The Life Script

by Brigitte Champetier de Ribes

WHAT IS THE LIFE SCRIPT?

The life script is a Transactional Analysis tool developed by Eric Berne, before the 1950s.

The life script refers to a number of archaic decisions taken unconsciously by the fetus, the baby and the child during the first years of life. These unconscious decisions will define the greater decisions in our lives (studies, profession, relationships, having or not having children, etc.), even the most important life events, such as the wedding, illnesses, accidents, encounters, etc. We have decided since our childhood whether we will be happy or not, healthy or not, what profession we’ll have, what our family life will be like, the age at which we will die and the cause of our death. This is all due to loyalties we experience since the first moment of our existence.

Eric Berne realised that the child takes unconscious decisions –decisions that will haunt him for the rest of his life- as a response to what he termed “injunctions” and “counterinjunctions” which come from the parents. These are unconscious commands passed on from a generation to the next, out of loyalty, telling you that you “can only live and belong to this family if…”: only if you are invisible, only if you carry an illness on my behalf, only if you aren’t more successful than me, only if you don’t love anyone else but me, etc.

The script is both a consequence and a manifestation at once of our archaic compensation, of our archaic bondage to our systemic fate.

Transactional Analysis shows us how to abandon the script. When we are in our Child State, we faithfully follow that script, even resourcing to manipulation in order to remain in it. However, when we decide to stay in our Adult State, the script cannot have an influence on us anymore, gradually losing its strength.

Every step we experience in the adult state moves us away from the script, allowing us to live freely.

Every step we experience in the child state, or the manipulator, is a return to the script.

Conscious decisions and constellations are the most powerful tools to set ourselves free from the script. When we manage to reach life, we are in the adult state; when we accept things just as they are, we are in the adult state; when we assume our responsibility, we are in the adult state. We don’t act under the influence of the past anymore, we are in the present, without a script.

How can we become aware of our script?

Every time we let our unconscious speak, it will talk to us about that script or about its absence.

This is why Transactional Analysis professionals use stories so much to find out the scripts. You can do it yourself in several ways. For instance, remembering what stories, novels or movies you identified with at different times in your life; becoming aware of the character you identified with and the future awaiting him or her. Also becoming aware of the evolution of your preferences, and therefore, the evolution of your script.

One other way is to imagine now the story of a character from before he was born to his death. Imagination is always faithful to us. We always talk about ourselves. In that story we will find a metaphor for our life and our script decisions or the freedoms we have allowed ourselves to have.

Let’s love our life script as an archaic loyalty to our ancestors, and once we have bid farewell to it, let’s choose happiness and creativity.

We are creative Void.