Choosing Change #6: Schemas, Defenses, Distortions and Resolution (Part 1 of 3)

Thanks for reading…

  1. The Introductory post about Choosing Change,
  2. Choosing Change #1: Safe People, Safe Places and Safe Processes
  3. Choosing Change #2: So what’s my reasonable contribution to your change process? (Part 1 of 2)
  4.  Choosing Change #3: So what’s my reasonable contribution to your change process? (Part 2 of 2)
  5. Choosing Change #4: Gardening with Intention
  6. Choosing Change #5: Traveling with Intention

By now you may be getting the picture that I’m a big fan of the Star Wars films (I – VII, Rogue One, The Clone Wars). Having viewed the movies and TV shows multiple times, I think the producers did a great job of demonstrating how a very young Anakin Skywalker, who presents with a heart of gold in the first film, unfortunately and due to life circumstances evolves into the vile and villainous character that we know of as Darth Vader.

anakins-transition

While I understand the transformation from Anakin-to-Darth Vader as presented on the movie screen, I also get how the intrapersonal (within oneself) and interpersonal (between people) dynamics that caused his evolution are “closer to home” than I’d care to admit. Equally, if we’re not mindful with our thoughts or our intention, then we too may find ourselves firmly located on the path (or bridge as shown above) where we’ll think that the creation and use of weapons like the Death Star is a good, necessary and worthwhile use of our energies and our abilities!

So although no one wants to grow up and become a diabolical person like Darth Vader (at least we may not admit to the fantasy), we’re left to wonder how does a person develop psychologically from an innocent kid into one who engages in villainous behavior, tormenting their self and others on what could be a daily basis?

I don’t know if I’ll provide the “breadth and depth” answer to that question, but I do hope to present some compelling information for your consideration about how some aspects of our human behavior becomes “dark.” Even more important, I’d like to pass along some suggested psychological tools and other strategies to help to “course correct” our actions when that form of dark thinking threatens to consume us.

So in the next three posts we’ll take a look at how certain psychological processes if left unaddressed or untreated within ourselves could prove to become very problematic in our lives and in our relationships.

In doing so, we’ll also identify how constructive behaviors, when implemented, could interrupt, replace, guide and assist us to create positive change and resolution with these destructive behaviors that may have been haunting some of us for years!

What exactly is in the next three posts and how are we going to accomplish all of these goals? Lets take a look.

In this post, Choosing Change #6: Schemas, Defenses, Distortions and Resolution (Part 1 of 3), we’ll take a closer look at what “Schemas and Schema Modes” are and how they may have caused some of us to stumble upon and unfortunately adopt what tend to be very unproductive “coping mechanisms.” We’ll also revisit our “A-C-T-I-V-E” model, as the awareness and application of components therein could help us to travel with intention throughout life.

In Choosing Change #7: Schemas, Defenses, Distortions and Resolution (Part 2 of 3), we’ll take a closer look at what Dr Sigmund Freud called our “Ego Defenses” along with non-productive thought processes called “Cognitive Distortions,” which usually and predictably facilitate what I call “Emotional and Thinking saboteurs.” These saboteurs surface and hijack our thoughts and feelings with breakneck speed, precision and unfortunately with painful consequences, often impeding our ability to think clearly, decide sanely and interact empathetically.

Finally, in Choosing Change #8: Schemas, Defenses, Distortions and Resolution (Part 3 of 3), we’ll take a look at additional suggestions and strategies that are useful and could help us to think through, challenge and replace maladaptive thinking and behavioral patterns for our personal benefit and for the benefit of others. So lets get started and as we do, here’s a verse for you to consider:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” – Ephesians 2:10 (TNIV)

You may recall in the Star Wars movies that it took years for Anakin to transform into the “half-man, half-machine” character called Darth Vader. Likewise, in the screenplay, it took about 20 years to build the first Death Star. So where am I going with this? We need to remember that we didn’t develop Schemas and Schema Modes that harm ourselves or that wind up harming others overnight. For some of us, it took months, years and possibly decades to develop schemas, schema modes, ego defenses and cognitive distortions in our lives.

This truism is important because we may need to remember (and “re-mind” ourselves and others) that it may take some time to change unproductive thought patterns and behaviors that have become deeply ingrained within us. We didn’t ask for these schemas and truth be told, many of us wish to get rid of and eliminate them as quickly as we can.

