Life script messages – drivers and injunctions

In the life script matrix the drivers are usually transmitted to the child at a later time and in a more verbal form. They are often seen by parents as ‘good advice’ to their child. For instance the Be perfect driver is given by the parents when they are trying to teach the son or daughter that things need to be done very well and in a precise manner. Of course there is nothing wrong with this and it is very good advice as there are some things that do need to be done perfectly. If I am a passenger in a plane I hope the pilot has a be perfect. If I am having an operation I hope the surgeon has a be perfect.

The list of drivers are

Be perfect

Try hard

Work hard

Be strong

Hurry up

Please others

Script matrix Jpeg

They only become a problem when the person feels ‘driven’ to follow the directive. All the drivers are good advice in different circumstances but for some they become more than that and they feel they have to follow them or something bad will happen to them. They are driven by irrational fear to follow the driver and that is when they become a problem.

The injunctions are different to the drivers in that they are given much earlier by the parents. Indeed often they are given from day one. Also they are not given as ‘good advice’ but out of the parents’ own insecurities. As a result on the script matrix they are seen as being sent from mother’s or father’s own Child ego state. Parents often do not know they are giving the message to the child as often parents are unaware they even have such an insecurity. As a result the injunctions are much more insidious and harmful in the personality compared to the drivers.

This is a list of injunctions and some of the clinical features that can result from them.

Don’t exist – suicidal personality

Don’t be you (sex you are) – gender identity – addiction to cosmetic surgery

Don’t be a child – first born – overly responsible

Don’t grow up – last born – overly self indulgent – narcissism

Don’t make it (succeed) – can often go with a Try Hard driver – inability to find a life partner

Don’t – phobias – generalised anxiety – bed wetting in children – OCD

Don’t be important – low self esteem – poor assertion – more often female

Don’t enjoy – sexual dysfunction (pre orgasmic) – workaholic

Don’t be close – more often male – intimacy problems – commitment problems

Don’t belong – distancing family – drug and alcohol problems

Don’t be separate – teenager separation problems  “leaving home problem” – emeshed family

Don’t be well (sane) – psychosomatic problems – stroking patterns – psychosis

Don’t think – drug and alcohol – Adult ego state problems – psychosis

Don’t feel – This injunction is really a group of injunctions

Don’t trust – central to the paranoid personality


A good movie example of the narcissist or don’t grow up is Amadeus


All mothers and fathers were also 4 years old once upon time and this is the basis of the injunctions. They were also raised by parents who were not perfect and hence we all have our unmet needs, insecurities, unresolved anger or anxiety, wants and wishes from our parents that never got met.

Most of these remain out of awareness for most people and these emotional problems will come out more so in the more intimate relationships we have. In more superficial relationships the less these insecurities will be displayed or become a part of the relationship. The more emotionally important the relationship is to us the more we will begin to bring these insecurities into the relationship. Hence they tend to come out with our partners and in marriages.


If excessive – can result from the Don’t injunction



Of course the other relationship that is very emotionally important and intimate is the parent – child relationship. But unlike the marriage this relationship is not equal, the parent has much more influence than the child, indeed the child is still yet to develop its insecurities. Thus we have the basis of the injunction. Mother’s (and father’s) unmet needs as a 4 year old will start become part of her relationship with her children and in the script matrix this is shown as the transmission of the injunction from the mother’s Child ego state to her son or daughter.


In essence an injunction is the insertion of a parent’s own insecurities into the relationship with the son or daughter. Sometimes those insecurities are small, sometimes they are big but we all have them, including those people who choose to become parents

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2 Responses to “Life script messages – drivers and injunctions”

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  1. Andrew says:


    I understand I have a try hard driver and don’t succeed driver and I’m curious how this results in an inability to find a life partner which is also true in my case. Any information on managing it would be appreciated

    • Sarah says:

      Well firstly, those two work in opposition to each other. So on the one hand you have to try really hard, but on the other hand you’re never going to succeed. I suspect this keeps your focus split because you have to fulfil both. This puts you in a lose/lose situation. Secondly if you have a don’t succeed driver, you’re never going to find someone because then you would be successful. No matter how hard you try, you will never make it. I would recommend that you seek a therapist to learn how to deal with this.

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