The games we play

10 Sep 2020
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In the 1960’s there was a book called ‘The Games People Play’ by Eric Berne and I think it was published until the mid-1980s.

It was about transactional analysis but I want look at the games we play, mind games, emotional games, psychological games that we play in relationships and families and with other people in general.

People say: he or she play games all the time and they were never real. My parents played mind games and it affected my life. My brother or sister played mind games that affected our relationship. Some people that admit they may have played the victim game as a way of coping and getting attention. There is a long list of games people play but I want to mention a few and would like you to think of games that are played in your family or work or among you friends.

Blame game - This is a game the whole family can play. Every player blames the other for making s mess of their life. No rules, no boundaries. Often played at Christmas or birthdays and funerals.

Guilt-Tripping - The aim of this game is to make someone feel guilty unless they do what you want them to do. There is an on old light bulb joke - “how many parents does it take to change a light bulb?” None, don’t worry I will sit here in the dark while you go out and have fun”

Only joking - This is where a person says something that upsets or hurts another and then says “I was only joking; you are so sensitive, or you are so gullible.”

Then the person says you were not really hurt were you and the other person is now both angry and confused.

 

It is not my fault, if we believe that we are honest we might play games to make the other person acknowledge that we were never at fault. I am sure some us may have played this game or know people that have. Even if we are not accused, we may claim It was not our fault!!

Playing the victim - I know have played this game and maybe some other Moodscopers can relate too. It can be played in different ways. Some players take no responsibility, some are controlling, some have grudges, some are critical, some have trouble being assertive, some feel powerless, and some may not have limits. Of course, there are many more reasons to Play the victim.

 

What games do you or others you know play or have played the past?

I will own up to Play the Victim, blame game - it was not my fault and have been accuse of guilt tripping.

Feel free to add any games that you know about, as I left the list small so people can add their own.

Leah

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Comments

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 12:37 a.m.

Hi Leah I can’t really relate to this on a personal note, as I just don’t play games. I never blame others or put them on a guilt trip. I’m very good at blaming myself though! I’m all too familiar with others who take no blame and play games but not sure they admit it. Thanks Leah for another unique blog, that I’m sure will get everyone thinking. Molly xx

Reply

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:18 a.m.

Molly thanks for your comment. I am pleased you dont play games, alas I have in the past and sometimes see myself playing the vitim more often than I care to admit.

Cyndi

Sept. 11, 2020, 2:51 a.m.

YES! Yes, yes YES! Why do people play games? Does the married woman get a kick out of interfering in another relationship? Does the married man get his jollies out of playing along? Does the mother feel empowered by bullying her kids? What kind of "friend" thinks nothing of manipulating others into lying for them? I don't understand the need some people have for being the eternal victim. Is it a kind of Munchhausen? They are so desperate for attention that they will hint about all the woes they have in their life so that people reach out to them. While these actions may work, short term, as soon as friends or family start opening their eyes and seeing what the person is doing, the perpetrator is exposed and then they try lying to get out of a situation *they caused*. Lies breed lies and then we are expected to sympathise with the liar. This is why I have a zero tolerance for liars. This has given me a reputation for being hard or unsympathetic. The good news is that I am finally getting the opportunity to nod when people say "you were right. She's a liar." Having said nothing, I have held the moral high ground and let the liars paint themselves into a corner. Of course, they are still going for the sympathy vote and trying to excuse their behaviour but fewer people are falling for it. For anyone facing this kind of person in their life...keep a diary and gather your evidence. Speak your truth quietly and wait for the lies to come out.

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:21 a.m.

Anon, when I was younger I lied but I called it poetic license and I would make up stories about my skills as I lacked them in reality. People often lie for reason and they may need help. I know it is very annoying. Thanks for your input to the discussion.

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:21 a.m.

Anon, when I was younger I lied but I called it poetic license and I would make up stories about my skills as I lacked them in reality. People often lie for reason and they may need help. I know it is very annoying. Thanks for your input to the discussion.

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 11:44 a.m.

I can’t stand liars either. I know that there is often a reason but when there isn’t, ie compulsive liars, I just feel like they are insulting my intelligence even though of course it’s their problem they feel the need to lie and not mine! It still irritates me though and of course the trust goes.

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:28 p.m.

Molly I understand how it breaks the trust but if it is an illness I try to understand as I want people to understand my problems. It still is hard to know what to believe and it can be like the boy who cried wolf so when they tell the truth no one believes them.

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:43 p.m.

I have two in my family that just lie for no reason. I didn’t relate to today’s blog with mental health at all. It’s a whole new kettle of fish if someone is unwell.

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:57 p.m.

Molly Ok I understand the distinction.I suppose was just speaking about anyone . The thing is I feel if people are chronic liars and manipulators they may be ill even if they don't have a label. When I was manic I lied a lot but thought i was creative.

Salt Water Mum

Sept. 11, 2020, 4:54 a.m.

Well now Leah this resonated with me big time!! Hands up - I am guilty of sometimes 'playing the victim', 'guilt tripping' and yes even the occasional 'blame game'! I had a strong emotional reaction to the other two - because I don't do the 'only joking' and 'it is not my fault' - I don't do either and I Hate when they are done to me. I am big on 'taking responsibility' for our own words and actions. It's very important to me. So, even if I dabble in the 'blame game', I can often catch myself and stop. I am good at taking personal responsibility. Perhaps to the point of taking responsibility and apologising for things that have nothing whatsoever to do with me!! I am working on the 'playing the victim' and 'guilt tripping' with my therapist. I am definitely aware of this deep need for attention. It's deep rooted but awareness is a good start! Fascinating blog Leah, thank you. x

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:26 a.m.

SWM Playing the victim especially as a mum is hard not to fall in the trap. Yes I catch my self and stop the blame game except when I am the object of the blame throwing.Thanks for your thoughts.

Becky

Sept. 11, 2020, 5:41 a.m.

