The idea is to identify situations in everyday life that are repeated and make us feel suffering in order to unpack them to find the common thread.
What was the situation? What did I feel (physically, emotionally)? What did I think at the time? How did I behave?
As you work through this self-observation, you will see one or more themes emerge: these are the recurring schemas.
Here is a description of the main existing schemas to help and guide you in your endeavour. One or more of these schemas may sound familiar to you, they sometimes co-exist at varying intensities. And of course this list is not exhaustive, these are descriptions in order to guide you.
Abandonment schema, emotional deprivation.
The general idea is \“I don’t matter to anyone\”. You feel that you are not loved, you are afraid of being abandoned, you can’t stand criticism, your relationships are exclusive, many things like hobbies seem pointless and useless.
The general idea is \“I need to do everything others want of me in order to be loved\”. You are dependent on other people’s opinions, do things according to other people’s opinions, you can’t stand conflict, other people’s judgement matters a lot, you put yourself last, you go out of your way to please everyone.
The general idea is \“I get hurt all the time, the world is unfair\”. You are suspicious, you often feel shame, injustice, hatred, you are cagey and therefore quite lonely.
The general idea is \“it must be my fault\”. You always have a guilty conscience, you surround yourself with people with whom you play the nurse, you don’t dare to impose yourself, you feel responsible for everyone.
Lack of recognition schema
The general idea is \“I don’t get the recognition I deserve\”. You over-invest in the professional world and are in the race for recognition, you feel that your romantic relationship is unbalanced and that you are \“giving\” too much.
Schema of low self-esteem.
The general idea is \“I suck\”. You never put yourself out there, you make excuses for your successes, you let yourself be belittled without saying a word, you shun contact.
Schema of misunderstanding
The general idea is \“they never take what I say into account\”. You are not listened to, you feel alone, misunderstood, you are unassertive, elusive, secretive, introverted.
The general idea is \“I am always excluded\”. You find it hard to fit in with groups, you feel different, you have few friends, you are convinced that no one can accept you as you are.
The number of schemas could equal the number of painful feelings experienced. If your schema has not been described, it is up to you to define it. The psychiatrist Young, to whom we owe the concept of early maladaptive schemas, described 11, then 15, 16 and then 18 of them – and he was still not exhaustive! It is therefore up to you to define your own schemas, by analysing the painful feelings that recur in everyday life situations.