Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Maladaptive Schemas

Roots2Blossom is one of the women of courage that I like following her blog.  This post grabbed my attention for several reasons.  One she was diagnosed similar to me. Second, this listed many of the symptoms and thought processes that are part of her challenge, my challenge and my sister commented on the same challenge.  I will add my sister's links since she broke it up into 3 parts.  I will be adding my comments in Pink.  This is to show anyone that wants to take on the list the approaches each of us have to the same information.  I am attempting to emphasize the importance of finding your own path through the labyrinth.  Too many articles start with the heading 'this is the way to heal.'  It is my belief that if we don't look at the problem the same way we are not going to solve it the same way either.  Sharing ideas, theories, possible solutions, gives each person an opportunity to find what works for them.

This is the link to the original article on the Early Maladaptive Schemas

Early Maladaptive Schemas
1.  ABANDONMENT /  INSTABILITY –  The perceived instability or unreliability of those available for support and connection. I expect people to abandon me and unfortunately my behavior sometimes makes it a self fulfilling prophecy.  I am learning that some relations are relatively stable. 
2.  MISTRUST / ABUSE – The expectation that others will hurt, abuse, humiliate, cheat, lie, manipulate, or take advantage.  This one is huge for me and I don’t see how this can be overcome.  I spent most of my childhood living with abuse hard to believe it won't continue. I still feel startled when someone is kind to me.  Especially if I didn't do anything to 'earn it.'  How sad is that that I feel I have to 'earn' love.    
3.  EMOTIONAL DEPRIVATION –    Expectation that one’s desire for a normal degree of emotional support will not be adequately met by others. I was totally puzzled that I should have any expectation to emotional support.  I didn't understand that this is a basic in any healthy relationship. 
 4.  DEFECTIVENESS / SHAME –     The feeling that one is defective, bad, unwanted, inferior, or invalid in important respects; or that one would be unlovable to significant others if exposed. I used to have this one, but not so much any more.  Like Roots2blossom, I'm improving but I still have a long way to go.  One of the main behaviors of predators is to shift their guilt to their victims.  It is the victims fault they made them angry and they had to beat them. 
5.  SOCIAL ISOLATION / ALIENATION –     The feeling that one is isolated from the rest of the world, different from other people, and/or not part of any group or community.  I have lived my life next to people, not with people. I don’t see how this can be overcome.   One of the first emotional reactions I talked to my counselor about was that I felt like I was on the outside looking in at life.  I felt like I didn't belong anywhere.  On occasion I still struggle with this feeling. 
6.  DEPENDENCE / INCOMPETENCE –      Belief that one is unable to handle one’s everyday responsibilities in a competent manner, without considerable help from others. I don’t believe I could ever live alone, I keep losing jobs, can’t work full time, due to medical or mental illness.  I thought dependeny was how I showed love.  I didn't understand that it was even possible for two independent people to stand together to form a strong and loving bond.  Work in progress on this one.   
 Judy's 7- 12
7.  VULNERABILITY TO HARM OR ILLNESS –     Exaggerated fear that imminent catastrophe will strike at any time and that one will be unable to prevent it. I always think the worst. In fact I see the worst played out in my mind like a horror movie. I’ve been aware of this and do what I can to counteract it, but nothing has stopped it from happening in the first place.  If DH is home late from work, in my mind I see him mangled on the freeway.  I was raised in the fear that the worst might happen at any moment.  My parents watched the news the plastered the worse from all over the world.  My mother pointed out every disaster and constructed these weird connections until I was quite convinced if I ventured from home horrible things would happen.  Horrible things did happen.  The fear and terror I faced as a child was real.  For me, the terror I live with is it will all happen again.  Hard to shake loose that nagging constant fear.  Counseling helped me to put many of these fears back into perspective of more everyday living.  I am relieved to begin to grasp that my childhood was the exception not the rule. 
