We cope with the pain associated with the neglect and abuse that leads to the development of schemas and modes using one or more of three major coping styles:
1. Surrendering by accommodating to the way we are treated and acting as if, and believing, it is the way things should be.
2. Avoiding by disconnecting emotionally or physically from the people who mistreat us and/or by disconnecting from our own emotions.
3. Overcompensating by attempting to fight against the schema and prove it is not true by, for example, trying to do things perfectly so that we don’t feel defective or trying to get control over others so that we don’t get left “at the short end of the stick” or taken advantage of.
While each of these three ways of coping help to reduce pain in the short run, they become the way we unwittingly, but actively, perpetuate schemas and modes in the long run. Those of us who lean towards surrendering will need help to learn to fight against mistreatment and neglect, those of us who lean towards avoidance will need help to gain the courage to face painful feelings and challenging situations and those of us who lean towards overcompensation will need help to gain the courage to become more vulnerable.
(by George Lockwood, posted on 4, January 2009)
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