We all write our own life story. From the moment we are born we begin writing it.
Transactional Analysis teaches us that by the time we are four years old we have a basic idea of the plot of our life story. By seven years old we have completed our story and all of its main details. From then until about 12 years old we add a few extra bits here and there. In adolescence we revise some of our story and update it with characters that we meet in real life.
Eric Berne, who developed TA theory describes it as such: “A life script is an unconscious life plan. Made in childhood, reinforced by parents, and justified by subsequent events.”
From our earliest days our parents gave us messages and it was on this basis we formed many conclusions about ourselves, others and the world. And these messages create the framework for our response to life and the way we see things. We interpret our reality from this point of reference, which justifies nearly all of our decisions. It is our script. Our unconscious life plan.
Every decision we make, all our reactions and how we experience life and love will be done through our script. Over and over again we will repeat it. It is the only plan we have. So it’s extremely important we know what our script is and if it is serving us.
DISCOVERING YOUR TRAUMA-INFORMED SCRIPT
What is your life story? Are you always disappointed? Do you feel not good enough? Do you believe you aren’t lovable? Do you believe you will always be alone? Contemplate the messages you received growing up and how those are playing out for you in your life now. Often we are in denial about this. Noticing what is happening in our lives repeatedly reveals our script.
From our earliest days our parents gave us messages and it was on this basis we formed many conclusions about ourselves, others and the world.
ANALYSING YOUR SCRIPT
Recognising what your script is, analyse how this impacts your relationships. Do you struggle to trust your partners? Do you pick people who are unlikely to be faithful? Do you end up ‘looking after’ your partners? Do you put in all the work in relationships?
If we have a pattern for going for unavailable people some of our trauma may well be around feeling one or both of our parents were unavailable to us too. This is why it is part of our pattern today.
RECOGNISE WHEN YOU'RE TRIGGERED AND KNOW YOUR SCRIPT
We can recognise when we go into our script (the story we tell ourselves over and over whenever there is difficulty), because our script is about our insecurities and trauma from childhood and past relationships. That's why it feels overwhelming - we are triggered. This means our job is to step away and regulate ourselves.
Many couples just fall into a pattern of fight, flight or freeze when they get triggered, which only leaves tensions to build and triggers to become more sensitive.
If we have a pattern for going for unavailable people some of our trauma may well be around feeling one or both of our parents were unavailable to us too.
What many of us aren’t aware of when we feel triggered by our partner is that our own personal history as well as a “critical inner voice” in our heads is impacting what triggered us and why.
We all have our own unique history of childhood difficulty or inconsistency, past relationship upsets and the insecurities, assumptions and fears that are a result of those. Because our heads like to make sense of things we create stories or narratives about our experiences as a way of understanding things and filing them in the storage system in our brains.
Then, when anything in any way reminds us of those experiences, the brain can just pull out that script, which offers us a set of default thoughts and feelings about the situation to show us how to deal with things.
Typical negative scripts sound like: “Men are useless”, “What I want doesn’t matter”, “Women create drama”, “I’m not important enough”, “People are so selfish”, “No one can ever meet my needs”, “It’s always my fault”, “I’m unlovable” and so on. And we react accordingly.
It’s crucial we learn and understand our scripts because they often are fear-based and we will keep triggering ourselves and our partners. And even more importantly, because we seek to recreate what we know, we will unconsciously recreate past upsets in the present so we can continue our expected pattern.