Ever find your colleagues or your boss acting like an obstinate two year old or a petulant teen? Feels a little crazy, like “Am I really seeing what I’m seeing?” And how does one even respond in this surreal moment?
You’ve been there. We all have. What’s really happening? What you are seeing is a regressive ego state. Over 50 years ago, Dr. Eric Berne presented the theory of “Transactional Analysis” in his groundbreaking book, Games People Play. This theory proposed that we each have several internal ego states, the Parent, the Child, and the Adult. When people interact, they can slip into a “Controlling” or “Critical” Parent ego, or a “Childish” or “Childlike” Child ego. I will add that there is also a prominent Teen ego state as well!
This theory helps us to understand why adults often don’t act like adults! When we are emotionally triggered, we can slip into a regressed ego state that often leads to havoc in the workplace. Realizing this and learning to effectively parent ourselves can bring respect and civility to even the most challenging interactions.
In our two March “Chai Chat” shows, we explain and decipher these interactions. This is a very important topic and an opportunity for valuable self-reflection and personal development. It’s well worth your attention. And practicing self-parenting is a skill that will pay off a thousand fold in your life. (For more on self-parenting, listen to “The Art of Self-Parenting.”)