Life Script — The end is written in the beginning

A Life Script is a set of childhood decisions made unconsciously by a person in response to parental messages about self, others and the world.

These decisions are influenced by the child’s perception and interpretation of what’s happening around him. This explains why two children brought up in the same house could have diametrically opposite personalities.

A mother would tell her sons, ‘You both are going to end up in a mental hospital someday.’ That, in fact, came true. One joined as a person with severe mental illness and the other as a therapist.

They received the same message but interpreted it differently.

Life scripts are about interpretation of messages rather than the messages themselves

The child does whatever gives him membership in the family. It is a survival mechanism -do whatever earns strokes. While this could be beneficial in childhood, certain decisions in a person’s life script could become limiting in adulthood unless examined for resourcefulness.

A Script is a life plan based on decisions made at any developmental stage, which inhibit spontaneity and limit flexibility in problem solving.
-Eric Berne

Example of A Life-Script :

A child is brought up in a home where he sees parents struggling hard to make ends meet. He learns that you have to struggle and give up on things you enjoy in order to survive. He grows with this belief. It becomes an important part of his script. In Adulthood, he works very hard to make a living. He passes up opportunities to connect with people as having fun doesn’t fit in his script. As he grows older he is able to sustain his living but hardly has any friends. He could not cash out on opportunities to make easy money as the word easy didn’t resonate with him. Hard work was the only way to achieve things in life and achieving things was the only way to feel worthwhile.

Looking at his last day in this world, how do you think it will be? Here is a guess — he is rich but lonely. Hardly anyone is around his death-bed when he leaves this world. The time elapsed between his life script being written and his end was so much that people might have missed the connection between the two.

The end is written in the beginning

The biggest advantage of learning about life scripts is that it gives us control over our life. The best way to understand what limits our progress is to silently listen to ourselves. What are we telling ourselves about ourselves and the world around us? What reasons do we give for trying harder or settling for what we have? Those reasons come straight out of our scripts. For example, “I can not change my job as I need security”, “I would have been more successful if I had better opportunities”, “Everyone takes advantage of me”, etc.

Our script is important to us. We play psychological games to reinforce our scripts. We also ensure that we give meaning to things around us so that the interpretation fits with what is given in our script. It subtly influences every decision we make -ones that construct or destruct our future. Yet somehow, we find a way to blame something or someone out there that caused things to happen to us.

Our script is the most important document of our life — one that we rarely examine because we are not aware of its existence.

Life scripts are usually followed religiously unless there is some kind of intervention, like therapy. Having examined my own life script by a TA-trained therapist, I can assure you that if you were to look into your script you will definitely find a couple of things that you didn’t know about yourself and would have never known if it wasn’t for the intervention.

Re-examining our script gives us the freedom to do away with childhood decisions that are no longer useful to us. If we could take the decision to do something in a certain way we can decide again to do it differently. Awareness of our script gives us an opportunity to change.