PAugust 2, 2017
Donald Trump may be the most accomplished Game-playing president in US history.
In real games there are clear rules; all plays and moves are transparent, not only to referees but alert engaged spectators who watch the action as the games progress. Football and basketball games reach a climax with clear-cut winners and losers, and there is little or no doubt about who were the best and worst players in the game.
Psychological Games are different. In such Games, players beat up on themselves and others, demean themselves and others, and discount and devalue themselves and others while pretending to be righteous Persecutors, Rescuers, and Victims who are picked on or neglected, or who Rescue others who are Victims being Persecuted by others, or who make others Victims, god himself perhaps, by sinning, in situations wherein there are no referees to call fouls, and no way for real victims to keep score or get even.
Psychological Games are a form of entropy, energy in a system unavailable for work; and they always cause some degree of harm or loss, ranging from minor insults or discounts to fistfights and shootings to divorces and firings to prison sentences and to major wars, and in the absolute worst case scenario, according to some religions, being abandoned and tormented in everlasting darkness and hell after death by the ultimate Persecutor because of violating his commandments.
Football and basketball games are honest and overt; psychological Games are dishonest and covert.
Trump’s most common psychological Game is “Let’s you and them fight,” based on a divide and conquer schema designed to increase his power by causing others to fight. He is a master at setting one group of people against another, conservatives vs. liberals, citizens vs. immigrants, evangelicals vs. transgenders, Americans vs. North Koreans, Americans vs. terrorists, and, now, one personnel clique against another in the White House, as reported in an Intrepid Report article, White House staff paralyzed by fear.
Next thing we know Trump will be trying to set up a Let’s You and Them Fight Game with the Russians or Chinese.
Trump’s tweets are like someone pouring gasoline on glowing embers, inflaming millions of people using less than 140 characters.
Getting out of bed a few days ago and tweeting he was banning transgenders in the military is one of his most successful Let’s You and Them Fight Games started recently, sure to create serious fear and agitation among targeted groups and their supporters. He said he did it to cut costs in the military, but that was just a Game transaction, a fake Adult social level message. He really did it to prove what a Big Man he is, an older equivalent of a Big Man on Campus, in his case a Big Man on Planet, transmitted in a Child psychological covert message. He is very skillful playing this Game, having had a lifetime of practice and schooling at home on how to manipulate people to do his bidding, growing up a rich kid, wheeling and dealing as a rich tycoon who never worked at a real job in his life, and acting as a TV reality show star.
I wonder if Trump ever played in a real game, say as a starter on a high school or college football or basketball team?
He did win by hook or crook one of the biggest psychological Games on Earth, completely infested with Persecutors, Rescuers, and Victims, a US presidential race, about as real and fair as professional wrestling, but so what?
See in my book Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning for more on psychological Games.
Or my book Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds.
Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA is a certified transactional analyst and emeritus professor of organizational behavior and business policy who writes on business and politics at effectivelearning.net .