Eric Berne

Nine twenty five.

The ground is still wet since the overnight rains but the clouds seem to be breaking up to let in some sun. It’s windy and kind of cold. The Friday conversation with my sister almost didn’t happen; at the last minute I called her at eleven, an hour later than usual. It’s interesting how a chat can be dominated by one side or the other, as though from the parent to the child and the reverse. People often take turns dominating and submitting; but this relation is not the ideal way. Rational exchanges are adult to adult, according to the theories of Eric Berne: by now rather dated yet still useful for getting along with others. It’s just kind of silly to ride the seesaw with a person, being on top or the bottom instead of level together. Talking up or down to people isn’t much fun. It is neither civilized nor very informed. Strange how theories and practices go in and out of vogue, depending on what the times demand. Are there any eternal verities, truths that are independently valid at all times?


A Forgotten Therapy

Nine o’clock. I didn’t realize the depth of what I wrote above. It dawned on me after I googled Milgram for a refresher. It raises for me the whole question of who’s the authority in any situation. And, is the leadership benign? In the case of getting my house back, the authority may well be myself, since I own the house. But it wasn’t me who gave me the advice to rattle some cages and jerk some chains. In this light, I myself was obedient to my sister and my neighbor. I further looked back on my therapy experience with Sheryl less than two years ago. If I had taken her verdict on my sexuality to heart and acted on it, whose would’ve been the blame for a bad outcome? And who was the authority, Sheryl or myself? As it happened, I seized the power out of her hands and left sessions. I still think her belief in sadomasochism was misguided and misguiding, so I had every right to chuck therapy with her. But it was an example of the balance of power between everyday people. The ideal social transactions are equal and rational, as in a forum for discussion. Many people aren’t aware of an alternative to domination and submission these days. It’s a sad state of affairs, and if I had any say, I would educate people about Transactional Analysis…