Yes I am great at "playing the victim". Often catch myself doing this. I think it is because I feel so **** at times and think so badly of myself. I do try to stop myself doing it though as realise it isn't good.x

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:27 a.m.

Becky thank for you reply. yes when I am low playing the victim seems a way out.

greenjean

Sept. 11, 2020, 6:28 a.m.

Wow Leah a really great blog and so much to think about, one to definitely keep and refer back to. I can see several games I and those close to me play at times and know it's not healthy and screws us up. I think being Mindful be a great antidote when I realise I'm starting to play one of the games. Thanks

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:36 a.m.

Green Jean How dies being mindful help to stop playing games. Thanks fir your comment,

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:36 a.m.

Green Jean How dies being mindful help to stop playing games. Thanks fir your comment,

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:38 a.m.

IPad is playing up making replies double up. Dies is does.

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 11:49 a.m.

I guess green jean means being aware that one is doing it. Apologies for jumping in!

Rosie

Sept. 11, 2020, 6:29 a.m.

Very interesting blog Leah thank you. Is continually blaming one's self not playing the victim game? TA and Berne is very enlightening with many useful theories.

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:39 a.m.

I suppose blaming your self is another game, Rosie.thanks for comment.

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 12:04 p.m.

Rosie, you have really got me thinking with that question, I think you are right. How interesting.

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:35 p.m.

Molly I think Rosie has made a food point. I would include self blame as a game .

Valerie

Sept. 11, 2020, 6:38 a.m.

I still have my battered copy of the book Leah.One game I recall is something like "Why don't you-Yes But.." I have played this on both sides,and can still get lured in. 1st.Player " I hate my job" 2nd " " You could look for another"-"Yes but this is convenient to where I live" "Maybe you could move house" "Yes but I don't have the qualifications for any other work" "You could take some courses" "Yes but....." The whole point is that the person with the problem is not looking for a solution,just the chance to have a good moan. I try to be straightforward,but even dogs play mind games with each other.x

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:43 a.m.

Val thanks for your comment. iplay that game I want to change but I don’t want to change anything,

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 12:16 p.m.

Val, isn’t this a classic case of “don’t give me advice unless I ask for it”. I think many of us are quick to offer advice because we want to help but I try to be mindful now when giving advice because I don’t always like receiving it!! Molly ***

Valerie

Sept. 11, 2020, 1:51 p.m.

Me too.Generally people will do what they intended to do anyway,so it's a waste of breath! ***

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 1:59 p.m.

So true ***

Patricia E

Sept. 11, 2020, 3:49 p.m.

It's difficult, isn't it? When faced with someone who's just told me about a problem it's generally been my practice to leap in and try to solve it, only to end up feeling rejected when all my suggestions are rebutted - yes, but - or manipulated, when I realise I'm just being used to deal with something the person simply doesn't want to deal with themself. So now I try to listen sympathetically, empathetically, and resist offering help or solutions until it's clear that's what's being sought.

The Gardener

Sept. 11, 2020, 4:41 p.m.

Valerie, in my long and often mis-spent life if somebody grumbles about something I presume they want a solution, so I look for one. Wrong! The ought to carry a health warning, basically 'I just want to be listened to'. x

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:33 p.m.

Molly sometimes people can ask for advice and not want to listen. I had a card that said take my advice I am nit using it. I suppose that another game giving advice to others but ot applying it to ourselves,

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:38 p.m.

Valerie I know I sometimes ask for a different opinion so I can work out what I want to do. I suppose one can ask without having to follow the advice. I am thinking of more about simple choices like what washing machine to buy not life choices.

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:40 p.m.

Patricia Thanks for your comment. Your words are so true, “I try to listen sympathetically, empathetically, and resist offering help or solutions until it's clear that's what's being sought.”

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:42 p.m.

TG, so true. Ithink your life may be long but definitely not mis spent. Just think you would not have all those great anecdotes and memories.

Nicco

Sept. 12, 2020, 11 a.m.

I hate the 'yes but' game - my mother played it for years along with playing the victim. She was a victim, its true, but that was the excuse she used to stay stuck. I have always hated lies as my husb was very good at lying for many years - he said he didnt even realise he was doing it as it had become second nature to him. I grew up surrounded & involved in - sometimes even by proxy - just about every mind game there is, & was scapegoated & victimised in both my family & his (which is why i can spot a narcissist & mind game player a mile off), but i consider myself a survivor rather than a victim. I also hate cowardly behaviour - the sort that drops you in it in order to save their own skin. Living in it all for years has given me a very keen sense of justice & injustice, to the point of indignation, which is probably my downfall as i get extremely angry when i see narcisism, mind games, manipulation & injustice of any kind anywhere. I think it has also coloured my views about people & life in general which means i can jump prematurely to (sometimes wrong) conclusions & made me very wary - although i can still be totally gullible as i do still have a soft heart in there somewhere!

Molly

Sept. 12, 2020, 11:40 a.m.

Nicco, my step father is a narcissist. Oh the mind games he played with me (still does mainly with my mother) I refuse to see him anymore. My own father and his son are liars. What a great combination! Like you I can now read people pretty well, but it’s also made me very suspicious of people and very cynical! Molly xx

Nicco

Sept. 12, 2020, 1:01 p.m.

Yes, me too, Molly on the suspicious & cynical front. I also was finally able to go 'no contact' with husb's mother some years ago. When i came across an article about narcissism the scales fell dramatically from my eyes & all was revealed. I thought once she died that would be that but i hadnt bargained for the amount of anger that came up for me, esp as, to get back at us for not going to husb's father's funeral, his brother didnt tell us she's died until near Christmas, obviously for maximum impact - which didnt work as we didnt respond until the New Year. I was so naive i didnt even believe sybling rivalry or parent/child jealousy were true - thought they only happened on tv & in stories for some weird entertainment! It must've been tricky for you growing up in that - as you say, it does shape our personality. But at least we can try to learn from it & move forward, which they sont seem to want to do - 'they are comfortable in their uncomfortableness' is the way someone once described it, i seem to remember!

