Have you ever felt a feeling of being torn apart from within, or by being completely confused or overwhelmed by your thoughts and feelings? If so, then it is possible that it is being caused by your injunctions and drivers. In my last post, I summarised the injunctions and drivers of TA. I want to move on to look at how they interact, and what the alternative to them would be.
The analogy I am going to use is that of a person at sea on their own. This is not an analogy of my own making, and unfortunately I cannot credit the original source, but I have seen it used by Adrienne Lee. So imagine if you will, a person, floating out at sea, with nothing else around them. The sea represents life. We can imagine that the person has been dropped out of nowhere, into this vast sea of life. Naturally, the person will float, as babies tend to when they are born. What happens however, is that other people come along to support and help the person. As they do so, things become attached to the person. Some people attach weights of varying heaviness to the person’s legs. It starts to pull them under the water. It takes more and more effort for the person to try and stay afloat. These weights may have been given as a condition of support and help being provided. In this way, they represent the injunctions placed on us by caregivers. If this was all the person was given, then fairly soon, they would sink and sadly drown in the sea of life.
Some people when they give their assistance also provide a gift of a large helium filled balloon, which they tie around the hands of the person. These start to lift the person out of the water. If many are given, the person may start to rise up out of the water. This is a precarious position to be in. The wind might carry them off, they have no control, and the balloons might burst at any moment. This would send them crashing down into the water. These balloons are like the drivers, given as life lessons to the person when help is provided.
From the analogy you can see that drivers (balloons) area able to counter the effects of the injunctions (weights), and this is why very often, driver behaviour is employed by people in the grip of the negative emotions caused by injunctions. They can be a survival mechanism. The problem with drivers, however, is that they are nearly impossible to control, and their effects cannot be maintained. It doesn’t take much to burst the balloon. It might be making a “silly errors”, if you have a Be Perfect driver, or it might be working yourself to exhaustion so that you cannot carry on if you have a Try Hard driver. When the balloon pops, you go crashing down into those emotions caused by the injunctions, eventually sinking under the water. The crash itself might cause harm or be deadly, depending on how high you had gone. You might try desperately to blow the balloon up again to help it pull you up again, but the effort this takes is enormous.
In this way, living life according to your injunctions and drivers (scripts, anti-scripts and counter-scripts – more on this in a later post) is not a pleasant prospect. You drivers and injunctions are continually pulling you in opposite directions. You might feel the effects of being steady on the surface, but this is an illusion. Imagine the effects it is having on your poor legs and arms having to bear the load from the top and bottom. Some people constantly try and inflate their balloons, or perhaps more rarely add more weights (these might be added by unforeseen events or occasions cause from driver behaviour) to balance themselves out. The result however is the same pulled feeling and continuous strain. This same strain is caused by the drivers and injunctions causing a flip flopping from negative parent to negative child ego states. This is also an exceptionally stuck position. The person is not free to move where they want to. They are exceptionally prone to be moved by the waves and the tides that life throws at them, or they are left to float and never reach a destination.
Hopefully, having rad my previous posts, you will be able to see what needs to be done about this situation. Rather than filling up the balloons to counteract the weights, it is possible to give yourself permission to take them off your legs and let them sink off slowly to the bottom of the sea, and away from you. Rather than letting the balloons carry you off on the winds into the scary heights above, you can choose to let them go, preferring to make your own decisions, rather than following prescribed and handed down sets of rules.
In this way, you are making a choice to be autonomous and authentic. This person who has not weights or balloons is an authentic adult, living and responding in the here and now from their adult ego state. They are free to make their own choice to swim in which ever direct they chose, comfortable in the knowledge that should they stop, they are able to float on their own. The drivers (balloons) are pulling towards a sense of perfection (always on time, always strong, always kind, and always working) and the injunctions (weights) are constant discounts, reminding you of perceived unworthiness and failure. The free floating lack of these can be considered the “good enough” or “OK” position. It is neither perfect, nor unworthy. It is a position that is accepting of its flaws and imperfections, but is also proud and acknowledging of its achievements. A person in this position will strive to reach goals (swim to an island?) but will be ok to take a break, ask for help or change course if they need to. This is an amazing place to be in. It might be impossible, but remember, a person can still do some swimming even with a few small weights on their legs and perhaps one balloon on a wrist. The more we remove, the easier things become.
I hope that this analogy has been some help in understanding how the drivers and injections can operate together, and what it might look and feel like to live without them. In future posts I aim to look in more detail at the “OK” position in respect to how we live our lives with others, and also how we form scripts about or lives. Until next time, remember you have PERMISSION to remove weights, and the CHOICE to let go of balloons….