Three primary mechanisms that perpetuate these schemas:
2. Self-Defeating Life Patterns: Unconsciously a person may select and remain in situations and relationships that trigger and perpetuate a schema while avoiding relationships that are likely to heal it instead.
“Destructive thought they might be, schemas provide patients with feelings of security and predictability. Patients resist giving up schemas because the schemas are central to their sense of identity. It is disrupting to give up a schema. The whole world tilts. In this light, resistance to therapy is a form of self-preservation, an attempt to hold onto a sense of control and inner coherence.”
3. Coping Styles …. Which we’ll get into next. Maladaptive coping styles and responses develop early to help a person adapt, to not experience the level of intensity or overwhelming emotions that these schemas represent. In this way a person behaviors are not part of the schema, but they are a part of the coping response. The schema itself is the thing that motivates the need to cope and the behavior that results from it.
What’s more, everyone uses different coping styles for different situations. Different people will use different coping styles for the same situations. Hell, over time, the same person may eventually come to use different coping styles for a situation they’ve been in before but learned to adapt accordingly. The schema itself is not changing, but the means of coping and the behaviors might change.
“Almost all patients who have characterological disorders repeat negative patterns from their childhoods in self-defeating ways. Chronically and pervasively, they engage in thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and means of relation that perpetuate their schemas.”
Hence, schema healing is the ultimate goal. This involves diminishing; the intensity of memories connected to maladaptive schemas, the emotional charge, the strength of the sensations that are felt, and the maladaptive cognitions. Not only that, but it also involves behavior change. Once you learn to recognize the maladaptive methods that you’re utilizing, you begin to replace these with more adaptive patterns of behavior.
While we all may cope differently there are three basic responses to any kind of threat: Fight, Flight, or Freeze. Or in this case: Overcompensation, Avoidance, Surrender…..