So like the eight Star Wars characters pictured below (can you name them all?), we may need to remember that there is more to us than the Schema Mode(s) or “mask(s)” that rob, hide or obscure our ability to be strong, mindful, brave, compassionate, wise, relational, altruistic and authentic.

Like these characters, its my hope that you’ll realize there is more to you than the negative cognitions that hector you, more to you than the feelings that stifle you, and more to and within you that stands to conquer the ordeal that is put before you. Its my hope that you’ll come to see and experience this truth, regardless of the schemas, modes, defenses and distortions you’ve carried; theres always more to you, more character, more substance and more to be valued about who you are than you may realize!

star-wars-8-pic

So to that point, I say be patient with yourself (and others) but do keep your oars in the water and do continue the necessary work that it will take to make progress toward the destiny that you’d like to create and experience for yourself. And remember, the Force is strong within you and the Force will be with you always, so keep rowing!

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” – Psalm 139:23-24 (TNIV)

So what the devil are Schemas?

The Greek word “Schema” means “fashion, form, appearance and style.” Generally, it describes an underlying organizational pattern, structure or conceptual framework.” Its interesting that the English word “Schema” is found in the Bible (Ephesians 6:11), but the Greek word used for it is “Methodeia,” from which we obtain our English word “Method.”

In that passage of scripture the reader is encouraged to be aware of “the Devil’s schemes,” or said another way, the Devil’s method, because we need to know how we may be impacted, shaped, formed or fashioned, in appearance and in style by the Dark Menace that oppresses our life.

data-brain-e1338974487390In my work with others, I like to describe the word Schema as “the operating system a person was programmed with, with frequent ‘uploads of experiences’ that shape how they view themselves and life around them.” Typically the uploads are good, bad or ugly life experiences that he or she has been exposed to, usually in their formative years by their caregivers or by other important and compelling people in their lives.

Lets be clear though, by no means are we blaming nor throwing parents, teachers, caregivers or other significant people from your developmental years “under the bus.”

Nope, thats not what this is about. However, we do need to remember that children are sponges; they’re fragile, vulnerable, impressionable and deserving of having their basic human, intimacy and attachment needs met, if for no other reason because they are human beings who have legitimate wants, needs, assurances, guidance and protection provided to them unconditionally by their caregivers.

In most cases, children will “upload, record, remember and playback” those good, bad or ugly experiences of which they’ve been exposed. If those experiences were good then we celebrated and shared in the joy of our child’s learning, love and life experience. If those experiences were bad then we tried to love, nurture, protect and when necessary, teach them, with the hope of converting a bad experience into something positive and constructive. When those childhood experiences were ugly or traumatic, then hopefully we intervened in a timely fashion to provide safety, love, understanding, therapy or some other form of care that helped our Child (or the Child that still resides within all of us no matter what our age) to heal from what could have been a devastating and incapacitating experience to them.

Major point: Its when those experiences were less than good and more than likely harmful, neglectful, abusive or traumatic to a child will he or she, through no fault of their own, develop what schema theorists call a “Maladaptive Schema.”

If Maladaptive Schemas (and Young, Klosko and Weishaar,2003 have identified 18 of them) are not beware-of-virusinterrupted, challenged, treated nor replaced with healthier ways to view oneself and others, then they could crystallize into maladaptive ways that a child conceptualizes and responds to their world, the people in their world and most importantly, what they have to do even at a young age to survive unenviable situations in their world.

When those “frequent uploads of life experiences” get triggered, then very predictable  “fear-based” responses (remember the “fight, flight or freeze” responses?) occur within our bodies. These fear based responses “fashion and shape” into behaviors we call Schema Modes, which we employ when we perceive or are actually being threatened.

Remember, its adaptive to our survival to fight, take flight or to freeze when we’re threatened. No one is challenging our body’s natural response to try to protect ourselves. However, we’ll want to be very aware of when those same processes that are meant for our self-protection, become impacted and could wind up working against us and others in our lives. By the way, this biological response is set into motion by something in our brain called the Amygdala system.

Located in our brain, our Amygdala system helps us to survive (as children and adults) as it scans our environment (and the people in our environment) for danger, threat or harm, then triggers automatic physiological responses within us which are intended to prompt us to get to, or to create safety for our own sense of well-being.

