By Dr. Marta Adelsman
Life Coach in Communication and Consciousness
(June 6, 2014)
We all have patterns of relating that don’t serve us. Often we don’t even know we have them.
You probably know people who engage in a communication game that Eric Berne, in his book Games People Play, called “Ain’t It Awful.” I’m talking about folks who liberally use complaints in their conversations in which a “this-is-terrible” message lies behind almost every sentence.
Complainers highlight the portions of their story that make them the victim and someone else the persecutor. They expect the worst. They grumble. They constantly express dissatisfaction or annoyance at this circumstance, that event, or some person who offended them.
Carpers love company. They subtly try to manipulate you into agreeing with them. If you join in, you validate their viewpoint. Your agreement enables them to justify their negative slant on the world.
Most of the time, you want to avoid people like that, right? If you engage in “Ain’t It Awful,” others probably want to avoid you, too.
If you suspect this may be the case, especially if you attract a fair number of “ain’t it awful” people into your life, take a look to see if you engage in griping and carping.
Awareness of the pattern is the first step in changing it, and it’s a major step.
Once you’re aware, the best way to change is simply to notice when you do it. “Oops-I-did-it-again” shines a big flashlight on the habit. Once it’s exposed, it won’t hang around for long, especially if you tell on it out loud!
As you make yourself aware and shine the light of your consciousness on your behavior, you’ll find yourself focusing more and more on positive elements in your conversations. You will communicate even the supposed negative stuff from a positive perspective.
You will attract people who like to communicate this way, too. “Ain’t it awful” will become “ain’t it great!”