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I'm not OK - you're not OK, an Overview of negative Philosophy

"I'm OK - you're OK" is a positive philosophy. The name comes from a book by Dr. Thomas Harris, "I'm OK - you're OK" is considered a positive philosophy because both parties see themselves as adults in dialogue.
"I'm not OK - you're not OK" is a negative philosophy.

The negative philosophy occurs when someone who is in a negative state projects their negative views onto others. They see everyone else as bad, thus the "you're not OK" description.

While "I'm not OK" can result in victim behaviors, adding the negative philosophy that everyone else is also bad enables on to victimize others. The justification becomes that it is acceptable to dominate or hurt others because they, too, are bad. An additional premise in negative philosophy is that betrayal and retribution are part of human relationships. If anything bad happens, it is because the other side is bad, not an honest mistake or lapse in judgment.

Abusers often run on a negative philosophy. They have a negative view of themselves, but they also have a negative view of the person they are abusing. This justifies the abuse, since the other person can be blamed for the consequence. The abuser's description may be that they got drunk and angry but that the other person set them off, thus having partial or full blame for the abuse.

"I'm not OK" is called a victim mentality. The individual fails to see their personal worth, summarized as "I'm OK". When someone is saddled by a negative view of themselves, they tend to attract dominating types and will tolerate abuse because of their negative view of themselves. Victims may see the other side as OK while they see themselves as "not OK".

Those who have been abused can fall into the "I'm OK, you're not OK" philosophy. The individual possesses a positive view of themselves but negative view of others. This can give rise to the view that everything is everyone else's fault. When someone holds a negative philosophy of everyone else, they have difficulty forming relationships since others appear less competent, malicious or unworthy. If this continues, the person can fall into an "I'm not OK, you're not OK" negative philosophy from the loneliness and lack of connection to those around them.

Transactional analysis or TA is an integrative approach to therapy. It seeks to transform "I'm not OK" philosophies to "I'm OK" philosophies. For those individuals with a negative philosophy, the therapist faces a dual challenge - changing the views of the patient of both themselves and of other people. Those individuals holding a negative philosophy must learn to see the worth in both themselves and in others. If they only learn to see value in others, they can fall into a victim mentality.


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