Make Up of Your Mind – Part 3

The last set of schemas comes in Domain V!  I decided to spend a day on just this domain because I identify a lot here.
Domain V – Overvigilance and Inhibition: Excessive emphasis on suppressing one’s spontaneous feelings, impulses, and choices or on meeting rigid, internalized rules and expectations about performance and ethical behavior, often at the expense of happiness, self-expression, relaxation, close relationships, or health.  Typical family origin is grim, demanding, and sometimes punitive: performance, duty, perfectionism, following rules, hiding emotions, and avoiding mistakes predominate over pleasure, joy, and relaxation. There is usually an undercurrent of pessimism and worry that things could fall apart if one fails to be vigilant and careful at all times.
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. Usually involves an inordinate fear of making mistakes that might lead to financial collapse, loss, humiliation, or being trapped in a bad situation. Because they exaggerate potential negative outcomes, these individuals are frequently characterized by chronic worry, vigilance, complaining, or indecision.
Chronic worry and indecision. About everything. It’s so difficult to hold onto the good when the potential for bad is so overshadowing. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about how pervasive this is especially when I consider work or friendships. Pain, death, loss, disappointment, conflict, guilt, resentment, unsolved problems, potential mistakes, betrayal, things that could go wrong, etc…. my mind ruminates, creates scenarios, makes things up that have never happened, that will probably never happen and it’s always, always negative. Even the things I think about that could turn out well for me are laced with negative means in order to get there. It’s funny because outwardly I don’t show this way of thinking. I can only imagine that if I did no one would want to be around me so I hide it all, bottle it up below the surface, but it’s there. Oh yes, it’s there.
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. The most common areas of inhibition involve:
            a. inhibition of anger and aggression
            b. inhibition of positive impulses (joy, affection, sexual excitement, play)
            c. difficulty expressing vulnerability or communicating freely about one’s feelings, needs , etc.
            d. excessive emphasis on rationality while disregarding emotions.
All of these. I bottle and I bottle and I bottle. Eventually this causes me to explode in one way or another but I can’t bring myself to express how I feel. I don’t feel like I deserve or have any right to feel the way I do most days. If I do show how I feel I might be impinging on someone else and I don’t know how they’ll react or if they’ll see it as ok. I turn inwards instead of out. I detest the idea of seeming vulnerable. In my real life outside of the blogosphere I mask myself in the rational. Outwardly I dismiss any emotional situation and speak about things logically while below the surface I may be writhing and seething in a turbulent sea of emotion. Even if I were to want to express these things I don’t know how, not without crumbling complete and that’s something I can’t let anyone see.  
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. Must involve significant impairment in pleasure, relaxation, health, self-esteem, sense of accomplishment, or satisfying relationships.
            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 rules and “shoulds” in many areas of life, including unrealistically high moral, ethical, cultural, or religious precepts.
c.       Preoccupation with time and efficiency, the need to accomplish more.
This is something Therapist has been trying to work with me on. I dissolve myself into a puddle of anxiety and stress when I cannot meet the goals and standards that I’ve set out to accomplish. Regardless of the pressure I deal with in other aspects of my life, if I can’t meet ALL the things I believe I should be able to do I beat myself up mentally. That I’m not currently beating myself up physically is a step in a positive direction at least.
18.) Punitivenss – The belief that people should be harshly punished for making mistakes. Involves the tendency to be angry, intolerant, punative, 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.
I am generally punitive towards myself. I am much, much more tolerant of the mistakes that others make. The standards I set for myself and for others are two entirely different things. Something someone else does wrong I can easily shrug off or understand, but if I were to make the same mistake I feel an intense need to punish myself for not meeting my own standards. Angry, intolerant and impatient with myself. Though when I am in an increasingly volatile relationship this does begin to creep in as well. Once I feel mistreated or taken advantage of, all the rules go to hell and there’s no predicting how I will feel or act towards someone else.
As you can see, there are a great many ways the mind learns to cope in a maladaptive manner. It’s even more involved than just this though since there are various ways that each of these schemas presents, not just the basic outline that I’ve given so far. We’ll get there! The goal of schema therapy is to recognize which maladaptive schemas affect a person and work to change these negative coping mechanisms to healthier, more productive ones. Once you recognize and can see the problem at the core, that’s when it becomes possible to really get a handle on it in order to change it.
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5 comments on “Make Up of Your Mind – Part 3

  1. wow. These are so familiar and started SO early in my life, even pre-adolescence but soldified in my mid teens. An example of no.17 would be when i came back to school after vacation and we all compared notes on how much revision for our exams we'd done. Not only had I done the most, but i'd done WAY more than everyone and way more than the recommended number of hours too. lol. And the first one, hypervigilance, strict background, i had all that growing up. Ugh, reading this is just, annoying, lol. I agree on the being tougher on myself than on others thing, but it depends on who it is too. I can be very forgiving at times, but at times, I can be quite rigid when it comes to other people not dissapointing me. It comes and goes.

  2. Thanks Haven. The negativity and pessimism is Debbie Downer for sure, especially if it bleeds into social life. It's downright depressing. Sometimes I listen to myself talking to friends and I'm thinking how this person can stand to be around such negativity is beyond me. Then I will try to snap out of it. Judging it sucks too! it's circular. I sometimes tell people i am in a bad mood and that they should not absorb it. It helps avoid losing out socially. It's too important not to alienate positive people. I'm hyper aware of these negative tendencies. I've been told you can try to change the thought patterns but Idk, I've been living with this shit so long, been in cognitive therapy, blah blah blah. It sucks. Sorry for the negativity, lol. Thanks so much for bringing this up.

  3. @notme… same with me, these started early but I can definitely pin point where some of them solidified. I remember pushing myself when i was really young, but as i got older especially in my school work and the amount of time i spent studying was intense. @Faithere… aw don't worry about the negativity! I don't mind haha. What's that about misery loves company and all? Glad the information is enlightening

  4. Well 3x's the charm. If not f! To hell and back. I don't get blogging much mainly because it's not user friendly to the mobile device. Anyway I was wondering your thoughts on emdr. I may do it. I can't decide. I've done lots of stuff over the years and well I'm still too far over the cuckoo's nest. Schema stuff you post is intense and scary in that so much is my stuff I wonder how the world got it so wrong twice. I know lots of people are similar. It's just a lot of what I read here could have been by me. Heh. Of course you seem further evolved than my current state and likely more than I ever have been. So I said short–as if, Ha! Counselor also does dbt stuff which could be helpful and as I ready to buy swampland in Florida for something to help I likely will do some of that though I'm not a fan of cbt in general as I find myself to dissociated from the process to get any benefit from it. Okay so I'm posting this now but don't hold your breath as you'll likely go cynaotic in wait. Shasta

  5. Wow I truly had no idea that I had a label. This series has been eye opening for me. I want to copy/paste and save it and dissect it bit by bit. Thanks so much for doing this. This schema is literally me which considering the glass smashing episode I had this week is evidence of that. My mind is still scattered so I want to save this when I can comprehend what I'm reading. You do an amazing job. Thank you.

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