Beautiful, young woman feeling grief and sorrow

Enthusiastic overreactor (Histrionic)  

The histrionic personality adaptation has primary Adult contamination by the child’s ego state; primary access is via feeling, what they feel is real, looking for what they feel to be true. They are usually fun and enjoyable to be with, with high levels of energy and imagination. They are the ultimate host and people pleasers, making others their priority, fee good, and love to be the centre of attention. On the other side, they can be weak and dependent, often clingy with a suppressed longing for connection to their mother, have great difficulty being alone and have to face themselves. Due to this personality adaptation`s child contamination, they are overreacting, seductive and attention-seeking, running away from any responsibility or difficult situation. Emotional development is stunted at the Oedipal phase, where they are unable to separate facts from feelings. They were not rewarded for their intelligence or achievements and therefore feel valuable for being and not doing. They hide their anger to avoid hurting others and as a way to avoid rejection and abandonment. They cover their anger with confusion, anxiety or sadness to compensate for any form of self-assertion and activation.

Responsive /workaholic (OCD)

The Workaholic personality adaptation manifests as Parental contamination of the Adult Ego state, where the person needs the parent’s approval and holds similar beliefs and ideas. They look for evidence to support what they have been taught, having grown up too early and being responsible for their parents emotionally. Once they get in touch with their feeling, they can see how aggressive their internalized parent is and how their needs have been unmet. Normally a pillar of society and successful in their careers. This personality adaptation always looks perfect and neat, but they are emotionally reserved and done reaching out for support, with a hard time enjoying what they have achieved, on guard to be used or manipulated as their parents basked in their glory and success and are resentful for it. Don’t relax and play, as this creates inner anxiety and uses many methods of intensive control, developing OCD to relieve the stress.

Brilliant Sceptic (Paranoid)

When you have unpredictable parents, how do you survive? By controlling yourself and others and then you will be ok. Their adult thinking is contained by the rigid influence of their parent having to be perfect and strong. The personality adaptation of the sceptic is always having to do the right thing to avoid being embarrassed or humiliated. They are great organisers with a detailed approach and thinking, where they are conformists and act the proper way, sacrificing their true selves in the process. Normally act on their perception without checking, with unrealistic expectations based on deep insecurity and a sense of inadequacy. The personality adapts and needs extreme control not to feel vulnerable, pushing and pulling in relationships, alternating between paranoia and trust, therefore unable to create and sustain good relationships. The child has been excluded, where reality testing is interpreted by rigid thinking, unable to play and be creative without being punished or rejected.

Creative daydreamer (Schizoid

Their parents were overwhelmed or preoccupied with themselves, and the child has learned not to make too many demands or cause problems, withdrawing into fantasy and dreams. This personality adaptation`s criticism comes from the internalised parent, and the child experiences upset by withdrawing. They are kind, caring, and supportive of others, engaging in solitary pursuits and enjoying working alone. There is a form of autism to their personality, with an eccentric quality to their exhibitionism. They tend to be spiritual and in touch with nature, with an understanding of a higher power. The personality adapts and lives in a world of fantasies, daydreaming, and a safe place to avoid the parental chaos in their childhood environment. There is a numbness, seen as emotional strength, not needing any closeness or nourishment to compensate for the original abandonment by their parents. They don’t like small talk or superficiality, withdrawing to unitary tasks to avoid being demanding and inflicting punishment or shame.

Playful Resistor (Passive Aggressive)

The playful resistor personality adaptation had over-controlling parents with a continued power struggle where no one wins. They have learned that struggle is part of survival, where they exert energy in battle and relieve themselves from being alone and stressed. There is a battle between the criticizing internal parent and the reactive child, complaining or acting out to get others to do their bidding without asking directly, risking rejection. They demand loyalty from friends, are hypersensitive, vigilant to wrongs or changes, and tend to sulk if they don’t get their way. The personality adapts great independence and wants to do things their own way, even if it’s the wrong way, as they resist support from others. Unable to express or define their needs and desires, they are stuck in rigid distorted thinking, luring others with their seductive child`s innocence into compliance.

Charming manipulator (Anti-social)

This personality adaptation`s main issue is parental abandonment, and they take revenge by making others look foolish, intimidating, seductive, and outsmarting others. Their Parent is excluded (The little professor), as their thinking is based on the creative, intuitive adult in their child rather than a grown-up adult. A charismatic personality adaptation, creating myths and influencing others who will follow, wonderful promoters who start new movements and businesses. They dress to shock, seduce, or impress, to gain power and status, ignoring feelings and intimacy. The original abandonment or injury leads to intense shame and a lack of trust, believing a terrible trick has been played on them. Their ideal fantasy is to gain enough power, influence, and status, never to feel dependent again, controlling others, even though they crave forbidden and scary intimacy. The personality adaptation is dominated by Adult contamination of the child; parental rules get in the way of what they desire and need, and they are raised in a competitive environment with no emotional availability.

  • Schizotypal -Schizoid
  • Borderline – Passive aggressive and Anti-social
  • Narcissistic – Paranoid and Anti-social
  • Avoidant -Schizoid and Paranoid
  • Dependent – Schizoid and Passive-aggressive.
Adaptive personalityDriverWave sequencePreferred mode
EnthusiasticPlease othersF.T.BEmotive
ResponsibleBe PerfectT.F.BDirective
Brilliant ScepticBe perfect =Be strongT.F.BDirective
Creative DaydreamerBe strongB.T.F `Directive
Playful ResistorTry hardB.F.TEmotive
Charming manipulatorBe strong /lease othersB.F.TEmotive

B- Behaviour. T- Thinking. F-Feeling


Living in a script normally shows repetitive dysfunctional patterns of behaviours and feelings. The individual will re-enact familiar unpleasant situations and experiences repeatedly, outside their awareness of any patterns. The game of regulatory compulsion played out with ulterior transactions (see dotted line) with a hidden agenda to gain strokes (units of recognition) and achieve a form of intimacy.

The game is finished when one of the people switches roles, and the hidden agenda becomes explicit. They get their needs met by simulation and recognition, whether negative or positive, better than not being seen.

Games involve the person saying one thing and doing another to achieve intimacy, but resulting in a reinforcement of a negative belief (Script) they have about themselves.  Berne wrote a formula for how this happens, and he called it formula G: C + G = R > S > X > P

Con + Gimmick = Response > (then can pull) Switch > (which causes) X Cross up > (then both can claim their) Payoff

It plays out as follows:

  • An opening con (C), an invite from person A to person B into the game, must hook person B’s gimmick (G).
  • When B responds (R), the game is on.
  • With B hooked, person A can pull the switch (S), which sends person B into complete confusion or cross up (X).
  • Once the cross-up has happened, both parties can claim their payoff (P).
Eric Berne, (1964), Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Ballantine Books
Joines, V. & Stewart,I (2002) Personality Adaptation, Nottingham , England, Life space Publishing
Kahler ,.T & Caper ,H(1974) The Miniscript ,TAJ 4(1) , P 26-42
Karpman, S. (2014) A Game Free Life: The new transactional analysis of intimacy, openness, and happiness: San Francisco. Drama Triangle Publications.
Ware, P. (1983). Personality adaptations: Doors to therapy. Transactional Analysis Journal, 13, 11–19.