Molly

Sept. 12, 2020, 3:31 p.m.

So true Nicco, I am glad I’m aware, and can put it down to experience, which helps me emphasise with others. Yes, most don’t even realise their behaviour. My mum is ‘aware’ of my step dad’s behaviour but she is very gullible and often goes along with things, and my husband and I just look at each other “here we go” he’s brainwashing her again. Mum is very honest and tells us most things. I don’t want to hear his name. I think he ruined my life and hers. Now he’s unwell and wants everyone rallying around him. Well, it won’t be me. His previous kids have come out of the woodwork that he neglected for years as he plays the ‘poor me’ card. Gosh I’m rambling. Thanks Nicco xx

Molly

Sept. 12, 2020, 3:34 p.m.

Empathise that meant to say!

Leah

Sept. 12, 2020, 9:59 p.m.

Hi Nicco what a sad story of your mother in law. So sad that one person can have such control over another. I wonder what caused her to be like that.

Nicco

Sept. 13, 2020, 1:23 a.m.

Not rambling at all, Molly. Though i wouldnt wish it on anyone, it helps to feel i'm not alone.x

Molly

Sept. 13, 2020, 1:49 a.m.

Xxxx

Sally

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:01 a.m.

Good blog, Leah. I remember TA and Eric Berne! It was enlightening. I was definitely in the victim role in our family, and haven’t stopped playing the blame game ever since realising what was going on! Only Joking : that game used by the bullies in the family. Followed by “ Have you got no sense of humour “. Mind you, it’s hard to keep track of behaviour . So many of these examples you give are deeply ingrained . I do like your example of the sitting in the dark without a lightbulb !

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

Sally if we think we are aware we are playing a game is a first step. I have loved ones who don’t see they play games too. Thanks for your comment,

Tutti Frutti

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:23 a.m.

Hi Leah I recognise some of these games in myself and others and I have definitely come across transactional analysis before. (I think transactional analysis is the one with the parent, adult child model. I had a counselor at one point who was very pro this technique although I didn't get on with the book she gave me to read on it though and I changed counsellor after a little while to one who suits me better. I did later spot a different situation where the transactional analysis would have been useful though as I was reacting to an over controlling and patronising boss by going straight back into stroppy teenager mode.) Anyway I don't think that 'the games people play' is the book I was asked to read. I would be interested to read it. Perhaps I can still get hold of a copy. Is there a game where you play dumb (incidentally probably giving feminism a bad name) and start questions with 'I'm probably being really stupid here but...'? I do this because I am worried that I might expose a misunderstanding that makes me look stupid even though my question is almost certainly perfectly reasonable? I guess my underlying need here is for reassurance. I have even received feedback before that I need to try and stop doing this as it undermines colleagues confidence in my ability (which is better than I think it is). This means colleagues end up checking my work in more detail than is needed, which is obviously inefficient. I shouldn't think this habit is exactly helpful to my promotion prospects either - but that isn't really something that worries me. An interesting topic Leah. Love TF x

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Valerie

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:46 a.m.

I have been known to play dumb back in the day TF,in order to make some man feel good in my company.What a pathetic drip I must have been ! x

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:48 a.m.

TF Thanks for your comment. I suppose by asking questions you are not making life easier at work so maybe it’s not a game.

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 12:40 p.m.

TF, I can relate to this a little. I think sometimes it’s so I fully understand something (even though I usually do but doubt myself) other times it could be because I can’t think of anything else to say when trying to continue a conversation so I ask a silly question. Thing is if someone doesn’t appear confident, they lose respect. Shouldn’t be the case ! In the workplace it’s often the confident ones making the mistakes! Molly xx

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:43 p.m.

Molly I relate to your answer and did that when a student.

Tutti Frutti

Sept. 12, 2020, 8:36 a.m.

Hi Leah and Val Just to say that the questions I am referring to are technical ones that I have to ask in order to do my job. So asking them is definitely making things easier (ie not impossible at work). If I didn't have to ask them I would chicken out. What I can't get over is the belief that I should know all the answers myself already so I tack on the "this is probably a really stupid question but.." which I need to stop doing. I don't think I am playing dumb to please a man here but I do work in a pretty male dominated area so it often would be addressed to a man. However I now have a female boss who I know quite well because I've worked for her before a few years ago. I wonder if it will be easier for me to try to break the habit while working for her. Love TF x

Tutti Frutti

Sept. 12, 2020, 8:38 a.m.

Thanks Molly I think you have made some very good points. TF x

Leah

Sept. 12, 2020, 10:16 a.m.

TF Thanks for expla8ning,

Molly

Sept. 12, 2020, 11:56 a.m.

TF, in new jobs, I’ve been told “ask as many questions as you like, however silly they may seem”. As they want the job done right! Perhaps you could rephrase by saying “can I check something with you?” Or something like that! Interesting about the different *****. Good luck with the new boss! Molly xx

Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 4:01 a.m.

Molly no one has ever said to me asl as many questions as you like. I f they did I would probably go silent

Molly

Sept. 13, 2020, 2:08 p.m.

I mean when being trained in a new job. It’s only natural to have to ask questions Whilst learning the role.

Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 9:48 p.m.

Molly I knew what you meant. I was just imagining how nice in my life if some had said that.

Daisy

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:27 a.m.

Dear Leah very thought provoking blog and timely. Just now I have some difficulties which are emotionallly draining. I would get Through them better if I don’t get sucked in to victim mode. Somebody has done something very malicious and vindictive against me, and continues. I feel bad inside and feel like crying- but I know that to get through it getting everyone to pity me is going also to harm me. So I am trying very hard to think about what approach and behaviour will be best for me. It will not help me to go into victim mode. So your blog really helped me this morning thx

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:50 a.m.

Daisy I am sorry you are going through a hard time. Maybe you want the bad behaviour to be acknowledged rather than pitied, thanks fir your comment,

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 12:47 p.m.

