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  • Writer's picturePeter Golder

Be proud of who you are.

An important concept in Transactional Analysis (TA) are ‘injunctions’, which are negative prohibitions or commands given by parents, that affect their children. Injunctions reflect parents feelings such as their anger, frustration, anxiety, disappointment and unhappiness which affect their children. One of the injunctions that can affect children is ‘Don’t be you’. 

Person holding porcelain face mask in front of face

For example, a ‘Don’t be you’ injunction, may develop when a child’s parents show their disappointment that the child is not the gender that they wanted their child to be. Or, perhaps their parents showed anger because their child was not as smart as they wanted them to be.


Children are children, with young minds trying to make sense of the world. Messages like these from parents are powerful, leading them to possibly believe, I’m not good enough, I’m not wanted, I can’t be me or I don’t know how to be me. Children may learn to wear a mask they present to the world that helps them be a version of themselves that is accepted. Whilst hiding behind the mask, the part of them that’s not accepted.


Injunctions are also part of the fabric of society. We can see this in relation to ‘Don’t be you’, in beliefs and feelings related to gender and sexuality. For example, many people from the LGBTQ+ community, grow up with the belief that it is not OK for them to be the way they are. Since they were young, they have been affected by the discourse in society that says don’t be gay, don’t be trans, don’t be queer. This has such a powerful effect on an individual's ability to live life authentically. Even when individual’s do ‘come out’, deep in their mind, they can still be left with internalised homophobia or transphobia. Their minds are affected by social factors that have negatively conditioned how they see themselves. 


Counselling, using TA, is useful for developing greater understanding and awareness of injunctions in order to challenge them. By identifying these obstacles and barriers people can begin to live with greater autonomy. Rather than performing in a way that conforms with the expectations of others.


As adults, we have the capacity to think and make our own decisions. Counselling is a good place to reflect on the decisions you made in the past, that may need to be updated or changed now in the presen, so you can be proud of who you are.



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