The game that I would like to talk about today is called 'Why don't you-yes but' game. The reason I am outlining this particular game here, rather than to talk about TA as a general idea for the entirety of this post is because I am wanting to talk about this phenomenon (or game), specifically. It is one that I am done playing. I am forfeiting, and moving on to save myself the frustration of the whole thing.
The basic way the game goes is this: taken from here
'Why don't you – yes but'
This game begins when a person states a problem in their life, and another responds by offering constructive suggestions on how to solve it. The subject says 'yes, but...' and proceeds to find issue with the solutions. In adult mode she would examine and probably take on board a solution (an Adult stance), but this is not the purpose of the exchange. Its purpose is to allow the subject to gain sympathy from others in her inadequacy to meet the situation (Child mode). The problem-solvers, in turn, get the opportunity to play wise Parent.
I see this game being played all the time in autism parent groups, and pages. Usually the parent will post about an awful situation involving their ASD child, then asks for advice. If it's something that I know something about I will offer some suggestions. Typically, I will ask for more details, because I find the original post often leaves out relevant details, and focuses more on the emotional side of the situation, which does very little to let me know the facts. I know that if I get a matter of fact answer to the questions that the parent really is looking for advice. If I ask about behaviors the child is exhibiting elsewhere, behavior plans, meds, the age, ect...and I get back a very vague or defensive answer to simple factually related questions then I can ascertain this person isn't looking for solutions. They are looking for support, or sympathy. They only disguised it as looking for help, when in reality they either don't want any help at all, or they want a specific answer (they will have usually hinted heavily at this answer in their original post) to help back up what they want to do in the first place. They just want to have someone else to tell them that's what they should do, so they can feel better about their decision. If I try to offer up a logical solution that I think might work, I either get ignored, or simply told that it won't work. One mother actually told me that I couldn't understand her pain as a parent, because I have AS. My history of growing up autistic, and my knowledge was of no use to her, and her AS children, because I can't possibly know what it's like for her. She deleted her comments not long after posting, but it struck me, nonetheless, how that is quite possibly what most mothers feel when I talk to them. What struck me the most was that I tried to explain myself, that I am a parent, and this and that. Then, I thought about it after a little while, and realized what she had said was rude, and dismissive. That I didn't owe her an explanation of who I am, or to justify my right to offer an opinion, but that is when I discovered the post had been deleted. Maybe, she had realized it was rude to say what she did, but she offered no apology to me for it. She just deleted her comments like she had never said what she did to me. I tucked that away in the back of my mind, as an example of the times I have been discriminated against because of my autism, but felt powerless to change it.
Playing the 'Yes but' game isn't necessarily bad, or negative. It is just another way for people to interact, and it has desirable payoffs, or else people wouldn't continue to play it. I, however, don't like to play it when I don't know that I'm playing it. I end up feeling very confused, and frustrated. I tend to stay away from things that do that, or at least minimize my contact with it. I'm sure that I have played my fair share of 'Yes but'. We probably all have. It's just that it's not emotionally healthy for me to spend so much time trying to help someone who doesn't want the help, and may actually get insulting toward me. I have gone back to me rule of no groups, and minimal participation commenting on parent pages on FB. I've had enough feeling like I don't matter in my life. I now have the power to change that situation around, and I am choosing to stay where I am wanted, and away from places that will dismiss me.
*As a small disclaimer. When I say that I get upset that parents dismiss me, and my input I don't mean it in the way that they should take every bit of my advice as gold, because obviously it's not. I mean, actually consider my input as a viable solution to their problem, because they are really looking to solve said problem. Not just blow me off, because it wasn't what they wanted to hear.