Dear Daisy, this doesn’t sound good at all. I hope you can hold your head up high and think “I will beat this bully”. Remembering it’s their problem and not yours xx

Daisy

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:38 p.m.

Thx / Leah and Molly

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:52 p.m.

Daisy I hope things improve fir you, let us know how it goes if it helps to share,

The Gardener

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:51 a.m.

You do pick 'em, Leah. Had that book on the shelves for years - it probably ended up on the compost heap - could apply to too many people. Mr G was very easy going - very decisive, (correctly) on major matters. But minor things, TV programme, social invitation -' you decide, I don't mind'. I would get to screaming point 'Can't you say I'd LOVE to go, or no, I want to watch TV tonight. He had to be cajoled out, then loved it when he got there. My mother, another story/book never said she enjoyed anything, or be positive about a plan - I don't know if she ever said thank you. xx

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 9:37 a.m.

TG a book on the compost heap! Oh dear!

The Gardener

Sept. 11, 2020, 11:36 a.m.

Don't think so - probably borrowed and actually given back. Could lurk among the esoteric collection of books I never look at. I HAVE burned a book, hated poetry I had to do for Spanish 'A'level.

Patty

Sept. 11, 2020, 3:34 p.m.

My dad is the same way as am I. Can make big decisions, but don't ask him what time dinner should be. I sm the same way. Small decisions are hard for me, but moral decisiobs are easy.

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:46 p.m.

Patty I used to say I spent more time deciding on what to have fir lunch than I did on choosing a life partner?. Thanks fir your comment,

The Gardener

Sept. 11, 2020, 9 a.m.

I am stuck in a 'pincer' movement of commitment - involving yet another selfish woman. The French/Brit group is in abeyance - people are doing what they can. We have had a series of concerts in the church, a couple pick up a friend and come on to supper with me. The latter has no car. Another concert is coming, couple elsewhere. this means I will have to fetch and carry her. She has sold her car for a derisory sum, is vague about getting another. She has a son, I presumed he helped her. 'I don't like to ask him'. So we are in a cleft stick -guilty if not acting as chauffeurs, incapable of saying no. Oooh!.

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Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 12:55 p.m.

Gardener, could you not see this as doing her a good turn? Or is she likely to take advantage? Xx

The Gardener

Sept. 11, 2020, 4:37 p.m.

Thanks Molly - would regard it as doing a favour - now found out she is notorious for fastening on to people. Says does not driving, then lives miles from anywhere. Presume she was too demanding on son, who has rebelled. So, wary. xx

Daisy

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:41 p.m.

Dear gardener your life is so interesting!

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:47 p.m.

Daisy I agree, she has wonderful stories

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:51 p.m.

Tg I wrote reply last night but must have lost it, where I lived before I relied on kindness of strangers as I didn’t drive and ten 10km to shops. I realised I didn’t want to ask people so I would go weeks without shopping. I know people can take adavantage if others but I was grateful when people offered me lifts and I never took advantage.

Jul

Sept. 11, 2020, 9:29 a.m.

Hello Leah. An intriguing blog but one I just cannot get my head around when trying to think of games I play. Perhaps I am passive aggressive, I just don't know! I've wondered that sometimes although I'm not entirely sure what this means. Someone here might be able to explain passive aggressive behaviour. A close member of my family told me once I was a victim so I've since made every effort not to be one particularly in front of this person. I do know people who lie to get out of a situation even when it's so obvious they are lying. I remember Madonna saying in one of her documentary films (In Bed with Madonna?) "Why does he even bother to lie?" referring to her husband who said he'd watched her live performance but clearly hadn't. So I'm with Anonymous here, I can't stand people who play the lying card, zero tolerance. Thanks for your blog Leah and sorry I haven't been very helpful. Jul xx

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 9:45 a.m.

Thanks jul. it was helpful response .i have had someone close say I play the victim and it’s not always about me,

Salt Water Mum

Sept. 11, 2020, 11:42 a.m.

That's interesting Jul. Imagine lying to the queen of pop! Was that Sean Penn I wonder? I have a friend whose default is to lie. I mean, about small things. To get out of a situation, an invite, an event. I sometimes say: 'you do know I know that's not true?!!!' And then it dawns on him, 'oh yeah I don't really need to lie here'!! It amazes me still. I'm a terrible liar - I go bright red and get tongue-tied!

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 1:05 p.m.

Jul, I struggled with the blog a bit as well. I have been thinking all day, “do I play games?” I have also struggled with the term ‘passive aggressive’. I’ve googled it and it says..... denoting a type of behaviour or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation. Hope that helps! Molly xx

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 2:16 p.m.

SWM, I’m the same, I go red! Ha ha! Dead giveaway. I went through a time in my life when I had to lie to prevent hurting someone. I’m totally ashamed but I was almost living a double life. If I had been questioned, I would have caved in. Looking back the person probably knew but didn’t want to face it. The Madonna story reminds me of when I was on the stage as a child, a small part but it meant a lot to me. My dad promised me he would be there. I just knew he wasn’t there as soon as I walked on the stage xx

Salt Water Mum

Sept. 11, 2020, 2:21 p.m.

Aw Molly, that’s so bloomin disappointing - when we are let down by a loved one. A broken promise. It’s a horrible sinking feeling x

Jul

Sept. 11, 2020, 3:02 p.m.

Hi SWM. It was Guy Ritchie! Jul xx

Jul

Sept. 11, 2020, 3:20 p.m.

Hi Molly. I'm so sorry to read that about your Dad not showing up at your play despite his promises. That's something a child never forgets. Thx very much for the definition of passive aggressive behaviour. I was going to google it but not got round to it yet. Interesting. I don't like direct confrontation to be sure and maybe I do display indirect resistance to demands I don't like but I'll have to have a glass of wine or two to really think about this. i don't want to do myself a disservice! Jul xx

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 6:18 p.m.