However in our last post, “Traveling with Intention,” you may recall that Fear and any strong emotion (Rage, Shame, Embarrassment, Loneliness, Despair, Rejection, Guilt, etc.) could trigger this physiological response within our body. These emotions tend to trigger an instantaneous bath of neurochemicals and hormones within our brain and body and its these emotions, if not managed effectively, could trigger a fight, flight or freeze response within us that could wind up working against us and others in our lives.

So before we turn to defining the Schemas and Schema Modes, lets sum up a few things in these important points:

Important point #1: When our brain and bodies are subjected to this instantaneous bath of neurochemicals and hormones, more than likely we’re intuiting or interpreting that a real or imagined threat is going to do us harm, which tends to result in a natural and reactive response to protect ourselves.

This is where we’re likely to see the psychological Ego Defense called “Defensiveness” show up, because we may feel Fear, and its a normal response to want to defend ourselves. So if you’re in harms way and you’re about to be hurt, by all means protect yourself by implementing protective measures. You’ll want to do that.

However, as mentioned earlier, you’ll want to be very aware that if Fear, Shame, Rage or other emotions aren’t managed effectively by the implementation of constructive coping strategies that help you to “come to your own (Inner Child’s) assistance,” then this physiologically triggered response could set into motion an Emotional Regression.

We know that we’ve Emotionally Regressed when our thinking and feeling states instantaneously catapult us to a much younger and what feels like “disempowered” age and way of viewing life and interactions within our world. When we’ve regressed, we don’t operate at our chronological age; the Schema causes us to view people and the world around us through Child-like and Adolescent age lenses. The problem with this is that our fight, flight or freeze behavioral responses tend to be Child-like or Adolescent in nature as well.

Important point #2: When an Emotional Regression experience(s) hits us, the Maladaptive Schemas (faulty thoughts about ourselves and others) are generated.  When Schemas are generated, they tend to activate Maladaptive Schema Modes, which are the predictable (and possibly preferred) ways that we fight, take flight or freeze, because we’re intuiting that we need to protect ourselves immediately, just like when we were exposed to a similar life experience from our past.

mission-impossible-fuse-lighting-match-tvSimilarly, a “Maladaptive Schema/Maladaptive Schema Mode – Emotional Flooding and Emotional Regression” episode could occur when we feel (or we are) devalued or dehumanized in a toxic shame experience.

That experience may cause us to feel humiliated, demoralized and/or that we’re about to be controlled, abused or traumatized. When shaming or humiliating experiences occur, our Ego, the immaterial essence that we call “Our Self” feels bruised so we reactively default to and will engage in “Ego Defensive” behavior to protect “Our Selves” because our Amygdala and the neurochemicals and hormones just released in our brain and body are signaling we better be ready to protect ourselves because harm is just an eye blink away!

As mentioned earlier, if we don’t manage this bio-psycho-social-spiritual response effectively, we could wind up doing more harm to ourselves and others by defaulting to Maladaptive Schema Modes, or those faulty behavioral ways of coping with our emotions.

Important point #3: When Emotional Flooding and Emotional Regression occurs, our brain will call up (or recall) these old Maladaptive Schema files in the blink of our eye and flood us with additional feelings and irrational thoughts which threaten to sabotage how we see ourselves, how we see others and and how we operate in the world we live in.

So how do we come to our own assistance and stop or cease the Maladaptive Schema/Schema Mode – Emotional Flooding and Emotional Regression train? When Emotional regression occurs, and the fight, flight and freeze response is triggered within our body, the best thing we could do for ourselves is to seek or create safety within or for ourself.

pg-toddler-bedtime-routines-toddler-with-stuffed-animal-fullWhen triggered, what helps us to quickly bio-balance is to experience Safety, coupled with a healthy dose of Empathy, Sympathy, Compassion and Understanding too! As depicted in the picture to the right, our Child part of us is feeling frightened, vulnerable, and needs that Adult part of ourself to come to his or her assistance, usually non-verbally first, then with words. A word of caution: When frightened or when we feel strong emotions, hearing a “logical” lecture about not overreacting (a Logical Left Brain response) will do minimal to no good until we feel safe, calm and secure (facilitated by creating sanctuary then attention to our Emotional Right Brain – Session #1).

Before we take a look at additional “remedies” to the Schemas and Schema Modes, lets take a brief look at the 18 different Schemas and Schemas Modes.

Young, Klosko and Weishaar, 2003 have identified 18 different Schemas and numerous Schema Modes that we call up to protect ourself when our schemas get triggered. Please note that this is only a brief description of the Schemas and Schema Modes.

