Resetting your Lifescript

Freud noted in 1901 “The psychopathology of everyday life” that accidental injuries are not accidental. The accident-prone person is unconsciously contributing to this. “Each person decides in early childhood how he will live and how he will die, and that plan, which he carries in his head wherever he goes, is called his script” (Berne, 2010). A child lays down a specific plan for their life, in the form of a drama with a clear-cut beginning, middle and end. It is directed towards a payoff. The child decides on the life plan (e.g. Mum tells two sons ‘you end up in on asylum’ – one in a mental hospital, the other as a psychiatrist). The script is reinforced by the parents, and outside awareness. Reality is used to ‘justify’ the script (Discounting, redefining and frames of reference distort reality to match the script)

  1. Script descriptions represent the infant’s best strategy for surviving in a world which often seems hostile, even life-threatening
  2. Script decisions are made on the basis of an infant’s emotions and reality-resting.

Plot is structured by 4 yrs. old, and the main story completed by 7, and refined in teens. Thus, you may be living out a script already – ‘I’m hard done by’, or ‘I deserve better’, or ‘look at me fail’. Life scripts are based on parental programming, which the child seeks out for three reasons:

  1. It gives a purpose to life where it might otherwise be wanting. A child does most things for the sake of people, usually his parents.
  2. It gives him an acceptable way to structure his time (acceptable, that is, to his parents).
  3. People have to be told how to do things. Learning for oneself may be inspiring, but it is not very practical

Discovering your script

(Claude Seiner, Scripts people live)

So, let’s use an exercise to see your script so far and then write your next act. Whatever your age is, let’s take childhood as the beginning up until you have had a crisis point or the point you started reading this book. Now the third act is how you want to play out the future. You could look at it as a story if you make no change, and then the story you’d like to write because you’ve made changes.

To help you start your story, take these five cues:

Hero or heroine choose a hero and talk about the character with ‘I … ‘
Story or fable ‘Once upon a time:’ Become each one of the items in the story “l ‘m the … and I am
Dream Retell a real dream in the present tense, particularly recurring ones. How did the dream end?
Object in the room Take one and talk about the object as yourself
See your life as a ploy What type of ploy? Audience? Take each key stage in your Iife and revisit it, then move on and then onto the death scene

(from Ian Stewart, Transaction Analysis Today)


How the Script is Lived Out