8.  ENMESHMENT  /  UNDEVELOPED SELF –      Excessive emotional involvement and closeness with one or more significant others (often parents), at the expense of full individuation or normal social development.  Often experienced as a feeling of emptiness and floundering, having no direction, or in extreme cases questioning one’s existence.  AF raised me as part of him, it was incredibly painful to separate from him. And when I finally did, I found out I was empty inside.  This was so true.  I had no concept of where I ended and my mother began. Fortunately, I can say this in the past tense.  I am still a work in progress but the separation was scary and painful it also gave me the room to grow.  I learned about the value of individuation.  This separateness was something I wanted for my children.  I enjoy them and like to be with them but I am happy to see that they have beautiful complete lives without me, as it should be.    
9.  FAILURE TO ACHIEVE –      The belief that one has failed,  will inevitably fail, or is fundamentally inadequate relative to one’s peers, in areas of achievement (school, career, sports, etc.).  I did fail in school.  I struggled with reading and spelling and yea...junior high was a bit of a disaster.  But between junior high and high school I decided to fight back.  I learned to do well in school.  I worked hard.  I still struggle with feeling like a failure but I have learned to work and work hard with a determination that helped me survive against the odds.   
10.  ENTITLEMENT / GRANDIOSITY  –      The belief that one is superior to other people; entitled to special rights and privileges; or not bound by the rules of reciprocity that guide normal social interaction.  I didn't think this was me.  I thought this is one I missed.  Then there was this little nudge in my mind as I prayed about this post.....'don't you feel entitled to your mother's love?  Didn't you at the grand age of 17 have the grandiose idea that you could win her love if you just did something big enough and important enough?  Didn't you tear into college on a scholarship she arranged to prove how magnificent your are?  What about all the grandiose plans made that would take several life times to accomplish?' ...well sh**** Damn is there not one of these I can skip? Fortunately, my counselor helped me understand that my mother's fears and insecurities are not about me.  I was just a target not the cause.  I am accepting she can not be a mother to me and embrace her fears at the same time.  I am sad for what is lost but I can't fix it.  I don't need to. 
11. INSUFFICIENT SELF-CONTROL / SELF-DISCIPLINE –     Pervasive difficulty or refusal to exercise sufficient self-control and frustration tolerance to achieve one’s personal goals, or to restrain the excessive expression of one’s emotions and impulses.  In its milder form,  patient presents with an exaggerated emphasis on discomfort-avoidance:  avoiding pain, conflict, confrontation, responsibility, or overexertion—at the expense of personal fulfillment, commitment,  or integrity. I would avoid everything if possible  I can resist anything except temptation.  Yea...I hear that chocolate calling my name.  I also learned the habit of avoiding conflict at all cost.  I learned the hard way that the mind set will cost me everything.  I think part of what I like about karate is the emphasis on self control.  I am also learning from Froglogic to embrace the suck.  If I am not uncomfortable I must not be working hard enough. This I am seeing a lot of changes....but I'll still have another piece of chocolate.  :)
12.  SUBJUGATION  –    Excessive surrendering of control to others because one feels coerced – – usually to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment. I learned to give up, that I didn’t matter, that nothing really mattered  This was drilled into me both at home and the pedophile.  My counselor chewed me out numerous times for giving away my power.  I was totally stunned; I didn't even know I had any.  Spent many counseling sessions on what rights and responsibilities I had as a human being with power.  It is kind of cool actually.   
13. SELF-SACRIFICE  –      Excessive focus on voluntarily meeting the needs of others in daily situations, at the expense of one’s own gratification.  The most common reasons are:  to prevent causing pain to others;  to avoid guilt from feeling selfish;  or to maintain the connection with others perceived as needy .  Often results from an acute sensitivity to the pain of others.  I was expected as a child to give up everything to meet the needs of my parents.  Then I was taught to give up everything for my children, including my health.  Bad plan.  I believe in self-sacrifice having value but, this is a very big but, it is not always healthy for the other person.  Adding martyr attitude to self-sacrifice is down right scary.  I am learning to choose when I say yes and choose when I say no.  Making myself ill to help someone else just doesn't make sense.  Learning a bit of balance takes time and experience.  I also noticed that human leaches just move on to the next victim if you refuse to hand your life over to them. 