I strongly encourage you to secure their books to gain a greater appreciation and in-depth knowledge to understand what these schemas are, how they impact you and your relationships in addition to understanding and implementing the suggestions that the authors provide to “reinvent your life.”

The 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas

Remember, these “uploaded” schemas shape how we view ourselves and others in our environment. More than likely they originated in our early life (childhood or adolescence) and tend to be triggered when we feel devalued, traumatized, or that our basic safety, physical or emotional needs are not going to be met.

Keep in mind the examples connected with the description of each schema are not exhaustive, but are possible responses or reactions that some may demonstrate in their behavior. Most of us have two or three of these schemas uploaded in our brain that we may operate by. The Schemas are…

1) Abandonment/Instability: This schema refers to the notion that someone who you consider(ed) emotionally close may depart from you and not be (emotionally) available to you. As children, we needed available caregivers who provided for our basic physical, emotional and relational needs, in addition to providing warmth, attention and other behaviors that helped us to feel safe, important, protected and connected. Emotional or Physical Abandonment could occur through one’s problems with chemical or process addictions, divorce or death.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered and our ability to meaningfully connect with others is fractured or broken, we may feel lonely, isolated, insecure, misunderstood and possibly depressed due to the threat or actual absence of someone with whom we’d like to connect.

2) Approval Seeking/Recognition Seeking: This schema refers to a person who seeks to have their all-important intimacy needs of attention, affirmation, significance and priority met in their lives. As children, we would have liked for these and other related intimacy needs to have been provided and demonstrated to us unconditionally.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered and we feel rejected, or, if we think the opportunity to have reciprocal needs of Approval or Recognition is diminished, then we may be prone to engage in inauthentic behaviors that are incongruent with our value system in an effort to self-soothe our loss. These behaviors could could take on a desperate quality, as effort is expended to feel special, desired, loved, acknowledged and appreciated. Unfortunately, these same behaviors could ultimately prove to be of consequence to us and others.

3) Defectiveness/Shame: This schema refers to a person who feels unworthy, flawed, incompetent, inadequate and in some respect, may see or consider their self to be “broken” and possibly beyond repair. Connected to shame, a dehumanizing emotion, this schema may cause a child to feel like they don’t matter, don’t measure up and aren’t valued for the human being that they are.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, maladaptive behaviors could surface in one of three ways.

First, if one feels defective and disempowered, they may seek rapid and artificial ways to gain “false empowerment,” where criticism, “one-upping” their self over others or engaging in the misuse or abuse of their power is seen as fair gain to ultimately boost one’s own bruised ego.

Second, if the “God-like” attempts and effort fail, then the profound sense of feeling like a failure may return, possibly to the point of feeling sub-human, where descriptors (“feeling like a piece of…”) and treatment of the the self (hitting, cutting or harming) of oneself, to the ultimate point of dehumanization (suicide) could be seen.

The third but most promising area is when the Adult feels triggered, defective and “less than,” then he or she accesses then uses treatment or recovery “tools to re-mind” their self to live in the “Healthy Middle Ground of Humanity.” As a result of this “Adult” work,  the crippling effect of toxic Shame is given limitations and the person empowers their self via behaviors that affirm their dignity, self-respect and inherent rights to exist and function as a human being.

4) Dependence/Incompetence: This schema refers to people who feel they cannot do things nor accomplish what could be basic or complex living tasks on their own or without the help of others. As children, we truly were dependent on our caregivers for reasonable and appropriate forms of support, guidance, protection and sustenance, along with other legitimate needs that a child has.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, if we feel we weren’t supported to “detach” and become age-appropriately autonomous at regular age-appropriate intervals in our past, then we may feel and think we still need others to take care of us. This interruption in our personal development could inhibit us from learning independent and appropriate ways to self-soothe, self-care and generally become self-efficacious for our own well-being.

5) Emotional Deprivation: This schema refers to the notion that one’s basic emotional needs were not met in relationship with one’s caregivers. Young and Klosko state these needs can be described in three categories: a) Nurturance—needs for affection, closeness and love; b) Empathy—needs to be listened to and understood; c) Protection—needs for advice, guidance and direction.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered (coupled with our personality traits), we may feel lonely and we may demonstrate an inability to define much less share a broad range of emotional awareness, depth and experience with others.

