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  • Writer's pictureEmma Turner

Are we our own Puppeteers?

Life scripts have been dominant in my client work this past week.

What is yours, and is it serving you well?

The idea stems from Transactional Analysis theory, where in our early childhood, we create a life story for ourselves, based on messages from others, and the way we respond to those messages. This story has a beginning, a middle and an end, and the basic plot is written in infancy - before we are really able to communicate with words. We add more detail throughout our childhood, with most of it written by age 7.

This unconscious pathway, reinforced by our care givers, and strengthened with the evidence we seek to ensure our beliefs are justified, could well have kept us safe, and helped us survive, and attach to who we needed to. It could have helped us feel accepted. The script could have been effective in childhood.

And now?

As adults, we can faithfully continue to live out this learned script, often to our detriment, and these childhood coping mechanisms can become limiting and ineffective in our adult life.

These scripts can affect the decisions we make, how we see ourselves and how we behave. They are powerful. And we are often barely aware of them at all.

If we keep getting into the same uncomfortable situations, we may wonder if we are being influenced by our script. We can continue with this unhelpful behaviour because the risk seems low - we know the outcome, even if it might not always feel good. It's familiar, and with the familiarity comes a sense of safety.

For example, we might tell ourselves that we're not good enough, believing that we are somehow inferior, and people around us will work it out someday. As a result of this thought, we may become overly sensitive, and take any observation or criticism as rejection, confirming our failings. The self sabotage can then continue, leading to us avoiding trying, and we can remain in the wholly unsatisfactory, yet familiar and 'safe feeling' place.

This script was shaped and decided by us, and often unconsciously carried into adulthood. It is entirely possible, therefore, with awareness and desire, to make new decisions and change our script to serve us well in the future.

Do you want to rewrite part of your script?

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