The Five Drivers, play a big role in development of the invented self and managing the impressions of others. The first five counter-injunctions listed below are known in TA as The Five Drivers because they "drive" us relentlessly, often underneath our awareness and against our will. Most, if not all, of the other counter-injunctions can fit into one or a combination of the first five:
The drivers and combinations of them are also known as counter-injunctions because they "counter" or neutralize the injunctions of childhood when obeyed.
The five drivers do just that, they "drive" survival role behaviors by providing internal pressure in the form of anxiety and stress if and when they are disobeyed or resisted. This pressure may be reminiscent of the feeling of "being in trouble" with authority figures from childhood. Conversely, these Drivers provide a "Safety Net of Ok-ness" as long as we obey them. As long as we stay in the Driver behavior we can "feel somewhat ok" because the Five Drivers help us ward off the shame-based messages of the Critical Parent. For example:
Now, as long as the person can keep the mask of their Invented-Self on by fulfilling these five driver behaviors they can feel Okay. But as soon as they slip up and violate their inner mandate, even if only once, they can drop through the safety net of "Ok-ness" provided by the Driver behaviors into the territory of the False-Self where they experience feeling bad or "NOT Ok" anymore, also known as being "triggered" and known in TA as the "rubberband effect" because it's like being "rubberbanded" back into a childhood experience.
Let's say I am a flashy Family Hero. When people see me coming down the hall at school they say "Wow, that kid's got it made! He's captain of the football team, class president, an Eagle Scout AND valedictorian!" Everybody loves me and thinks I am great. They are not aware that during my earlier years I received a "Don't Exist" injunction from one of my parents. Over time, my observant "Little Professor" notices that both parents highly value doing things right the FIRST time and working hard. So, with the creativity of my Little Professor ego-state, I figure out a way to disobey the primary injunction for suicide by making a Compound Decision something like this: "I can exist, so long as I never make a mistake (Be Perfect) and work hard (Try Hard and Be Strong) all the time."
Now I find myself with my classmates on my senior trip. It feels very awkward to me because I have spent so much time working hard and being perfect that I never learned how to "do nothing" and "just have fun." I do okay for a while because I "work hard" at succeeding socially, but finally due to a lack of experience I make a major social mistake. Others start laughing and pointing at me. Suddenly I feel very "NOT Ok" like a little kid who has been reminded he is nothing but a burden and "shouldn't exist" until I can restore the Safety Net of my Driver behavior.
So, practicing the Five Driver behaviors means: "I can feel "Ok with me" only as long as I... (am Strong, am Perfect, Please Others, Try hard, and/or Hurry Up.)" When I am not able to keep up the Driver behavior, I am "triggered" into acting-out my "NOT Ok" feeling in one of the following ways (I) = I'm (U) = you're (-) = NOT Ok (+) = Ok:
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