Equally, if pressed to deliver an emotional response beyond our range of experience (i.e., when others would like for us to demonstrate Empathy when we’ve hurt them), we may feel Shame, Defective or like a Failure (three different Schemas) and subsequently Emotionally Regress and engage in fight, flight or freeze responses just when the other person most needs the empathetic responses from us!

6) Emotional Inhibition: This schema inhibits the open and honest expression of our feelings and emotions with others, more than likely because some life experience caused us to feel fear and that it wasn’t safe to open up and be vulnerable with others, or if we did open up, they wouldn’t understand us. Engaging in this form of vulnerability or intimacy with others could provoke anxiety much less cause us to feel terrified because we’re uncertain of the response we’ll receive.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, we may build and hide behind walls of silence or a fountain of words to avoid self-disclosure. In addition, we may hide behind cleverly created masks that falsely depict and resemble connection with others but in reality are shaped to protect us from openness, honesty, joy, happiness, pain, hurt, intimacy, rejection and other forms of emotional expression/engagement.

7) Enmeshment/Undeveloped SelfAlmost the opposite of Emotional Inhibition, this schema demonstrates the wanted or unwanted over-involvement of emotional connection in the life of another, where it seems like there are no lines of emotional separation between the identities of two people.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, we may feel suffocated, controlled, threatened or discouraged to physically or emotionally “individuate” and separate in healthy ways from caregivers or partners.

This schema could leave us feeling incompetent, dependent upon others or cause us to demonstrate over-controlling behaviors due to possessing an undeveloped sense of who we truly are, that is, empowered individuals who could do something to change our situation or our circumstances. When given the opportunity to individuate and become an individual, we’ll begin to realize that we possess the ability to create and nurture identities and skills that demonstrate we’re capable of taking care of ourselves.

8) Entitlement/Grandiosity: This schema reveals the “I want what I want when I want it” mentality, where consideration for the wants, needs and feelings of others are given scant attention, priority or equality. This schema tends to be seen when there are little to no limits placed upon the child or adolescent, who subsequently begins to live a life that reflects unearned privilege, insensitivity to others and often an unwillingness to respect the physical, emotional, sexual, financial and other boundaries of others.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, it may cause us to immaturely and insensitively “act out” by engaging in behaviors to enhance pleasure, avoid pain (while often inflicting it upon others) and assume superior and “God-like” stances over others versus humble, collaborative and egalitarian ways of being considerate of others and their legitimate values and intimacy needs that they deserve as human beings.

 9) Failure: This schema reflects a person who sees himself or herself as lacking, unsuccessful, inept, untalented or incapable of achieving or accomplishing specific and measurable goals for their self, usually in the areas of school/education, college, career, marriage, family, relationships, self-efficacy and other important areas of life.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, we may procrastinate and suppress our creativity because we fear the experience of failure, so nothing risked means we don’t have to deal with the discouraging self-message of “you failed again” if the outcome isn’t to our unrealistic standard or the standard of others. We may try to do the opposite, that is, by busily overextending ourselves and doing too much in order to compensate for and “medicate” any feelings of inadequacy which originate with this particular schema.

10) Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline: This schema speaks to the person who is unsuccessful in their attempts to emotionally and physically regulate, contain or channel their cognitions or behaviors effectively and/or productively to achieve constructive, goal-oriented or prosocial outcomes. The inability to tolerate frustrations and to develop the patience, self-discipline and self-control to work to resolve them could cause this person to engage in behaviors that have legal and possibly severe consequences.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, we may see someone who interrupts, manipulates, bullies and tries to exert over-control in their behavior with others. Often physical, emotional, talking, listening, financial and sexual boundaries are dismissed if not dishonored. This schema may cause a person to “victim posture” and project blame for problems encountered versus accepting personal responsibility to engage in problem identification and problem resolution.

11) Mistrust/Abuse: This schema refers to people who expect to be hurt, abused, taken advantage of, devalued, disrespected or mistreated in their encounters with others. They feel they can’t trust, count on or depend upon others, typically because they have been burned or let down by others.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, this person may demonstrate behavior that seems guarded, disengaged, defensive, aloof and protective, or, they may engage in manipulative behavior to “outwit, outplay and outlast” other people, who are interpreted as a threat who could take advantage of them. The mantra “Do unto others before they do unto you” could be an operating principle for some when this schema is present.

