Monday, 13 February 2017

Don-don and Maggie May's Transaction

In the world of psychotherapy there are long running fueds which surface at conferences across the world when papers are presented on such topics as:
  • Freud; a groomer of vulnerable young women and sexual predator?
  • Was Jung just an Edwardian hippy and lech?
  • Eric Berne - misogynist, bully and fascist
In this way the psychotheraputic schools of thought do battle by belittling original thinkers in the field by taking what these original thinkers did or said out of its historical context and measuring against 21st Century norms. In the process the original thinkers find themselves ostracised by the great and good of the psychotheraputic world because they sadly suffer from the same human failings, no matter how much they tried not to (greed, lust, envy), humans all have and are not fit to be placed on any pedestal except to be knocked down and ground into the dust. They then go to their day jobs and utilise talking therapy (Freud) or art, poetry and music therapy (Jung) or cognitive therapy (Berne) or any mix and match choice they wish in their attempts to help their clients / patients resolve their mental health problems and so live happier, more stable and less neurotic lives.

Berne came up with a model to seek to understand how we talk to each other, with ourselves and how we transact with the world. Unfortunately much of his writing and theorising was undertaken in the late 1940's and early 50's and is spattered with descriptions of imbedded transactions such as the "Little Housewife" which describes a way of transacting with others that is not gender specific but had a label feminists used to shred Berne's ideas in the early 1970's and turn him into an anathema as a typical male, archiac, patriarchal, dominant, control freak. Berne's core ideas have re-entered the psychotheraputic world in the guise of Neuro-Linguistic programming though any NLP practitioner will expressly deny this is the case (Berne is still thought of as a 'bad man' and has yet to be fully rehabilitated). It is to this "bad man" I turn in my essay today.

Berne's core idea was essentially simple and it was this; as a human we can choose to engage with other humans or our inner self either as a child, an adult or a parental voice as follows;
  • Child voice - manupulative, wheedling, ill tempered, focussed on 'me' at the expense of anything else
  • Adult voice - reasoned, listening, consultative, sharing focussed on "us"
  • Parental voice - controlling, dominant, knows what is best, foccused on "I"
If I transcribe this into the party leaderships at Holyrood in simplistic terms I can describe, from this model, how Kezia Dugdale is transacting predominantly from her child voice, Ruth Davidson from her parental voice and Nicola Sturgeon from her adult voice. Watch FMQs for the signs both in speech and gestures. Kezia is a great one for the flounce when she is thwarted by Nicola's adult voice. When Kezia is put down by Nicola, yet again, her body language screams "Its just no fair, why me? I am getting picked on yet again!". As human's we pick up on these signals which is in part when Kezia actually says something of import she still gets "told" by our own parental voice, in as many words, to get back in her play pen and stop bothering the adults.

Her best Unionist buddy, Ruth, meanwhile comes at FMQs manily from the parental, I know best, voice and so we should all just do what ever Ruth says because it is for our own good she is telling us this. Watch her body language when Nicola points out from her adult voice just why Ruth is talking a load of old mince. You will see Ruth shaking her head, metaphorically crossing her arms and wanting to tell us why it is all going to end in tears because only she is right. It explains in part why Tory MSPs act in the way they do because they always believe their 'parent' is always right so they must be as well, no matter what utter load of tosh and nonsense they spout. Instictively all of us who are not of Ruth's gang feel alienated, angry and have a child like urge to lash out. We respond to Ruth's parent from our child voice. Just watch Scottish independence Facebook feeds for evidence of a child like response after another headmistress performance from Ruth at FMQs.

Nicola seeks to present, as far as is ever possible, from her adult voice which is why so many folk in Scotland instinctively trust her. She comes across as actually listening to the people of Scotland and seeking to do the best she can to ensure the expectations and needs of the people of Scotland for good government are met as far as is humanly possible. Yes she will unleash her parental voice on Kezia in the form of a put down and, like the clever woman she is, will use her child voice to cheekily subvert Ruth's parent but her popularity is founded in her ability to seek to use her adult voice as the dominant voice when transacting with the Scottish public and the world in general.

Berne's core theory also explains, in part, why hard core Unionists, either Labour, Liberal or Tory are so "unreasonable" in the Yes camp's eyes. We seek to engage them from our adult voice and end up being faced by an outraged parental voice, a parental voice that has been conditioned over many years to believe Westminster always knows best and Scotland is lucky to be ruled by Westminster. Hard core Unionists can not afford to transact from their adult voice because if they do they are scared they will have to reject everything they have invested such a high level of belief in by being forced to be reasonable. Their only position to defend themselves is one of, "I am right, you are wrong." where fear presents as arrogance. We in turn take to the barricades in this situation and respond from our own parental voice which inevitably ends up in arguement and hostility.

The only, previously, pro Union supporters who will change from 'No' to 'Yes' are those who see reason to do so by nature of engaging their adult voice and of their own accord, based on their own analysis of the changing circumstances they find themselves in; for example, EU citizens who voted 'No' in 2014 or Scottish pensioners who are waking up to reality they have been utterly shafted by Westminster over their state pension provision.

As for the click bait title it is not hard to see Donald Trump as a spoiled child, used to always getting his own way and throwing temper tantrums when he doesn't such as the US Courts telling him his presidential order Muslim ban was 'unconstitutional'. As for Ms May she seems to have gone all parental telling Don-don things would be OK once she gets poor little Britian out of the EU or childish when getting her butt molested by Don-don.

A US President who operates mainly out of his child and parental voices is not healthy for our modern world, he is a real danger. The problem is he is surrounded by and always has been surrounded by, people who only ever engage with his parent or child voice. Ms May is just the latest to do so because it is easier than telling Don-don the adult reality of the impact of his actions on himself and others because Don-don is always right, no matter what, capice?

The question arises whether the ever increasing mockery by people in the US and the world at large of the current president will drive Don-don's child to throw a temper tantrum which is so stupid that it ends up in his being impeached and kicked out or someone, somewhere knows a man with a sniper rifle and is willing to pay for Don-don's scalp or at least his wig. The worst of all options is Don-don ends up in a war with China, one neither side can possibly win in the conventional sense, but the whole of the world will pay a heavy price for. All because no one in his own entourage has the courage to stand up to Don-don and say thus far and no further; probably because Don-don's adult voice is so diminished it is next to non-existent, so we are left hoping someone in the US Capitol will find a way to take away his presidential toys before he does the world some serious damage while shouting, "He hit me first!" in self justification.