“I don’t fit in”… “If people get to know the real me they’ll reject me”… “Good enough is not good enough”… “Everybody leaves”… “People can’t be trusted – they always have ulterior motives”… “No one will ever love me”… “People are dangerous – they’ll hurt me if I let my guard down”… “I’m a failure”…
Do any of these sound familiar at all?
Maybe even familiar enough that they seem normal or just the way things are. Have you noticed these beliefs affecting how you behave or interact with others?
Some of this internal monologue forms part of our schemas.
Schemas are like ingrained maps of how the world works, what other people are like, how we think of ourselves. They are usually learned from our early experiences with the world and others, and were probably adaptive in that environment at the time. Translated into later life though – often not so fitting and tend to cause havoc in our functioning, especially our relationships.
do you find yourself addicted to partners who can’t be there for you in a consistent way?
Or maybe notice that sometimes you’re so worried about people leaving that you drive them away… How much of your day is spent thinking about pleasing other people so they won’t reject you… Do you tend to give more to others than you get back in return?
When someone offers you a compliment, do you shrug it off awkwardly/sarcastically because surely they must have the wrong person, or don’t know what they’re talking about?
Have you ever found yourself so preoccupied with not getting it wrong that you end up flustered and making mistakes left right and center – only to confirm that, of course, that’s because you really are incompetent and a fraud… and other people can tell and you’re definitely going to get fired… or fail… or get kicked out…
If any of this resonates, Schema Therapy could be useful for you. Just because we’ve got some of these templates, even if we’ve operated by them for some time, doesn’t mean we’re powerless in choosing which ones we’d like to keep.
Feel free to contact us if you’d like to find a health professional to help you with feelings of anxiety. If you would like to read more, here is a link to the Wikipedia entry and another to a dedicated site.
Schema Therapy by Dr Ashlen San Letho