 12) Negativity/Pessimism: This schema speaks to a person who dwells on the negative while overlooking the positive aspects of situations, life and relationships. The person with this schema may see or anticipate undesirable results or outcomes in their life situations, believing that the worst possible outcome is not only probable but is most likely a part of his or her reality.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, we may refuse to integrate truth or truisms to counterbalance or explain then resolve the negative beliefs that we harbor. On the contrary, we may look for ways to “reinforce our mindset” which creates a negative feedback loop that could not only keep us entrenched in the negative mindset but also absolves us from taking responsibility to dutifully change our thinking and subsequently our predicament(s).

13) Punitiveness: This schema refers to people who think they deserve to be punished for mistakes they’ve made in their life. They tend to be hard on themselves and others in the process, and find it difficult to overlook or forgive their self (or others) for committing minor or honest mistakes.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, we may hold ourselves and others to unrealistic and/or high standards, in an attempt to avoid being wrong or punished. Rarely does the “punishment fit the crime” when meting out harsh and insensitive behavior with others. The absence of mercy, grace and “second chances” are connected with this schema, as is compassion, forgiveness and genuine empathy to engage in processes that facilitate reconciliation.

14) Self-Sacrifice: This schema refers to people who may sacrifice their own personal likes, interests, wants, desires and needs “as a duty” or for the good of another. Children become “parentified” with this schema, as their childhood is hijacked or aborted when people or circumstances force them into parental roles which cause them to grow up too fast. Often, they feel inappropriate guilt (“like I’m doing something wrong”) when their wish to have personal needs met is not supported by others who are dependent upon and thrive on the self-sacrificial nature of this schema.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, we’re susceptible to and motivated by the tyranny of the “shoulds, musts and oughts,” and give to others without seeking anything reciprocally.  When others don’t respond in the way we wish, we may reactively and passive-aggressively withhold good behavior from them when it is in our ability to advocate for ourselves and ultimately to respond in healthier ways of self-expression.

15) Social Isolation/Alienation: This schema refers to people who may feel uncomfortable, awkward, isolated or cutoff (at times by their own choice) from others, especially when given the opportunity to engage in social situations. They may feel different, like they don’t fit nor have a right to belong to a part of communities of support.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, we may avoid opportunities to socialize with others (“taking flight”) or we may “become all things to all people” by using different masks in an effort to overcompensate for or hide our discomfort when thrust into certain social situations. Fear of being hurt, rejected, defective and feeling unsafe may also feed into the manifestation of this particular schema.

 16) Subjugation: A “second cousin” to the Self-Sacrificing schema, this schema refers to the notion that a person must defer to, submit to, and/or suppress their wants, needs, thoughts, feelings and desires to the will of another, all in a misguided but possibly forced effort to “keep the peace” and avoiding interpersonal consequences in the process. As a child, this person may have been over-controlled by parents or caregivers and made to think they don’t really have a say so or choice in matters that impact them.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, this person may experience indecision, yield decision-making responsibilities to others or avoid situations where their opinion is actually invited. Avoiding conflict (while simmering in resentments) may be a chief operating and organizing principle with this schema.

17) Unrelenting Standards/Hypercriticalness: This schema refers to the self-imposed and constantly changing (and relentless) bar of achievement, by which a person measures their self-value, self-esteem and self-worth. This schema is accompanied with ample amounts and toxic doses of self-criticism and self-disparaging messages, which are internalized when the person fails to reach or achieve the imposed standard.

This schema uploads unbending and unsympathetic self-messages that reinforce that the person is “never enough, not good enough and needs to work harder” in order to be adequate, approved of and accepted. Growing up in an environment where love was conditional and based on performance is found in the programming of this schema.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, the “Killer P’s” tend to be lurking just offshore, waiting for an opportunity to move in for the kill. They are: Perfectionism, Procrastination, Performance and Punitiveness. Striving to be Perfect causes us to think we can earn acceptance, dignity and validation, and when that philosophy fails then apathy, fear of criticism and judgment may cause us to “freeze,” which shows up and looks like Procrastination. Because the need for attention, approval and acceptance are deemed critical with this schema, Performances mired in inauthentic and desperate behavior are demonstrated, only to be replaced with (Self or Other) Punitiveness when this strategy fails as well.