Hi again SWM and Jul. It’s no big deal in the grand scheme of things! Apart from the fact he still acts this way! Yes the explanation on google Jul, still doesn’t make it that clear does it! Lol xx

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:58 p.m.

Molly and jul, I have been told I can be passive aggressive and I think it is because I avoid conflict or when they criticise me I defend myself, I find you can’t win if you disagree you are over critical and if you say nothing you are passive aggressive,!,, zthis only happens very occasionally but it is confusing.

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8 p.m.

SWM I had a friend at school who lied about what was on her sandwiches, she became a novelist.

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:02 p.m.

Jul I think it is. Ore about the person who call me passive aggressive than me. It seems to be used a lot in last the to fifteen years,

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 11:28 p.m.

I think it means someone who is crafty, so they find other ways to deal with situations without being upfront about them.

Jul

Sept. 12, 2020, 6:51 a.m.

Much better explanation Molly. I can understand that. Jul x

Tutti Frutti

Sept. 12, 2020, 8:58 a.m.

Here's my understanding on passive aggressive. I think one passive aggressive tactic is to say yes of course the other person can do what they want but while making them feel really guilty about the way they will be affecting you. It is better to be assertive if we can by being honest about our opinions, feelings and what we want while remaining civil and respecting the other person. Although when I am forced out of my passive comfort zone I certainly struggle to manage to pitch assertiveness correctly.

Leah

Sept. 12, 2020, 10:08 a.m.

TF and MollyThanks for your explanations

Molly

Sept. 12, 2020, 11:07 a.m.

Thanks TF, more food for thought! Xx

Nicco

Sept. 12, 2020, 11:23 a.m.

TF your last sentence spoke to me - i still struggle with that but hopefully i'm learning all the time.

Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 4:06 a.m.

Iagree struggle and learn ,

Marigold

Sept. 11, 2020, 10:44 a.m.

Thanks for the blog Leah. I like TA, find it useful. I would bristle if anybody said I was a playing games, I think we do it subconsciously sometimes. It can be quite tricky to be authentic and congruent. The old track of the game , can be familiar and easy.

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:04 p.m.

Marigold I agree we can see others playing games but it can be hard to see it in ourselves, I know as an adult when I went home to my parents I would turn into a whining child. Thanks fir your reply,

Bailey

Sept. 11, 2020, 1:19 p.m.

Recently I dropped a relationship with a guy who basically said hello to say goodbye. He kept saying he didn't have time for a relationship...let's keep in touch. 3 months of this @#$& and I decided I am the one who has no time for this kind of game. There is also a game people play that I call; "let's you and them fight," where they put others against each other by acting like a two face...telling person a that person b is so awful...them telling person b the exact opposite, then sitting back and watching A and B develop hostility and conflict with each other. Hence:the game of;"let's you and them fight and I will watch... silently...INNOCENTLY.

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:10 p.m.

Bailey I have been caught in that let you and them fight where both of us were told lies. The person doing the lies was *** at manipulating me until one day she told me stories that some had said I said. Were lies and I realised for years she had been doing this. This time it was a good customer and I wondered why they stopped coming. I thought she was a good friend,. For her it was about power. Thanks for your comment,

Nicco

Sept. 12, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

Yes, i've been caught up in that one, too, Bailey. I wonder why someone has the need for such power. Sometimes, after an ezplanation to the other wounded party, its best to step away & leave them to it as they will never change.

Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 3:58 a.m.

Good advice nicco

Tabby

Sept. 11, 2020, 2:18 p.m.

Hello Leah, I first read GPP when I was taking A-Levels back in the 1970’s (gosh, that makes me feel old!) Although not a fan of TA It is an interesting book which is still In publication today. I dislike game-playing, although must confess to having played the victim occasionally in my youth. Having said that, Bailey’s comment has reminded me that I was caught up in someone else’s game for the best part of twenty years. The person concerned got between myself and someone very dear to me by lying to each of us about the other, while pretending to be supportive and caring to both of us. Consequently we lost contact with one another. When a family tragedy brought us back together the scales were lifted from our eyes, and we are now closer than ever. The troublemaker, having realised that she can no longer manipulate us, has subsequently cut us both out of her life and gone on to make trouble elsewhere. Game-players only succeed because we naively take them at face value. If you are not a manipulator yourself then I guess you don’t really expect others to treat you in such a fashion. Best wishes, Tabby x

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:14 p.m.

Tabby I am glad you and your friend worked out you were being manipulated, as I wrote to Bailey that happened to me but never managed to reconcile with people as the person did it so many times and her caring for me was a lie.

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 2:28 p.m.

Yes Bailey. A perfect example of game playing. When I read the blog and the comments, I don’t see a lot of it as playing games as such. I see playing games as being manipulative, much more sinister than how some have perceived game playing. Playing the victim for instance, I don’t see as a game. But perhaps I’m missing the point! I think in many cases, things aren’t intentional, but when they are, to purposely upset someone or stir things up, or make someone believe something that’s not true, that’s game playing. Thanks Leah, I really got thinking today! I’m still thinking, my brain hurts :-) xx

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:19 p.m.

Molly to me playing the.victim be. Dry harmful and manipulative., I suppose it depends on how you definition. I know someone who’s mother exaggerated her illness and stopped my friend from travelling, studying and getting married, it was only when her mum died that she realised she had been manipulating her all her life. May be an extreme case but an example, Thanks fir your comments,

Molly

Sept. 11, 2020, 9:08 p.m.

I know someone who said he had cancer, through pure desperation in a situation that he found himself in. I was appalled.

Leah

Sept. 12, 2020, 10:20 a.m.

Molly there was a case Iin the media of you g woman here who said her cancer was cured by natural products. She was given a lot of money and in the end went to jail

Nicco

Sept. 12, 2020, 12:19 p.m.

