Topic Progress:

The final three themes or classes of maladaptive schemas are as follows:

3. Impaired Limits includes 2 schemas:Entitlement/Grandiosity – belief that one is superior to other people, entitled to special rights and privileges, and are not bound by reciprocity that is required in social interactions; a focus on power and control, insistence on doing and having whatever is desired, including at the cost of others.

  • Entitlement/Grandiosity – belief that one is superior to other people, entitled to special rights and privileges, and are not bound by reciprocity that is required in social interactions; a focus on power and control, insistence on doing and having whatever is desired, including at the cost of others.
  • Insufficient Self-Control and/or Self-Discipline – Pervasive difficulty or refusal to control oneself, tolerate frustration, delay gratification, or curb impulses; may also involve doing anything to avoid discomfort, pain, conflict, and responsibility.

4. Other-Directedness includes 3 schemas:

  • Subjugation – excessive surrendering of control to others, usually to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment, in the form of subjugation of needs (i.e. preferences, decisions, and desires), or emotions (i.e. suppression of emotional expression such as anger) that present as excessive compliance.
  • Self-Sacrifice – a focus on voluntarily meeting others’ needs at the expense of one’s own gratification that typically stems from acute empathy with others or the need to avoid feeling guilty and selfish.
  • Approval-Seeking/Recognition-Seeking – an excessive emphasis on seeking approval, recognition, or attention from other people, or fitting in, at the expense one’s own sense of self, which may involve status, appearance, social acceptance, money, or achievement.

5. Over-vigilance and Inhibition include 4 schemas:

  • Negativity/Pessimism – a pervasive focus on the negative aspects of life (i.e. events, experiences, attitudes, and outlooks) while positive aspects are minimized; there is an expectation that things will go seriously wrong in a wide range of situations, which include fear of making mistakes, chronic worry, vigilance, and indecision.
  • Emotional Inhibition – excessive inhibition of spontaneous action, feeling, or communication, including anger, positive feelings and expressions, difficulty to convey vulnerability and needs; excessive emphasis on rationality while disregarding emotions.
  • Unrelenting Standards/Hypercriticalness – feeling pressure to meet very high internalized standards of behavior and performance, which leads to acute self-criticism, and seriously encumber pleasure, relaxation, health, self-esteem, sense of accomplishment, or satisfying relationships; it typically present as perfectionism, rigid rules, unrealistic precepts, and a preoccupation with time and efficiency.
  • Punitiveness – a belief that people should be harshly punished for making mistakes, accompanied by a tendency to be angry, intolerant, punitive, and impatient with the self and others if expectations and standards are not met; there is a reluctance to forgive, extenuate, or empathize.

In a subsequent session, we explore the three schema coping styles that tend to sustain maladaptive schemas, namely schema surrender, schema avoidance, and schema over-compensation. But for now, we do two exercises designed to increase your awareness and acknowledgment of your maladaptive schemas.