18) Vulnerability to Harm or Illness: The essence of this fear based schema refers to a person who feels they are constantly on the verge of encountering some form of catastrophic event that will bring harm to their person. These cataclysmic events are thought and feared to be encountered in the life areas of finance, personal health, being susceptible to a crime or possibly being the victim of a natural disaster. Being exposed to caregivers who created and programmed “the world is a dangerous place and not to be trusted” is thought to be the organizing principal behind this schema.

As Adults, when this schema is triggered, mountains are made from molehills as everyday life situations are seen and interpreted as having the potential to bring harm to our person. Subsequently, with this skewed filter, we may see calamity when we hear news reports, we may avoid specific places because we deem them as fraught with risk or we may create and wear modified “masks and badges of courage” in an effort to overcompensate for or hide the crippling dread that we feel internally.  

So these are the 18 Maladaptive Schemas that Young, Klosko and Weishaar identify.  Before moving on to the Maladaptive Schema Modes, I have a few questions for you to consider:

Questions for your consideration about the Maladaptive Schemas

  1. Which of these schemas do you identify with and resonate with?
  2. How were any of these schemas present in your family of origin?
  3. Was there a trauma that you experienced that could have been a “catalyst” for the emergence of the schema?
  4. To whom was it important that you “operate” and live by this schema?
  5. How was the schema a “survival tactic” or a “coping mechanism” for you?
  6. When does the schema “erupt” into your awareness or into the awareness of others? What triggers it?
  7. How is the schema in operation in your life today? What purpose does it serve?
  8. If you could “rewrite or replace” the schema, what would you do differently?
  9. What healthy characteristics and values would be a part of the new schema?
  10. What new behaviors are a necessity with the new schema you have created?

These questions aren’t meant to overwhelm you, but to suggest that with additional reflection, perhaps greater insight could be achieved about why you (or others) do what they do but more importantly, to suggest that helpful and constructive “reparenting and reprogramming” is available to create a “2.0 version” of who you are.

Interested? We’ll cover a lot more about how to accomplish this with our “A-C-T-I-V-E” model later in this post as well as in Choosing Change #8: Schemas, Defenses, Distortions and Resolution (Part 3 of 3).

Right now, lets take a look at some of the predictable behaviors that occur when any of these 18 Maladaptive Schemas get triggered. We call most of these behaviors our “Maladaptive Schema Modes.” Why don’t we call all of our schema modes maladaptive? Glad you asked.

Theres a reason that all Schemas Modes are not maladaptive. Remember the “good, bad and ugly” experiences or contributions to our lives from our past? Well, if we’ve been fortunate, then some of those “good contributions” from healthy and functional parents, caregivers or adults made a good impression with us, and as a result of being exposed to those experiences we received “good programming and uploads” whereby we adopted good patterns, healthy beliefs about ourselves and basic bio-psycho-social-spiritual “tools” to help us to manage life experiences at key intervals in our developmental process.

These processes helped us to develop something called “Healthy Adult Modes,” which thankfully, when we drink from, draw upon, dwell with and operate by these modes, they help us to convert maladaptive modes into adaptive modes. Again, most of the Healthy Adult Modes and the Healthy Adult behavior that emanates from these modes will be discussed in Choosing Change #8: Schemas, Defenses, Distortions and Resolution (Part 3 of 3). This is good news to all because this means we’re not stuck and theres definitely a way to get better at coming to our own assistance when we most need our assistance!

So what are Schema Modes?

Schema modes are our emotional but mostly behavioral “coping” responses that we either default to (where we engage in behavior maladaptively), or, are more strategic, informed and targeted responses that we implement for adaptive outcomes when our “schema hot buttons” get pushed or “ignited.”

At some time in our lives, typically during our formative years, we may have consciously or unconsciously adopted some of these coping mechanisms and we probably did so because we thought they could help us survive some unenviable and/or undesirable life situations that we were exposed to and experienced at that time. The thought process is that at those times in our life, we used these modes because they helped us, assisted us or because there was some form of a “payoff” we received by utilizing them.

However, as I’ll sometimes share with others about our schema modes, what were once survival strategies that we felt were a necessity and were key to our development or our survival, may have morphed into coping styles and became a common part of us, perhaps even incorporated into our personality styles.

If some of these modes were maladaptive, then they may currently be working against us when they surface in our lives today. Do you remember that old Doobie Brothers album title from 1974? The concept conveyed in the title may apply here: “What were once vices are now habits.” I know, some of you may be asking “Whats an album?”

