What Games Do Couples Play? (Part 7)

Lyn and James Game

Some people realize they are having problems at an early stage in their relationship while others they only realize there have been problems when their relationship is about to break down.

As with every other couple, with Lyn and James, the problems appearing are connected with both their childhoods.  Lyn had grown up in a family with three older brothers and a mother who was struggling to manage as she and her husband had separated some years before.

Lyn’s mother was anxious and depressed and on medication and her father was only occasionally available to take care of the children.

As she was still young at the time, Lyn knew very little of what happened to separate her parents. She saw however that her father was enjoying his life while her mother constantly battled to manage hers or Lyn’s or her elder brothers.

Lyn learned compliance and attempted to make her mother’s life easier by being the dutiful daughter.

James also grew up with parents who had separated when he was quite young. He was the eldest of two boys and felt, and acted, as though he was the man of the house after his father left. His mother consequently came to rely on him quite a lot to support her and for help in managing the house.

Lyn and James’ roles during their childhoods led later on to the relationship roles they have taken on. On the one hand, James is angry with his father for leaving them and for missing out in his childhood because of it. And because he is used to being the grown up when he was young, later on, he feels like he needs to be in the principal decision-making role in his relationship with Lyn. Being older than her increases his sense of power over her and makes him feel like this is the way it should be.

This being said, the situation looks like they aren’t communicating properly and are not respectful of each other’s opinions. In every relationship, people need to find a way to understand each other. And in order to understand the other, you first need to listen to them.

A Life from the Victim Position

Like many other couples, Lyn and James’ lives were lived from the position of the Victim.

James was an Aggressor and would use stand over tactics to make Lyn fulfil his demands.

His game is very much: “I’m right and you’re wrong!” Lyn, on the other hand, plays a game of “Yes dear!” as she used to do in her childhood.

Sometimes the games do not escalate to the point where friends and family step in in order to help, but with Lyn’s family, they couldn’t accept the way she was treated by her husband and pushed her to speak up.

This didn’t have the effect she hoped. Their game had already become a third- degree game.  Lyn may actually have initiated the final round when she declared she was going to take the children on vacation. James did not want her to go and attempted to exert pressure on Lyn to stop her from going. Lyn in her defiance went anyway and suffered the consequences on her return when James decided to destroy her credit cards. Lyn was devastated but this time she refused to surrender.

This being done automatically switches her roles with James as James feels like Helpless when she asks him to go to counselling. Later on, they discovered that somehow, they both had scripts in their heads that they were following subconsciously – that James will be the decision maker while Lyn will be the “dutiful” wife as she was the “dutiful” daughter.

This sounds perfect for some couples but they both didn’t want a relationship based on such inequality. Both of their scripts were constantly leading them to negative emotions and were unlocking another script where they both were unhappy.

A game played for so long causes damage to any relationship by itself. Very often it really looks like a play game, but this often belies that it is real and very destructive. It is not easy to fix a struggling relationship but it is possible as long as you recognise there is something wrong and are willing to overcome it. Some things turn into an irreparable script as the past constantly remains the dictator of the responses to what is going on in the present.

Let me know your thoughts on all of this and be sure to add a comment.

To the wonder of you,




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