I am continuing on with the Maladaptive schema and the things that my counselor taught me to counter act each one. There isn’t one of them that I can’t change when I understand that I have choices. I need to learn more and work hard but not impossible.
7. VULNERABILITY TO HARM OR ILLNESS – Exaggerated fear that imminent catastrophe will strike at any time and that one will be unable to prevent it.
I still struggle with this one. When my husband is late for work I imagine he’s been in a terrible accident. Or when I saw a car wreck close to where I knew my daughter-in-law was shopping I was afraid it was her. This catastrophizing wrecks havoc on my peace of mind. Fortunately, my counselor had several suggestions to help minimize the harm. He first taught me to recognize that terrible things have happened in my life and I was unable to stop it. I am afraid that terrible things will happen again. He encouraged me to recognize the fear, ask myself a series of questions:
Is this a reasonable fear?
Is this something I can do anything about?
Is it really the worse thing that ever happened to me?
The last question is fairly safe for me since really horrible things already happened and I survived those. He encouraged me to have the attitude toward life, “Bring it on.” I am not quite there but I am starting to reduce some of my anxiety. I give my husband at least an hour beyond the time he said he would be home before worrying….I call this resetting my ‘worrinometer.’ After I was parked, I texted my daughter-in-law about the accident. She thanked me for letting her know to avoid the traffic jam. I learned there are many positive things I can do to counter this fear. My favorite ‘go to’ solution is prayer. I might not be able to do anything about a problem but God can.
8. ENMESHMENT / UNDEVELOPED SELF – Excessive emotional involvement and closeness with one or more significant others (often parents), at the expense of full individuation or normal social development. Often experienced as a feeling of emptiness and floundering, having no direction, or in extreme cases questioning one’s existence.
My counselor spent a ton of sessions on teaching me individuation. He recognized the enmeshment I had with my mother and worked and teaching me to set boundaries so that I knew where she ended and I began. Needy parents unfortunately will expect their children to fulfill their needs. My mother wanted to be me and didn’t want me to make any of my own decisions. She said differently but should I foolishly have an independent thought she would squish it immediately. Counseling was the key for me in understanding and learning new skills. These are skills that can be learned at anytime in life. My counselor wanted me to be my own person and when I attempted to shift my enmeshment from my mother to him, he brought me up short and corrected my misconception. He did not want me dependent on him either. These lessons were numerous what is a boundary, how to set a boundary, how to protect my boundaries, what rights I have as an individual, and the list goes on and on. In the process, he was teaching me about how to live my own life. His most stunning question, “What do you want?”
9. FAILURE TO ACHIEVE – The belief that one has failed, will inevitably fail, or is fundamentally inadequate relative to one’s peers, in areas of achievement (school, career, sports, etc.).
Hard to unlearn what was hammered into me. I graduated in the top 5% of my class but I was told that was no big deal. I did achieve success but I was told it didn’t matter. What I did wasn’t important. I keep evidence. I keep my diploma on my dresser. I keep reminders that I succeed many times. One of the big lessons in individuation was recognizing my successes. The fish climbing trees quote also applies here.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I didn’t fail to achieve, I failed to give credit where credit was due…with myself. I am also learning a new acronym for FAIL
If you never fail, then you haven’t tried anything new. I love Froglogic encouragement to get out there and fail at something. Embrace the suck. Live life.
10. ENTITLEMENT / GRANDIOSITY – The belief that one is superior to other people; entitled to special rights and privileges; or not bound by the rules of reciprocity that guide normal social interaction.
This is the one that I needed to take a reality check. Very disappointed when my reality check bounced. I am teaching myself to look again at my plans and opinions. I am not entitled to good health, I am not entitled to my mother’s love, I am not entitled to many things that I thought I could have. My counselor spent more than one session bringing my head out of the clouds of “what I wish I could be” and planted them solidly in this is your reality. Embrace it. Change it. But you are not entitled to some of the things I thought I was. I work hard at making my goals more realistic without loosing my dreams of a better tomorrow. I think this was the hardest and the easiest to master. Hardest because I didn’t want to let go of the illusion that my mother should love me in a healthy way. The easiest was once I accepted I was able to shuffle priorities very quickly. If I start to feel too grand I remember the Dr. Banks tape. He shared the story of a man that stood in the mental health ward very grand with one hand inside his robe. He asked the man who he was. “I, sir, am Napoleon.”
“Who told you were Napoleon?”
“God told me.”
From another bunk he heard, “I did not.”
There is always someone that thinks they are grander than I am. I also believe this is where humility steps in and helps out us mere mortals. I like the quote my daughter in law has at her house. Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, it is about thinking of yourself less.
11. INSUFFICIENT SELF-CONTROL / SELF-DISCIPLINE – Pervasive difficulty or refusal to exercise sufficient self-control and frustration tolerance to achieve one’s personal goals, or to restrain the excessive expression of one’s emotions and impulses. In its milder form, patient presents with an exaggerated emphasis on discomfort-avoidance: avoiding pain, conflict, confrontation, responsibility, or overexertion—at the expense of personal fulfillment, commitment, or integrity.
I felt I had no control of my actions. I was steeped in ‘have-to’, should, ‘they-make-me.’ I had to first accept that I did have control of my life before I could learn the self-discipline in other areas of my life. I believe karate is one of the many things that are teaching my self-discipline. I grew up with so much discipline I didn’t know how to do it for myself. I believe this is one of the important rolls of a parent is to move from giving orders to giving suggestions to cheering on my children. I felt they needed to learn these steps a bit at a time. I am also learning from Team Froglogic to embrace the suck.
As I accepted responsibility of my life I learned that the only was to stop feeling out of control is to take control of things myself. I also learned that avoidance at all cost would cost me everything. Embracing integrity goes a long way to sorting out the self-control and the self-discipline.
12. SUBJUGATION – Excessive surrendering of control to others because one feels coerced – – usually to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment.
This is what made number 11 so difficult. I didn’t think I had control in my life. I surrendered all my control to someone else. Taking back my power and learning my rights and responsibilities as a human being went a long ways toward changing this. When I took back my power, I stopped feeling a need to let others control me. The left off one of the steps of subjugation to avoid physical beatings, sometimes the implied threat of a beating. Once I understood my power, I started looking at the people in my life that were putting me in my place and decided I was going to stay put. It was a process. My counselor guided me as I stumbled through my taking back my power and decisions I was making. It didn’t happen all at once and every so often I have to check in with myself that I am not giving up too much power again. I learned that even with my employment I have a certain amount of control and that I function better if I feel I have choices. In case I haven’t mentioned before, I love choices.
I was a prisoner in my own mind.