You can have everything, but not at the same time…
In certain areas of life it is obvious… Like eating sugary stuff and weight loss…
But in this work, the work of causing human evolution, from human to human being, I don’t address many obvious things, because the secret of evolution is in the invisible domain.
Invisible doesn’t mean anything woo woo. It means it is not easy to see it with the naked eye.
Or maybe more importantly, you cannot see it until someone points it out. And then you can see it.
These invisible things we call distinctions: once you see it, you see life differently.
This morning I was going through all the 50 or more tabs that were open in my browser… and found a pdf of an article on rackets in Transactional Analysis.
I have known rackets from Landmark, so I started to read the article.
I was stunned. The distinction “racket” in Transactional Analysis is different and a lot more approachable than in the Landmark version…
I’ll do my darned best to start introducing it in this post.
Racket in TA is a feeling, or more precisely said, a feeling you use to extort strokes from others. What you want is strokes, so your spine won’t shrivel up… strokes that put you in balance. Strokes for which you are forcing, cajoling, the unfortunate other… 1
The way a racket, a protection racket works is like this: the racketeer goes to a store or a business and offers them protection from fire, for example. The price is a nice hefty monthly sum.
If the business owner is willing to pay, good. If they refuse, next day there is a fire…
It’s setting the other up so they have to pay.
In the TA analysis version of racket, you want an reaction, a feeling, from the unsuspecting “business owner”, the other…
You want them, for example, to feel sorry for you. Or do your work for you. Or help you do something. Or find you not guilty… by reason of stupidity, or some other fundamental flaw. Or make you feel superior. Or make you feel that you can win.
I have a “feel sorry for me” racket.
Each Landmark racket can be looked at also from this perspective. At this point I am a total beginner in Transactional Analysis. But I can see, already, some of the validity and therapeutic value in the method.
For example: I have a lot of “no matter what I do, it never works” clients. Their TA racket is: I am not guilty, because I am stupid… I am not guilty, because…
Everyone has a racket, or two. Nothing wrong with that… except…
The most important thing is this: You can have everything but not at the same time.
You can have people give you the feeling you need in the racket, or you can have success, happiness, health, self-love, etc.
I have dealt with this either/or last week when I wanted two mutually exclusive feelings: being happy and popular in my exercise class…
I was going back and forth, and then, predictably, I chose the racket… lol.
Rackets are normal. But unless you are clear that you can choose it, but you gradually alter people’s perception of you.
- You will go in perception, from winner to loser, from smart to stupid, a potential to a “never do well”…
- you are going to be unpleasantly surprised that people won’t support you in being big, taking risks, in becoming a winner.
By the way, it doesn’t matter what is the feeling of the racket.
- It can be “I want to feel loved”
- It can be “I want to look good to you”
- It can be “I want to be feared”
- I am nice so be nice to me
- I want you to include me
- I want you to admire me
- I am OK… right?
No matter what it is, it always displaces your attention and your intention in what you are supposed to do, or what you are doing.
There is a woman in my exercise class who has a “notice me” racket. Now, you come to exercise class supposedly to get stronger and to strengthen your balance… at least this class… “Prevent Falls”.
The more intensely you do the class the more useful it is.
If you choose your racket, “notice-me” for example… you won’t have your attention on your movements, you’ll talk incessantly, you’ll dress inappropriately for an exercise class, etc.
Your racket is always there as a shadow of what is your declared purpose… and it is ready to take over at a moment’s notice.
It’s been invisible to you, hasn’t it?
This is what we call the invisible, and because if you know the racket is lying in ambush… you can manage to stay on task more often than if you don’t know it.
It’s a matter of knowing, and it’s a matter of choosing.
You can only have one on top operating at any one time.
The desired feeling, in my case pity, in the woman’s case “being noticed” is the payoff. And the cost… there is hell to pay.
I am linking to the pdf that contain the scan of the original article. I will keep reading it, learning this whole new way of looking at people and their annoying behavior… When it’s appropriate, I’ll report.
But for now, I can start to see two people differently. The crucial element that I have never seen before is this: in a certain family certain emotions expressed are OK, others are not.
- In my family anger wasn’t allowed… or more precisely, only my mother was allowed to get angry. So I suppressed anger, and turned it into rebelliousness. Rumbunctiousness.
- A boy may feel horny, but that is not allowed in his family… so every time he feels horny, as an adult, he needs to feel his racket feeling, which may be tired… depression… hunger… or something “innocent” but fake.
- A girl may want to be cared for, or feels curiosity, need to be loved, sad, pain, confusion, or any feeling that wasn’t on the “allowed” list… and she was punished every time she felt that. So she picked an allowed feeling to substitute her real feelings, for example sounding like a cheerleader. Or being helpful.
She is getting strokes for what a cheerful helpful person she is, but it is a coverup… for those disallowed feelings… that she is afraid to express.
The more a family, a community, even a country condones certain behaviors and disallows others, the more their inauthenticity level rises… and the more unhappy they are, while they look happy for the unsuspecting onlooker.
You can see that our invisible world is rich and works by rules that unless you have someone to point them out, you keep on living the fake, ineffective, unrewarding life you have been living… with no hope for a change.
PS: for someone who actually knows what I am talking about, this is an article that is quite a hodge podge.
But nevertheless you can benefit from it.
What should you do if you are interested in getting aware of your racket?
Of course you should register in my Playground program… no brainer. But if you want to go it alone (not recommended) then…
In my humble opinion, the first step is to go back in history, and find the feelings and emotions that were not OK to express in your family, in your environment. Even just finding it will be a big deal… and a step in the right direction.
Winners in life choose to ignore the pull of their rackets in the area of their winning, while they don’t see them in other areas of their lives… Some famous leaders sound like two different people: one public, the other private. In one area the racket dominated, in others their purpose.
To connect this to other terminology we have been using: the racket is from the dark wolf, and your purpose is from the white wolf.