Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stop the Cycle – Perpetuation

I feel like I’ve been away for so long! Sort of like I’m rediscovering electricity and all the useful e-lec-tronic-al type stuff that goes with it. Internet included. I’ve been almost anxious having anything to do with getting on-line and connecting to anyone and anything.  It’s felt safer to curl up on my couch, away from all media and people, and hide in my books. I’m not even connecting with my previous patterns and structure. I need my routines but everything is just a hair off. Arg. Plus I’ve been majorly, majorly swamped at work so everything feels overwhelming and disconnected to me right now, but in a super busy and productive way.  Anyways…..

Now that we know what each of the different maladaptive Schemas are we can begin to recognize how they are displayed. Perpetuation of a schema is everything someone does that keeps that schema going. All the thoughts, all the feelings, all the behaviors that keep you stuck in a rut and reinforce these things that ultimately you really want to heal from. Threes. We’re going in groups of threes today.

Three primary mechanisms that perpetuate these schemas:

1. Cognitive distortions: An individual misperceives situations in such a manner that the schema is reinforced, accentuating information that confirms the schema and minimizes or denies information that contradicts the schemas.  Essentially the emotions connected to a specific schema are blocked.
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…..

3 comments:

  1. I think what I struggle with most is the loss of identity. It throws me so hard, I pick up the first destructive thought, behavior or habit that is closest to "prove" who I really am or else it suddenly feels like I'm in an Alice in Wonderland moment. Yet I lived with that "Alice" feeling all my life and could never stand it. Why do I need to keep going back to find myself?? Hmmmm...

    Glad you survived Irene. Take care of yourself.

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  2. I'm seeing so much of myself in these last few posts of yours. they are very helpful especially in explaining the reasons behind why we do the things we do.

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  3. Yup, me too. I'm glad Haven is sharing this in such an accessible way.

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Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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