatedly makes minor social blunders and apologizes for them, forcing others to repeatedly forgive them. The payoff is the attention and forgiveness of others.
    • “Wooden Leg”: The player uses a personal handicap or weakness as an excuse to avoid certain responsibilities. The handicap becomes a ‘wooden leg’ they can blame for their failures or lack of action.
    • “Rapo”: In this game, one person makes provocative sexual advances, and when the other person responds, they act as if they’ve been violated. The payoff is feeling morally superior and making the other person feel guilty.
    • “Courtroom”: The player seeks to constantly put others on trial for their perceived wrongdoings, casting themselves in the role of judge and jury. The payoff is a sense of righteousness and control.
    • “Harried”: In this game, the player constantly keeps themselves busy and complains about how harried they are. They use this as an excuse to avoid other tasks or responsibilities. The payoff is avoiding tasks and eliciting sympathy from others.
    • “Sweetheart”: The player uses excessive charm and flattery to manipulate others and get their way. When the other person starts to expect more from the relationship, they move on to the next person. The payoff is getting what they want without having to make a commitment.
    • “Peasant”: The player works diligently but always remains in the same low position, blaming others for their lack of advancement. The payoff is they never have to take on the responsibilities that come with a higher position.
    • “Cops and Robbers”: The player breaks minor rules and enjoys the thrill of potentially being caught. The payoff is the thrill and potential attention from getting caught.

By Doc

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