My husband's mother did this with his brother - she exaggerated any condition he had & even made up illness for him that he actually believed himself to be true. My gp there, when she heard i was getting married, said "oh, surely not to him? You do know she has him in this surgery every week if he so much as stubbs his toe, dont you?!" I enligjtened her that no, it wasnt to him but to his brother. She loved nothing better than to hear of someone very ill or dying (except me of course) & to relate the story in every minute sordid detail - her favourite programmes were Children's Hospital & Casualty. As her ace card, she made her son buy the council house they were all living in to make doubly sure she wouldnt 'lose' him the way she 'lost' her other son to me, & to make sure he couldnt leave home & have a life of his own. She would disolve into tears & have a 'funny turn' if he so much as wanted to go out with a friend of the same *** (girlfriends were a definite no & we werent allowed to even mention the subject). She was a first class manipulator & a covert narcissist, & because she realised that i could see straight through her (because i grew up in a mind game playing household myself so knew virtually every trick in the book) she then did the classic narc response of turning the whole family against me. Most of them are dead now, including herself, so i wonder what it all actually achieved for her. She was petrified of being left alone if her husb died befote her, which he did, so her son was her insurance in a way & he couldnt see it. He's still alive & now totally alone in the same ***-foresaken hole she strapped him to, & doesnt want any contact with us which is fine by me. I actually felt sorry for hiim for many years but she poisonned him against me so he hates my guts & the geound i walk on. I just hope he comes to some sort of realisation, now she's gone, finds his freedom & starts living his life now at the age of 57, but its fairly doubtful & we wont get to hear if he does as he lives 50 miles away with no other family in touch there. People, with their warped mind games can destroy someone from the inside out. My daughter told me about a work colleague with whom she was having trouble - i recognised the behaviour at once. I know narcissists are meant to have a deprived upbringing so we are supposed to see them as ill but i'm sorry that doesnt wash with me. I had a violent & abusive upbringing & grew up in a very dysfunctional household, but we all have choices - i dont take it out on other people like they do. A touchy subject for me, as you can probaanly tell!!

Molly

Sept. 12, 2020, 7:19 p.m.

My step father had a very good upbringing. As far as I’m aware. His parents were lovely people. They were even surprised at times at his behaviour. Moving on, I take things out on people but I always show remorse if I’m in the wrong. I think there is a big difference between people who admit their mistakes and those that aren’t even aware of them, or even enjoy upsetting others. As for using kids or pets for an outlet, makes me seething mad xx

Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 4:05 a.m.

I. O I thought replied to you but maybe it didn’t send or I posted int in wrong place. It is so sad Tg et people cause so mUch navoc forthose the say they love

Marigold

Sept. 11, 2020, 3:31 p.m.

I think " game playing" sounds horrible but I think the Berne idea is that we are all doing it to some extent, often totally withough malice or awareness. I like "I'm Ok, you're OK" although its not easy to stick to!

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:21 p.m.

I agree marigold I think we play games especially in families that are not harmful. I find when I am aware that thi behave a certain way that isn’t helping me I try to change,

Oli

Sept. 11, 2020, 5:14 p.m.

Leah, thank you. Playing games was a thing for me for many years. I got out of it. Only because I was partnered with another game player. Incredibly dysfunctional relationship. Guilt-thrower; guilt-catcher. And we'd swap roles. We were both half-way stupid, half-way smart. We would say over and over, "why do we do this?" Let's stop. But we couldn't. We could drag a five minute disagreement into weeks. [We were Olympic standard idiots.] But then a THING happened. (You can always rely on me for going nuclear btw.) Wake up call. Games stopped. Their could only be a friendship if there were no games. Her rules. I accepted, easily, I was done with games. I wanted friendship. Leah, games are a waste of time. Very hard to escape from. Till you do. Then you wonder why on earth you ever played them. Thank you.

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Freya

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:34 p.m.

Those last sentences are so true Oli. When you look back, you can not believe you were in the game, and the levels of emotion it all produced. Very grateful to be out of the game now, but it does mean not much mixing with other humans!

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:24 p.m.

Oli As usual a very thoughtful post. Guilt thrower and guilt catcher, will think about that,I maybe a guilt taker or a guilt absorber.

Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:25 p.m.

Freya I agree Oli words make lots of sense

Nicco

Sept. 12, 2020, 12:24 p.m.

Yes, i discovered you have to find a way to step out of the ring - not easy, & when you do it doesnt always mean the games will stop - they didnt in my case. Most of the players are now dead but i'm left with the fall out feom two families. Depression is the price i have paid & continue to pay.

Holly

Sept. 11, 2020, 6:53 p.m.

I have probably played the victim game a few times (me, being the victim) but generally I don't play games. I prefer honesty. I might not be good at communicating, but I try to own my mistakes and responsibilities and overall am seeking authenticity...can't stand lies and fakeness, and definitely not mind games!

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:26 p.m.

Holly Thanks fir you comment. I think being self aware helps one not to play games. Mind games are so destructive.

Freya

Sept. 11, 2020, 7:37 p.m.

Great blog Leah. One of the really interesting things about the pandemic and working from home has been finding out that i don't dislike my job, but i do dislike all the politics and backstabbing. So pleasant to be able to just do the work and not have to join in with all the drama!

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Leah

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:28 p.m.

Freya That is so interesting thatIt was the politics not your job that you dislike. What happens we you go back.?

Molly

Sept. 12, 2020, 12:16 p.m.

Totally agree Freya, I would choose working from home any day of the week! One place I worked there was so much bitchiness going on, another there was bullying etc..... when one wants to just get on with the job!

Nicco

Sept. 12, 2020, 1:08 p.m.

Freya, that's a revelation. The reason i always left jobs was because of bitchiness & backstabbing - i preferred to work with/for men as they were always more up front - you could have a disagreement, say what you think & agree to disagree & leave it at that & neither would bear a geudge, whereas girls & women would *****, stir & backstab for months.

Molly

Sept. 13, 2020, 1:57 a.m.

Nicco, yes, men are much more straightforward. A lot of the issues I have experienced in the past (not all) were with women.

Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 4:12 a.m.

I have had problems with both men and women in work place Thats I liked being my own boss. I used to even have problems with myself!!!

