Getting emotional is when ‘the child has taken over’. It makes most of us feel bad and ‘not ok’ feelings take over.

The Adult is the mostly used ego state for our usual communication. The parent comes out while talking to children, or by being addressed from a Child ego state. Meaning it could be a grown up person, behaving like a child, which makes the Parent in us respond. E.g. you are standing in line to buy movie tickets and someone jumps the queue, intentionally. You and maybe others will tell that person, that there is a line and that he/she should please go the end of it. The childish behavior brought out the Parent.


Here an overview on behavior ego states (source: I’m ok you’re ok, Thomas Harris):

ego states


“Recordings of imposed, unquestioned, external events perceived by a person between birth and age five (a taught concept of live). The mother and father become internalized in the Parent, as recordings of what the child observed them to say and do.”

Typical behavior: judgmental, instructive, guiding, coaching, restrictive, e.g. Tidy your room!



ego states


“Recording of data acquired and computed through exploration and testing (thought concept of life).”

Starts at age 10 months when mobility is explored. The adult examines events with what was taught (by parents) and stores that data. Its an information integrity check of what is known.

Typical behavior: probability estimating, objective information processing, almost absent of emotions, e.g. Where you able to complete the job?



ego states


“Recordings of internal events (feelings) in response to external events (mostly mother and father) between birth and age five (a felt concept of life).”

Any child as a byproduct of helplessness and the mistakes that happen during the learning process feels “I’m not ok”. When grown up, situations of frustration, no alternatives or being cornered can bring back the child in each of us.

Typical behavior – negative: emotional, anger dominates reason, crying, screaming, yelling, hiding, stamping, looking at the floor

Typical behavior – positive: creativity, curiosity, the desire to explore, know, touch, feel, experience, the pristine feeling of first discoveries, carefree, butterfly-chasing

E.g. I love the coffee from the little corner shop down the road. Lets go and have one? [instead of finishing a job with an expired deadline]


Here are examples of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ feeling communication and how to change your transaction partner between ego states: next post.