Before we proceed, let’s define what we mean by “games” first. In the context of this article, a game is a series of communicative transactions (or social interactions) that follow a well-defined path and lead to a predictable outcome. In other words, these are manipulation games and mind control techniques. By definition, these games are malicious in nature; the two qualities that set the games apart from all other forms of communication are:
- the ulterior motive,
- and the payoff.
The Blame Game
“The blame game” was described as “If it weren’t for you” by Eric Berne, a psychiatrist and the author of the book “Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships”. Examples of the blame game may include:
- A wife that says to her husband, “If it weren’t for you, I would be an actress”;
- A father that says to his daughter, “If it weren’t for you, I would have my university degree”;
- A man that says to his wife, “If it weren’t for you, my life would be so much more exciting”.
The objective of this game is usually vindication; by blaming somebody else we get an illusion that our own underperformance is justified. The game is malicious because it instills the feeling of guilt to the other person while helping us escape responsibility.
Another common scenario is where a passive and fearful person chooses an authoritative partner who, as expected, will restrict their activities. Not only does it allow the passive partner to avoid their fears, but they also get to play “If it weren’t for you” game: It’s not that I am incapable, it’s that he (or she) won’t let me.
One important thing to mention is that not every “If it weren’t for you” statement is necessarily malicious. As much as we like to believe in self-empowerment and control over our lives, it’s ridiculous to deny that there could be genuine victims.