Tabby

Sept. 11, 2020, 8:45 p.m.

I so agree Freya. Office politics can be toxic. It’s been many years since I was in that environment, but I can empathise with what you’re saying. Tabby x

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Leah

Sept. 12, 2020, 10:14 a.m.

Tabby I agree when I was teaching there are so many games played. When work is toxic it makes life difficult.

Sal

Sept. 12, 2020, 12:21 p.m.

Coming late to this thread, but thanks from me too Leah. I'm surprised to find (word search) no mention of 'martyr' amongst all the games. A variant of 'victim' I suppose, except that the martyrdom is self-chosen. My Mum was expert in this. I seem to have inherited a variant myself, namely 'Messiah' = I *will* save the world even if it means sacrificing myself. Actually I am not really up to Messiah-dom any more, thankfully :) But there is always the 'rescuer' corner of the Drama Triangle to fall back on. Is that a pattern, or a game? Is there a difference? xx

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Tabby

Sept. 12, 2020, 1:11 p.m.

Hi Sal, My Mum was very good at playing the Martyr when it suited her purpose. There is brilliant little book by John Powell, "Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?" in which he devotes a chapter to cataloguing games and roles, one of which is the Martyr. The book is about learning how to be more emotionally open, and explores how people adopt roles and play psychological games to protect their inner selves. I would recommend this title to any Moodscopers who believe that they may have been programmed from childhood by their parents/carers/teachers etc. to struggle with anxiety and depression into their adult lives. Best wishes, Tabby x

Nicco

Sept. 12, 2020, 1:26 p.m.

Ah, Sal, yes, i had forgotten that one! I certainly have been very guilty of trying to be the messiah! Wanting to save people by revealing the truth of the situation to them (or rushing in to try & fix things as others have said). What i didn't bargain for & couldn't get my head round was the fact that some game players actually already knew the truth, they just chose to ignore it or not acknowledge it & hated me for recognising what they were trying to ignore! As was the case with my husb's father in the sordid & sorry sick mind games his wife played with him & their son. For me, life's far too complicated to spend precious time & waste precious energy engaging in these sorts of games these days &, especially as the main game-players have died, i'm also thankful to say i dont do it anymore or, at keast tey hars not to - I usually metaphorically turn tail & run fast in the other direction if i so much as catch a whiff of one! (Usually uttering at the time, 'not my argument or battle to fight, not my problem to solve' in so doing!)

Leah

Sept. 12, 2020, 10:03 p.m.

Sal thanks for your comment I can relate to it as I came from a family of Martha's and have often been accused by my children of being a martyr myself.

Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 4:17 a.m.

Sal I told my present oarner when we met only room for one martyr in our relationship and that was. me!

Nicco

Sept. 12, 2020, 1:29 p.m.

I'm late, as usual, Leah, but wanted to thank you for your thought-provoking blog. Lots of interesring replies, too, which brought up some insights for me.

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Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 10:04 p.m.

Thanks Nicco.

Little Drop

Sept. 12, 2020, 4:07 p.m.

Hi Leah, I’m also late to this party. Haven’t read all the comments in detail so apologies if this is a repeat. A game I played at work once was to use gossip to my advantage. An errant Project Manager thought that I was having an affair with one of the big bosses (I wasn’t) and was terrified that I would tell tales during “pillow talk”. Prior to the gossip it was exhausting trying to persuade the PM to follow the rules and good engineering practice. Post gossip all I had to do was mention the big boss’s name and he complied. Made my job so much easier. Was that manipulation or bullying or something else?

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Leah

Sept. 12, 2020, 9:58 p.m.

Thanks little drop I think you were just making the best or taking advantage of a bad situation I can't see this s bullying or Manipulative . I actually think it was quite clever.

Molly

Sept. 13, 2020, 2:15 a.m.

Little Drop, this was one to think about. I’m not sure what I think though! My boss had a reputation and so I know that people automatically assumed, I was one of them, the next in line. Thing is the job was too important to me and I didn’t fancy him anyway! Lol! Even my kind of part time boyfriend said “it will only be a matter of time”. Swear words inserted here. So let me think, I agree with Leah. Clever on your part. If he had the audacity to judge and make assumptions in the first place, then why not take advantage of the situation and shoot him right back down. Good example of game playing, but I guess some are just driven to it by others. M xx

Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 4:10 a.m.

Molly it is awkward with gossip In my life it has need gossiped I don’t like romance I like girls, like lots of boys and all in between. Mostly when I was at uni and if you did t have a boyfriend you were gossiped about

Leah

Sept. 12, 2020, 9:53 p.m.

I want to say thanks to everyone who has added insights to this discussion and it all happened while I was asleep. I will reply when I can but I have things to do this morning my time and it might be while you're asleep I'll be able to reply.

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Kristin

Sept. 13, 2020, 9:28 a.m.

