psychology of relationships: life scripts
Applying life scripts
read the introduction on life scripts, and if you wanted to, having completed the
exercise on scripts, you should have a sense of what your script looks
like. The following section will give you some pointers about how the
concept of script might be relevant to your relationship and sex life.
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with yourself: what does your script say about relationships, closeness,
and sex? Does your script allow for them?
Or maybe it
allows for them, but only at a price?
You may have
decided as a child that you can be close to people, but that they'll only
want you around if you're good (that's definitively going to kill your sex
Think about all the messages
you have in your head about sex and relationships. You can also look back
on your life and see whether there are any common patterns in your
You may be doing the same thing over and over again - a
good indication that there is some scripty stuff in what is happening.
Remember that a script is something you originally designed as a response
to life. But now you can try out different responses. However, you need to
be aware of your patterns.
There is the
added-on complication that we tend to make life fit our script. So you
might say, yes I have a pattern, but life is such and such a way and my
pattern is the best way to deal with things.
It's as if you
say, "well I am not doing this, it just keeps happening to me!"
To say that
"things just keep happening" doesn't account for your responsibility in
what is going on, nor does it account for the blinkers your script will
impose on you. You might be disregarding a lot of other options in your
life simply because they don't fit into your frame of reference. Once you
change that frame of reference, you can change your life.
Here is an
example: say we have a guy called Ted. Ted is really nice, he puts a lot
of effort into his relationships with women. He treats them well, looks
after them and is committed to them.
girl friends have this tendency to run off with other men. One could say,
well bad luck!
Or you could
ask yourself, is there anything in what Ted is doing that is the result of
following a life pattern for him?
He may be
picking women who aren't willing to commit themselves to him (maybe
because his mum never did either) or who treat him badly, because of their
own history (and there may have been a similar set-up between his own
He may also
never speak up for himself and so just fade into the background until his
girlfriend finds someone more exciting.
isn't just happening to us, it is our responsibility and a lot of it we
make happen ourselves. We can make choices that change what is going on
course your partner will have a script too, which will impact on your
relationship as much as your own. See whether your partner is interesting
in finding out more about it. Maybe you can change things together.
There is an
added complication, which is that very often people who are attracted to
each other have complementary scripts. By that I mean that we tend to pick
people who reinforce our frame of reference.
It's as if
some life scripts fit together like pre-fabricated furniture. All the
bolts and screws are in the right place so that the whole thing becomes
very stable, a self-reinforcing, closed system.
A very obvious
example for this could be our previous case illustration called Jane.
She's got this
"work hard, be a good girl" script in which she never really gets much
affection. She picks a guy as her partner who is career orientated and has
problems being close.
Both of their
life scripts fit together as they both avoid closeness and tend not to
have free time on their hands (because it might give them time to feel how
lonely they really are).
In this case
there is no-one there who can challenge Jane's frame of reference, and
they can both get on with life without ever being asked to be close.
If one of them
would like to change, he or she would have to change his or her own
script, and for the relationship to survive the other partner would
probably also have to change to some degree as well.
can be a difficult thing to change in your relationship. The best way to
do it is to keep on talking about it with your partner.
Also, if you
want to change, do it no matter what your partner is doing. In the end you
can only change yourself, not the other person.
you keep pushing for what you want and you are willing to hang in there,
your partner might just surprise you and come along too.
forget, some people change readily, others need to take time to digest
stuff. If things get too difficult between the two of you, consider
getting some outside help, like couples therapy.
A sure way of
knowing when you are moving out of your script is the accompanying
feelings you will experience.
You might feel
uncomfortable or scared or exposed when you do something new.
doing something new you allow yourself to be more open to the world, which
is a good thing.
It is as if
you are putting parts of your old armor down. In your head you might know
you don't need this armor any more, but you may still feel very naked
having put a piece of it down.
In the long
run, though, you will get used to the new feeling and life will be easier
without all the extra baggage you have to carry round.
Also, be proud
of whenever you step out of script and give yourself a little pat on the
back. Each step out of script is a little victory and will make subsequent
related topics are: games,
discounting, strokes, and transference.