Creativity Magazine

I'm OK; You're OK?

By Vickilane
I'm OK; You're OK?
He was a big, hearty, good-looking fella with a swoosh of white hair and he looked everyone in the eye, while bestowing friendly little shoulder pats or back rubs. I disliked him at once.

He also made a point of calling folks by their names. Repeatedly. Except for me -- I was always "Baby's mother."

Back in '73, when John and I were teaching at a small private school in Tampa, the entire faculty was treated to a course in Transactional Analysis (TA,) based on a wildly popular bestseller I'm OK; You're OK  (Wikipedia link HERE) -- and this friendly somebody was the facilitator.  This school was terrific in that we could wear jeans (my previous stint teaching at Berkeley Prep had required dresses, heels, and panty hose) and we had a lot of freedom in how we structured our classes.  Also, we brought our baby to school with us -- and no one minded. So when we were told we would be staying after school one day a week for Transactional Analysis, we went along with it. We already thought we were ok and we were prepared to assume that others were ok too (unless they proved otherwise.) But the course would, we were told, make us better teachers. Or better people. Or something.

I'm OK; You're OK?

I don't remember a lot about TA -- there was the concept of 'giving strokes' as a part of one's transactions with another. 'Positive strokes' included eye contact, back rubbing, and saying the other's name -- all meant, I suppose, to affirm the okayness of the other. There were  'brown stamps' -- negative strokes -- and there may have been 'warm fuzzies.' 

I have forgotten most of what the facilitator said. Probably because it was a 'brown stamp' when he couldn't remember my name.

But  it all seemed like manipulative behavior to me and I have been left with an enduring suspicion of anyone who uses my name repeatedly in a conversation or maintains eye contact as if it were a staring contest, or rubs my back for no particular reason. You're doing TA on me, I think, and the shield wall goes up.
Scarred for life. 

I'm OK; You're OK?

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog