Friday, August 19, 2011

Domain by Domain

What a hectic week. I’m having such a hard time focusing and getting back into the swing of things and work has just been one major pile up after another, but I’m getting there. Today I wanted to give a quick overview of each of the 5 Domains then I can start really getting into the meat of what each schema inside those domains looks like. So let’s break it down.

Domain I: Disconnection and Rejection – Patients with schemas in this domain or unable to form secure, satisfying attachments to others. They believe that their needs for stability, safety, nurturance, love, and belonging will not be met. These people are often the most damaged. Traumatic childhoods are common, though as mentioned, this is not always the case. As adults they tend to rush headlong from one self-destructive relationship to another or avoid close relationships altogether.
Domain II: Impaired Autonomy and Performance – Autonomy is the ability to separate from one’s family and to function independently in a way comparable to others of their age. They have expectations of themselves and the world that interferes with their ability to differentiate themselves from parent figures and function independently.  Often this is a result of being overprotected and having everything done for them, or on the extreme opposite end, being hardly cared for at all. The persons self-confidence was undermined and there was a failure to reinforce achievements outside of the home. As a result these people are not able to forge their own identities and create their own lives; they can’t set personal goals or master necessary life skills. It’s as if they remain children well into their adult years.
Domain III: Impaired Limits - People with schemas in this domain have not developed adequate internal limits in regard to reciprocity or self-discipline. It may be difficult or impossible for them to respect the rights of others, to cooperate, keep commitments, or meet long term goals. This is often seen where someone has grown up in an overly permissive and indulgent household. As a result patients with this schema tend to be selfish, spoiled, irresponsible, or narcissistic. From a young age these people may have not been required to follow rules that seemed to apply to everyone else, had everything revolve around their own world and didn’t have to develop self-control. As adults this leads to impulsivity because they may lack the ability to restrain themselves or delay gratification for the long term benefit of future goals.
Domain IV: Other-Directedness - Here we find an excessive emphasis on meeting the needs of others rather than the needs of the individual. This is done in order to gain approval, maintain emotional connection and avoid retaliation. When it comes to other people, the focus tends to be almost exclusively on the responses of the other person rather than meeting their own needs, and often this kind of person will lack awareness of their own anger or preferences. Rather than being internally directed, they follow the desires of others without even thinking.
Domain V: Overvigilance and Inhibition -  Patients in this domain suppress their spontaneous feelings and impulses. They often strive to meet rigid, internalized rules about their own performance at the expense of happiness, self-expression, relaxation, close relationships, or good health. The Typical origin is a childhood that was grim, repressed, and strict and in which self-control and self-denial predominated over spontaneity and pleasure. There is often a sense of pessimism and worry. A fearfulness that their lives could fall apart if they fail to be alert and careful at all times.

Personally, I fall into 1 and 5 predominantly with a little 4 thrown in. The more I read the more I feel like I can pull my personality problems off of a menu; I’ll take a number 3, a number 2 and an order of 5 on the side. ::smiles:: In a way it’s very reassuring, knowing that what I’m struggling with has been well researched and there’s potentially some explanation. There might not be a paper packed prescription to fix it but it’s not just all scrambling in the dark trying to feel around until some monster jumps out of the closet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where do schemas originate?

This brings us right back to that basic Nature vs. Nurture argument; early life experiences and emotional temperament.
Toxic experiences early in life tend to create the strongest early maladaptive schemas. That’s not to say that some don’t develop later in life, they certainly do, they just don’t tend to be as pervasive.
There are four types of early life experiences that contribute to the development of schemas.
1.)    Toxic frustration of needs. This happens when a child experiences to too little of a good thing and acquires schemas through deficits in the early environment. What’s missing is something important such as stability, understanding, or love. These are the Emotional Deprivation or Abandonment schemas.
2.)    The second type revolves around traumatization or victimization.  Here is when a child is harmed or victimized and develops schemas such as Mistrust/Abuse, Defectiveness/Shame, or Vulnerability to Harm.
3.)    Too much of a good thing. This is when a parent provides too much of something that, in moderation, is healthy for a child. The child is rarely mistreated but this is where Dependence/Incompetence or Entitlement/Grandiosity come into play. Every need is indulged and core emotional needs for autonomy or realistic limits are not met.
4.)    Selective internalization or identification with significant others. Here a child will selectively identify with and internalize the parent’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, and behaviors.
Temperament partly determines whether an individual identifies with and internalizes the characteristics of those significant to them. Every person has a unique and distinct personality or temperament from birth. Different temperaments selectively expose children to different life circumstances. Likewise, extremely favorable or aversive environment can override emotional temperament to a significant degree as well. A safe, loving environment might make even a shy child quite friendly while an early environment of rejection can make a sociable child very withdrawn. In the same way an extreme emotional temperament can override an ordinary environment and create pathologies without apparent justification. It’s a mix, exclusive to each individual person or child.
So what are the Schemas? There are 18 of them. Each of which are grouped into 5 broader categories called schema domains.
Disconnection and Rejection
1.      Abandonment/Instability
2.      Mistrust/Abuse
3.      Emotional Deprivation
4.      Defectiveness/Shame
5.      Social Isolation/Alienation
Impaired Autonomy and Performance
6.      Dependence/Incompetence
7.      Vulnerability to Harm or Illness
8.      Enmeshment/Undeveloped Self
9.      Failure
Impaired Limits
10.  Entitlement/Grandiosity
11.  Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline
12.  Subjugation
13.  Self-Sacrifice
14.  Approval-Seeking/Recognition-Seeking
Over vigilance and Inhibition
15.  Negativity/Pessimism
16.  Emotional Inhibition
17.  Unrelenting Standards/Hypercriticalness
18.  Punitveness

Tomorrow I’ll elaborate on why/how each schema fits into its particular domain and from there we’ll jump into exactly what each schema entails.

I’m taking things slow for the moment. Mostly because I’m having an extremely difficult time readjusting to my daily routines. Sometimes I forget how important my self-imposed structure is. My daily routines make it easier for me to get through each day. I know what I need to do, when I need to do it, and I know what follows. I can slip into an auto pilot mode and just get going. Once that has been shifted and upheaved, it feels a little like trying to trudge through molasses. My brain and my body just want to fight going in any direction at all. I get stuck. The prospect of the next thing is scary. What comes beyond that is worse, unknown. Knowing what comes next is reassuring. It helps me move past the moment I’m in so I don’t cling to the comfort that is right now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Regularly Scheduled Program...

And we're back!

I'm back from my vacation and let me tell you, it was, time off.  It was both a complete escape from reality and not what I needed at the same time. I shopped, danced (though not as much as I'd expected), drank, acquired a stalker and accomplished nothing artistically. I actually came home a little early and just hid from the world, which was what I needed. Perhaps more on that later. Getting back to the real world has been one of the hardest things. I've almost completely avoided the internet and submerged myself in books and escapism. Now, however, it's time to get back to my schedule and put a bit more structure back in my life.

I just wanted to say hi, and I'm back, and I'll have another post up later this morning/afternoon.

::waves:: Hope everyone's week has treated them well!
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