14.  APPROVAL-SEEKING  /  RECOGNITION-SEEKING  –      Excessive emphasis on gaining approval, recognition, or attention from other people, or fitting in, at the expense of developing a secure and true sense of self.  Yes and yes, that is where the self-sacrificing thing comes into lethal play.....sacrificing self to please others is a dangerous road and can be easily twisted out of all proportion. 
15. NEGATIVITY  /  PESSIMISM  –      A pervasive, lifelong focus on the negative aspects of life (pain, death, loss, disappointment, conflict, guilt, resentment, unsolved problems, potential mistakes, betrayal, things that could go wrong, etc.) while minimizing or neglecting the positive or optimistic aspects. Usually includes an exaggerated expectation– in a wide range of work, financial, or interpersonal situations — that things will eventually go seriously wrong, or that aspects of one’s life that seem to be going well will ultimately fall apart. I also apply this to the world at large, that humanity itself is a terrible mistake of nature and that nothing can be done. I can’t save the world, I don’t even want to try any more.  One of the hazards of really bad stuff happening is you see the bad stuff happening everywhere.  I've worked hard to notice the good things in life.  I found gratitude a great antidote, but I need to apply daily to keep me from drowning in negativity.  I am noticing I am getting much better at the gratitude part.  I am starting to recognize the value of fleas in my life.  
16.  EMOTIONAL INHIBITION  –      The excessive inhibition of spontaneous action, feeling, or communication — usually to avoid disapproval by others, feelings of shame, or losing control of one’s impulses. I’m not sure I’ve ever had much of a spontaneous feeling. My feelings were never my own and had to be controlled. I think before I feel. And usually I don’t ever feel.   Feelings....what feelings?  Teaching me to feel was the pet project of my first counselor, he started with anger because it is the easiest to illicit....yea, he had a tough time some sessions.  I could make any emotion disappear.  I still tend to hide my feelings...I'm working on it.  I can usually feel my feelings but I don't always know why they are there.  I learned that is kind of a human thing, feelings are sometimes just there.  Now that I am feeling them I am working at how to express them appropriately.  Not an easy task to learn as an adult when others expect you to act like an adult and I feel more like a 2 year old with an intense desire to lay down and kick my feet and scream....I love art, I can express these outrageous feelings and call it art.  Yea.  More work to do here. 
17.  UNRELENTING STANDARDS /  HYPERCRITICALNESS   –     The underlying belief that one must strive to meet very high internalized standards of behavior and performance, usually to avoid criticism. Typically results in feelings of pressure or difficulty slowing down; and in hypercriticalness toward oneself and others.  Unrelenting standards typically present as:  (a) perfectionism, inordinate attention to detail, or an underestimate of how good one’s own performance is relative to the norm;  (b) rigid rulesand “shoulds” in many areas of life, including unrealistically high moral, ethical, cultural, or religious precepts; or (c) preoccupation with time and efficiency, so that more can be accomplished. This one is huge for me. Goes along with unrealistic expectations and leads to pessimism, reinforces that the world is crap when no one, including myself, measures up to my impossible standards.  Yes, yes, and hell yes.....this stuff was hammered into me. Heavy sigh, I am my own worse first counselor talked to me about firing my mean boss the one that expects me to get to work 15 minutes early, stay a half hour late, skip my breaks so I can keep working, I thought about my boss at work and was puzzled, he wasn't like this.  Then my counselor pointed out that I am my own mean boss.  Fire her.  Show myself the same compassion I would show my children or a friend. 
18.  PUNITIVENESS   –    The belief that people should be harshly punished for making mistakes.  Involves the tendency to be angry, intolerant,  punitive, and impatient with those people (including oneself) who do not meet one’s expectations or standards.  Usually includes difficulty forgiving mistakes in oneself or others, because of a reluctance to consider extenuating circumstances, allow for human imperfection, or empathize with feelings. Goes right along with 17. I judge everyone harshly, not humanly.   Clean sweep, I've got them all. The interesting thing about counseling, I learned things about myself that I didn't realize I was doing.  I learned I could override this tendency.  I have to work hard at it but it is possible.  All these are a part of my life.  All these are changeable.  As I learn new ways of living and apply principles of kindness, compassion, understanding, self-control, individuation and the healthy forms of these, I am liking the person I am becoming.  I'm not perfect; I'm human and enjoying it. 

1 comment:

CZBZ said...

Thank you for this!