WHAT IS A 'SCRIPT'?
A script is a subconscious life plan made by a small
Once this plan is made, it influences the whole course
of that person's life.
I am going to be telling you about the usual way scripts work.
But, since scripts are so extremely personal and unique,
your script may work quite differently.
Take what you read here as a typical example of how these
not as a thorough discussion of the topic.
Also, we will focus on a rather simplistic "bad"
which hurts the person throughout their life.
There are also "good" scripts and even "neutral"
All scripts, even the good ones,
impose severe and unnecessary restrictions on our freedom.
The best way to learn about scripts is probably to
read Claude Steiner's book: "Scripts People Live."
Gary had a rather good childhood.
His parents were OK.
He had enough friends.
There was no physical abuse, no alcoholism,
nothing seriously wrong at his house.
But one day, when he was seven years old,
he played in an old abandoned refrigerator and nearly died of suffocation.
Years later he recalled the sequence of events this way:
1) I was mad that my parents and my older sister were
2) I was bored and needed something exciting to do.
3) I decided to play with the refrigerator because I was mad.
I had been warned to stay away from it.
4) I propped the door open so I'd be safe,
but then I accidentally bumped it and it closed on me.
5) I didn't get scared until I started running out of air.
6) I passed out.
7) I don't know how I was rescued but I woke up in a hospital room
and a pretty nurse was the first person I saw.
Years later, in therapy, Gary describes his typical problem
days in this way:
1) "If I get angry early in the day...
2) I just sort of sulk and do as little as possible.
3) Then, after work, I look for some way to party
even though I know it will cause problems.
4) I always try to drink just a little, to stay safe,
but eventually I just say 'the hell with it' and I drink some more.
5) I don't really get scared until I get woozy and start running out
6) Then I'm afraid I'll actually die.
7) The next day, the only thing that really bothers me
is if my wife gets angry and ignores me."
HIS RELATIONSHIP HISTORY
Gary says his last three relationships went like this:
"It's always exciting in the beginning but after a while I feel
like she's ignoring me and I get mad. Then I usually do something stupid
- like quit my job or something. It's no big deal though, I can always
find another one. I don't really realize that the relationship is in
trouble until my asthma starts to bother me while we are making love.
That's when I start thinking about who the next woman in my life will
HIS LIFE STORY
If he doesn't change, Gary's life story might go like this:
"In his teens and 20's, Gary was always grasping for attention
and he would get extremely angry when he was ignored. In his 20's and
30's he partied a lot, used tobacco and alcohol and other drugs, but
continually claimed it was no problem because he was doing it 'safely.'
When he got sick from all this, his lungs gave out and he was often
hospitalized. He just didn't snap out of it the last time."
If you read closely
you noticed that,
all seven elements in Gary's "refrigerator" story
are also present in sequence
in his day, in his relationships, and in his "life story."
That's how scripts work.
HOW SCRIPTS WORK:
1) Something traumatic, usually life-threatening, happens in childhood.
2) When it is over, the child is shocked and extremely relieved that
3) Since he's only a child, he can't understand why he survived.
4) So, subconsciously, the child assumes that he only survived
because of the sequence of events that day!
5) Then, as an adult, he repeats this sequence of events
over and over and over
- in order to continually prove to himself that he CAN survive.
(This "repeating" is called his "repetition compulsion.")
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
Even if you've followed all this so far,
it is unlikely that you will suddenly be able to see
the "repetition compulsion" in your own life.
This usually requires quite lengthy therapy.
However, since I've gone this far,
I do want to tell you what we need to do
once we do become aware of our own life pattern or "script."
WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS "SHUFFLE"!
In Gary's example: He will always have days when he's angry,
he will always want excitement in his life, there will be days when
his wife ignores him, and he will probably always feel some urges to
do things that aren't good for him.
But the very first thing he needs to do is to stop these
things from happening IN SEQUENCE!
In therapy, I put the seven elements of Gary's script on
index cards. Then I "shuffled" them and worked with him until
he realized that in real life he could actually do these same things
in any order, not just this one.
Once he realized this intellectually, he started to feel the freedom
to make choices in all areas of his life.
WHY BOTHER TO LEARN ALL OF THIS?
We learn about our scripts so we can become
free to make adult decisions
about what to do with our own lives!
Even if you never learn your own subconscious script,
you can identify some of the repetitious compulsions in your own life.
Remember: These compulsions are entirely optional.
And they are ready for you to start changing today!