"Games People Play" by Eric Berne has been a source of interest to me and I totally get the principles of Transactional Analysis (TA) which over the years I have referred to on my journey to self-discovery and trying to make sense of the most difficult relationship in my life - with my own Mother (certainly one of the greatest Martyrs of all time, with a probable undiagnosed long term mental health condition), I have not lived under her roof for nearly 40 years, and yet still feel I am "Controlled by her Games". In addition I am experiencing challenging times in my relationship with my husband (we will have been together for 40 years this December, married for 35 years - been through good times and bad and a roller-coaster of emotions. I am currently experiencing a degree of marital dysharmony in as much as he doesn't want any emotion in his life (claims he doesn't get angry - but talk about "passive aggression" and "withdrawal of intimacy") - I was motivated to try to rekindle some lost intimacy and assertively addressed our situation a couple of years ago only to be rebuked and while we are still together we no longer live as "husband and wife" in all senses of the word to my great sadness. I have been grieving for the loss of my marital relationship as I knew it, loss of a special loving affectionate connection and loss of hope that it can ever be how I would ideally like it to be. Earlier this year he moved into a separate bedroom. In the past month I have reached a kind of acceptance of this change in the dynamic of the relationship with my life-partner - it is not how I envisaged our life, growing old together - but although the underlying "passive aggression" is difficult to live with, there are still moments of genuine partnership and friendship, caring for our grown up children and grandchildren as a combined unit, attending family occasions as a couple, even going for walks, hand-in-hand, along the prom at the beach or the countryside in our locality. The passion has died (certainly on his part) but when my mood is normal (I have a diagnosis of Bipolar) for my part I still crave that connection, however as my sister-in-law wisely advised me - I need to live for me, to find a creative outlet which I feel passionately about, to find happiness which is not dependent on anyone else. Although this philosophy is one I can aspire to, during my deep depressions I find it hard to keep that focus and it is all too easy to fall into the trap of "Game-Playing" and "Guilt trips" and "Being the Victim". However, at the end of last month during the Hypomanic phase of Bipolar, following an especially deep low associated with frequent suicidal thoughts, I made the positive decision to "Invest in Myself" - I have set up a number of support systems, including subscribing to "Moodscope" and "Moodchart" to accurately document my moods, sleep patterns and weight plus medication and feelings and significant events which impact my moods. I am also addressing my mental health issues by consulting my GP with a view to referral back to Secondary Mental Health Services. In addition I have attended the first session of "talking therapy" in a setting which also involves opportunities to "be in nature", enjoying the countryside, participating in "animal encounters" with their resident alpacas and miniature sheep and free range hens, cats and dogs, to also involve walks in the nearby fields and woodland as we talk! I am also making a concerted effort to loose the 6-7 stone in weight that I need to loose to get back to a healthy weight (already a Slimming World Member, I have now signed up for a Health Service sponsored service and have had three sessions over the past three weeks), I am awaiting a cardiology appointment for identified cardiac irregularities, not helped by the excess weight and I am also receiving regular support from the services of an advanced practitioner physiotherapist for a newly diagnosed torn cartilage in my left knee and chronic difficulties due to a long term hip problem! Quite a lot on my plate but with the right support from family and friends, and professional support too, as I write, I believe that I can do it. So back to the "Games" - note to self : Be Aware, Beware and Avoid slipping into bad habits of "Game Playing" or Rising to the bait and joining in with "Other people's Games"!!!

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Molly

Sept. 13, 2020, 6:48 p.m.

Kristin, you really do have a lot on your plate!!!!! If it’s any Consolation me and my husband don’t have physical relations anymore, haven’t done for years. Luckily it doesn’t bother me too much. He can’t get up the stairs anymore so we had to get him a single bed downstairs. I had to part with my table and chairs to fit it in (small house). Anyway, bless you, you are dealing with so much. Love Molly xx

Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 9:44 p.m.

Kristin Thanks so much for your very honest and most helpful reply. Ithink many will be able to relate to your relationship. I like the way you decided to invest I. Yourself and build support systems. I like these lines as they are encouraging , Be Aware, Beware and Avoid slipping into bad habits of "Game Playing" or Rising to the bait and joining in with "Other people's Games"!!! Thanks again.

Sal

Sept. 16, 2020, 9:11 a.m.

What a wonderful post Kristin. I am full of admiration for your bravery and determination. I wish you all the luck in the world on your journey to reclaiming your happiness and using your vitality to the full. Sal x

Leah

Sept. 16, 2020, 10:52 a.m.

Sal yes Kristen has a purpose and a plan.

Orangeblossom

Sept. 13, 2020, 1:37 p.m.

Thanks for your great blog Leah. Playing the guilt trip game was Mum’s speciality as well as the blame game. I fell into the trap of playing the victim. A sign that I was slipping into self-pitying mode. As soon as I became aware of it, I believed that it was self-destructive & generated a lot of toxic energy. I hope that now I stop playing these mind games. They do nothing towards building good, sound growing relationships.

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Leah

Sept. 13, 2020, 9:46 p.m.

OB Thanks for your comment. I am glad you could see how destructive games can be and stopped playing them. It can be hard if everyone one around you plays mind games not to join in.

Kristin

Sept. 14, 2020, 4:21 a.m.

Thank you to Molly and to Leah for your comments in reply to my rather detailed personal response to Leah's blog on "Games People Play" - it is so comforting to feel your support as I come to terms with my relationship difficulties and changing my focus to help myself to live mindfully in the present, to improve my mental and physical health and set up the best combination of peer support, professional health and social care and rely less on friends and family for support with complex issues and instead just enjoy the social aspects of spending time together. Thank you for your feedback, Leah. Molly, thank you for sharing your own relationship experiences - do you mind me asking your age and when your husbands disability developed (is it as a result of an accident or a long term health condition?) Do you think that your own mental health condition developed as a response to stresses in your life maybe linked to the changes brought about by your husband's disability - beyond your control, and his for that matter? What I didn't mention in my earlier account is that my husband is almost certainly on the Autism Spectrum which obviously affects emotional responses (he has never been formally diagnosed but our grown up son was diagnosed at the age of 22 and the similarities in their behaviour and difficulties with emotional issues and behaviour in others is uncanny - at the time of our son's diagnosis I did a lot of research and one of the books I read was "Asperger's in Love" by Maxine Aston, it was a revelation and felt like a description of my marriage - finally I had a "reason for our difficulties" which made it easier to cope with, helping me to "see things from my husband's perspective", to "be able to take his behaviour less personally, understanding that he couldn't help it!" Thank you again for the sense of solidarity, for acknowledging that I have "a lot on my plate!", in response I acknowledge that you do too and that is why we can really understand some of one another's life challenges! Love Kristin x x

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Leah

Sept. 14, 2020, 9:17 a.m.

Kristen when we share our lives with others we not only help those who read and post but all those who read but do not post. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

Kristin

Sept. 15, 2020, 6:34 a.m.

Thank you for your encouragement Leah

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Sept. 19, 2020, 12:24 p.m.

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