Kick Me

Original First Edition of Games People Play 1964

Original First Edition of Games People Play from Eric Berne’s private library.

Thesis: This is played by men whose social manner is equivalent to wearing a sign that reads “Please Don’t Kick Me.” The temptation is almost irresistible, and when the natural result follows, White cries “piteously, “But the sign says ‘don’t kick me.’” Then he adds incredulously, “Why does this always happen to me?” (WAHM.). Clinically, the WAHM may be introjected and disguised in the “Psychiatry” cliché: “Whenever I’m under stress, I get all shook up.” One game element in WAHM comes from inverse pride: “My misfortunes are better than yours.” This factor is often found in paranoids.

If the people in this environment are restrained from striking at him by kindheartedness, “I’m Only Trying to Help You,” at social convention or organizational rules, his behavior becomes more and more provocative until he transgresses the limits and forces them to oblige. These are men who are cast out, the jilted and the job losers.

The corresponding game among women is “Threadbare.”

The description of this game on this page is incomplete.  For a complete description of this game, refer to Games People Play.