I’m always wrong.
I am in the feotal position on my bed, at least I think it is my bed, I am not quite sure the world is spinning somewhat. He is standing over me packing his bag, an army type kit bag he would always cart around when we were an ‘item’. He is telling me that he is a ‘misogynist’ and that he would like to gather an army of ‘misogynists’ against me. I am presuming he means to finish the job. It was less than an hour ago that he stood outside my front door and said ‘I’m going to kill you’ and then he got past the door effortlessly – I know, I am one of those women who doesn’t totally lock herself into her own home, what a slut- and stormed upstairs to drag me around. and grab my throat, and kick me in the back – all those cliches that as far as I’m concerned have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the animal in us all. I’d have done the same given half a chance, given a different viewpoint from my own pathetic masochism. so anyway he said he had this army of misogynists or he wished he did and then when he’d finished packing his kit bag he told me we could play ‘courtroom’. And I knew what he meant, because before, when it was all intellectual conversations and that Nirvana Live at MTV cd he gave me and when he fucked me on the pavement on new years eve down an alley way that I am still worried might have been for an old people’s home. he’d given me that book. Games people play by eric berne. and one of the games was courtroom. games perverts play. and we played courtoom later. nobody won of course. this is courtroom:
Thesis. Descriptively this belongs to the class of games which find their most florid expressions in law, and which includes “Wooden Leg” (the plea of insanity) and “Debtor” (the civil suit). Clinically it is most often seen in marital counseling and marital psychotherapy groups. Indeed, some marital counseling and marital groups consist of a perpetual game of “Courtroom” in which nothing is resolved, since the game is never broken up. In such cases it becomes evident that the counselor or therapist is heavily involved in the game without being aware of it.
Courtroom” can be played by any number, but is essentially three-handed, with a plaintiff, a defendant and a judge, represented by a husband, a wife and the therapist. If it is played in a therapy group or over the radio or TV, die other members of the audience are cast as the jury. The husband begins plaintively, “Let me tell you what (wife’s name) did yesterday. She took the . . .” etc., etc. The wife then responds defensively, “Here is the way it really was . . . and besides just before that he was . . . and anyway at die time we were both . . .” etc. The husband adds gallantly, “Well, I’m glad you people have a chance to hear both sides of the story, I only want to be fair.” At this point the counselor says judiciously, “It seems to me that if we consider . . .” etc., etc. If there is an audience, the therapist may throw it to them with: “Well, let’s hear what the others have to say.” Or, if the group is already trained, they will play the jury without any instruction from him.
Antithesis. The therapist says to the husband, “You’re absolutely right!” If the husband relaxes complacently or triumphantly, the therapist asks: “How do you feel about my saying that?” The husband replies: “Fine.” Then the therapist says, “Actually, I feel you’re in the wrong.” If the husband is honest, he will say: “I knew that all along.” If be is not honest, he will show ‘some reaction that makes it clear a game is in progress. Then it becomes possible to go into the matter further. The game element lies in the fact that while the plaintiff’ is overtly clamoring for victory, fundamentally he believes that he is wrong.
After sufficient clinical material has been gathered to clarify the situation, the game can be interdicted by a maneuver which is one of the most elegant in the whole art of antithetics. The therapist makes a rule prohibiting the use of the (grammatical) third person in the group. Thenceforward the members can only address each other directly as “you” or talk about themselves as “I,” but they cannot say, “Let me tell you about him” or “Let me tell you about her. “At this point the couple stop playing games in the group altogether, or shift into “Sweetheart,” which is some improvement, or take up “Furthermore,” which is no help at all. “Sweetheart” is described in another section (page 107). In “Furthermore” the plaintiff makes one accusation after the other. The defendant replies to each, “I can explain.” The plaintiff pays no attention to the explanation, but as soon as the defendant pauses, he launches into his next indictment with another “furthermore,” which is followed by another explanation—a typical Parent-Child interchange.
“Furthermore” is played most intensively by paranoid defendants. Because of their literalness, it is particularly easy for them to frustrate accusers who express themselves in humorous or metaphorical terms. In general, metaphors are the most obvious traps to avoid in a game of “Furthermore.”
In its everyday form, “Courtroom” is easily observed in children as a three-handed game between two siblings and a parent. “Mommy, she took my candy away” “Yes, but he took my doll, and before that he was hitting me, and anyway we both promised to share our candy.”
Thesis: They’ve got to say I’m right. Aim: Reassurance.
Roles: Plaintiff, Defendant, Judge (and/or Jury). Dynamics: Sibling rivalry.
Examples: (1) Children quarreling, parent intervenes. (2) Married couple, seek “help.” Social Paradigm: Adult-Adult.
Adult: “This is what she did to me.” Adult: “The real facts are these.”
Psychological Paradigm: Child-Parent. Child: “Tell me I’m right.”
Parent: “This one is right.” Or: “You’re both right.”
Moves: (1) Complaint filed—Defense filed. (2) Plaintiff files rebuttal, concession, or good-will gesture. (3) Decision of judge or instructions to jury. (4) Final decision filed.
Advantages; (1) Internal Psychological—projection of guilt. (2) External Psychological—excused from guilt. (3) Internal Social—”Sweetheart,” “Furthermore,” “Uproar” and others. (4) External Social—”Courtroom.” (5) Biological—stroking from judge and jury. (6) Existential-depressive position, I’m always wrong.
extract ‘courtroom’ taken from Games People Play by Eric Berne:http://files.myopera.com/eketab3/blog/The%20Games%20People%20Play.pdf?1355075575
QRG first published ‘courtroom’ as a Friday Flash story.