Do and don’t messages in TA

Don’t messages

Don’t messages are more painful than do messages. Often not directly aware that they are occurring.

  • Don’t period (no explanation)
  • Don’t be (l wish you had never been born)
  • Don’t be close
  • Don’t be important
  • Don’t be a child
  • Don’t grow
  • Don’t succeed
  • Don’t be you (be my (fantasy of you)
  • Don’t be sane / don’t be well (get strokes for berg sick)
  • Don’t belong
  • Don’t trust
  • Don’t think
  • Don’t show your feelings
  • Don’t enjoy
  • You don’t deserve it
  • You’ll never get it
  • You’ll lose it if you do
  • You’ll regret it
  • You’ll pay for it
  • You have more than you deserve

Do messages

Inferred: child can be OK if he can…

  • Be perfect
  • Be best
  • Try hard
  • Please me (if you don’t I won’t like you)
  • Hurry up
  • Be strong (and don’t show your feelings)

So when the child cannot succeed with these the “don’t” messages are confirmed.

6 sources of parent data

These 6 sources are recorded to our own parent where they remain forever. The results are mixed messages > conflict. Adult and child influence (and can therefore modify or change) the derived parent messages.

Unhappy achievers

  • Stroking is withheld by the parent
  • Don’t rest on your laurels
  • Achievements not understood
  • You don’t do it right (my way)
  • It isn’t perfect
  • Strokes are stolen or given to someone else
  • Accomplishment is belittled
  • You weren’t the best

…but we can get our strokes from elsewhere eg other relationships or ourselves.

No one can hurt our feelings unless they are able to hook our parent which then accuses us internally …and then the painful feelings erode our self esteem.


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