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Your Limiting Beliefs Were Scripted into Your Life as a Child

Fanita English teaching.One of the highlights in my life was to meet one of the iconic founders of Transactional Analysis, Fanita English. She is 97 years young and still going strong, and she is one of the few people alive who had direct interaction with Eric Berne, the founder of TA. Back in the mid-2000s when I was helping Dr. Pat Allen re-establish her WANT Institute, Pat told me she considered Fanita to be her mentor and one of the most influential TA practitioners. I'm thrilled with my relationship with such a brilliant lady and hope to spend some time with Fanita in October when she will be presenting at the USATAA Pre-Conference Institute being held on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif.

Jim with Pat Allen and Fanita English.
Jim Hallowes, Dr. Pat Allen and Fanita English at the Transactional Analysis Conference in San Mateo in 2009. Left: a photo I took of Fanita English teaching us about Transactional Analysis.
As I wrote elsewhere I was contacted by the people at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery and their Paradigm Magazine to write an article based on a piece I'd done for my HSP Newsletter: "HSPs and Shame, Rationalizing and Living Their Life Scripts." While writing the article I was lucky enough to have Fanita give me her personal insights and even a little peek behind the scenes of the development of her work with Eric Berne and Transactional Analysis!

It seems to be redundant to say Fanita is fascinating!

Fanita pointed me in the direction of "Episcripts" and I made it a point to track down the Keynote Speech she delivered in 1997 at the International T.A. Conference in India. And it, too, was fascinating. In correspondence with her with some questions, she wrote back: "Re episcripts:  Got to talk with Berne about it still before his death and found, after his death that he still got to include a reference to it in the posthumously published ‘Hello’ (renaming it ‘Overscript’ there, although Episcript was the name he had given it originally (I had called it Anti-script which indeed is inaccurate so I adopted the name Episcript but I guess Overscript would do just as well as long as we all understand the dynamics which I did spell out in the ‘India’ speech."
She later indicated that she was "thrilled" that I found her India speech! And because it's such an interesting explanation of how these early experiences can imprint everyone, and espsecially HSPs, I asked her if I could share it with my readers and she agreed. So here's link here to read her fascinating speech that presents her ideas about "Scripts" and "Episcripts":
Click here to read the entire Fanita English 1997 Keynote ITAA speech "Scripts and Episcripts."
Visual Imagery by William Mundy
My autographed copy of William L. Mundy's book Curing Allergy with Visual Imagery, an innovative and easy-to-learn technique for allergies.
Dr. William Mundy Another great relationship also started when she put me into contact with her longtime colleague, Dr. William L. Mundy and when we started corresponding the topic of "hamartic scripts" came up. It's another fascinating finding that my new friend Bill introduced me to, and I was able to discuss this on his blog Doctors Who Listen.

A lifescript can best be thought of as a kind of inside-the-mind game plan devised by a child during its early developmental years, primarily up to age six or seven. He explained to me that many people live out "hamartic" scripts, that is to say, harmful or damaging reactions to events in their lives. Even intelligent people can be programmed to run these negative lifescripts and will act counter to their own best interests. Mundy recognizes an adult following a dysfunctional script will "continue to mess up their interpersonal relationships by making decisions that others see as stupid... Folks who are highly skilled and have high IQ's mess up their lives and one relationship after the other with obviously poorly-thought-out behaviors and decisions."

In other words, people with the highest IQs will still often shoot themselves in the foot without even realizing it.

And in my own experience I have sadly encountered this first hand witnessing an elderly recovering alcoholic professional woman from a very dysfunctional family, who was a close friend, regress to role-playing "the little girl" in T.A. terms, ceding control of her life to her adult daughter to become the "parent." Perhaps it was her intention to at least try and discharge her responsibility for broken commitments and excuse poor behavior in years past, but in running this "episcript" she unwittingly alienated and psychologically hurt a significant number of people who had been loyal supporters.

After discussions with Bill Mundy, Fanita English and others, I've learned this type of erratic behavior, the breaking of commitments as well the expressions of guilt and shame, all probably comes from deep regrets at having failed to be a good mother. To atone for feelings of this worthlessness, she is succumbing with a psychological compulsion to sacrifice herself and possibly her career and legacy.

It has really helped me to come to an understanding and an acceptance of what happened.