Most of these Schema modes originate from our past and are our “learned responses” to situations. For example, enduring experiences where we may have felt lonely, vulnerable, abandoned or afraid could have led us to develop coping responses that fall under the “Vulnerable Child” Mode.

In other life situations where we could have experienced being the recipient of criticism, unjust, punitive or abusive actions from caregivers, could have caused us to develop coping responses that fall under the Punitive Parent or Demanding and Critical Parent Modes.

When we’re psychologically triggered, we may have adopted, took on and displayed or reacted to the behaviors done to us and subsequently developed a Detached and Self-Soothing Mode to help us escape the troubling and unwanted memories that may still haunt us.

An important point to remember is that when current life or relationship situations stir up or ignite our cognitive and emotional buttons, the schema modes that usually pop up tend to be distributed along the lines of Fight (as in engaging in fights to defend ourselves), Flight (as in implementing some form of escape or avoidance tactic when aroused) or Freeze (as in feeling stuck, paralyzed or overwhelmed and not knowing what to do) types of responses or behaviors.

Here’s a visual that I hope could help explain this process. Some of us may have one or two of these modes that we lapse into  (i.e., we may pick a fight with our partner then disappear behind a wall of silence for days or longer) that we employ or default to when our fuse is lit and sometimes, it could be a very short fuse at that!

Final Fight Fight Pic

As mentioned earlier, when we’re aware that one of our schemas just got triggered in our brain, and our aroused biological response informs our psychological thoughts to “reach for the matchbook” to ignite a maladaptive schema mode (and triggering an Emotional Regression, Emotional Flood and predictable fight, flight or freeze response), then hopefully, the Healthy Adult mode that we have internalized within us will help us to create safety for ourselves.  

Creating safety for ourselves gives us the necessary and critical moments we need so that our integrated package of Biology, Physiology, Psychology and Spirituality calms us down, helps us to comes back on line while also helps us to decide the appropriate course of action to take.

Remember, the Logical Left (reasoning and rational) part of our brain has a better chance to do its job effectively when the Emotional Right part of our brain is comforted, calm, grounded and not aroused (by fear, rage, shame, etc.).

When this necessary process is facilitated by our Healthy Adult mode then we’re apt to operate by and deliver responsible behaviors which ultimately helps us to create constructive outcomes for ourselves. This is but one of the ways that our Healthy Adult Mode “comes to our own assistance” and helps us to overcome our Maladaptive Schema modes. So in light of our previous visual, consider a better way to use your mind and emotional energy…

Healthy Adult Mode

Again, we’ll talk more about this later. But for now, allow me to share a bit more about a few of these Maladaptive Schema Modes (for a full list of Maladaptive Schema Modes click here). First is the “Fight” category.

1. Maladaptive “Fight” Schema Modes

The first group of Maladaptive Schema modes we’ll look at are the Maladaptive “Fight” or “Overcompensate” modes. The first group are the Angry Child, Enraged Child, Impulsive Child and Undisciplined Child Modes.

The distinguishing features of these modes is that when triggered, the behavior we’re apt to see is one who feels angry, frustrated and manages (or vents) their anger in inappropriate or out of control ways.

The function of this mode is to use anger to express displeasure with or toward others, which tends to result in people moving away from them, which ultimately could be one of the many “payoffs” for lapsing into, “fanning the flame” and continuing to operate in this mode.

The person operating in this mode tends to intimidate, bully, control others by passive-aggressive behavior, manipulation or outright aggression. However, the display of anger could also be frozen, cold and punctuated by withdrawals from others with the intent to hurt them, just as burning them with rage, criticism and sarcasm creates a similar outcome.

Hurting people by conning, manipulating, humiliating or attacking their person, their character, their emotions, their possessions or other processes are seen as fair game when in this mode. Behaviors could range from impulsive and thoughtlessness acts to calculated and conniving plans, all demonstrated in an attempt to get back at the other person(s) as their personal power is abused or misused.

Selfishness and addictions facilitate other destructive behaviors where rules, laws and physical, emotional, sexual or financial boundaries are broken when this mode is triggered. Threats of homicide, suicide or other persecutory and abusive or controlling behaviors are used to guilt, shame, scheme and get one’s way, as the lack of true empathy and compassion for another tend to be non-existent with these modes.

Second, are the Overcompensatory Modes: Attention and Approval Seeking, Self-Aggrandizer, Perfectionistic, Worrying and Compulsive Over-Controller Modes.

The distinguishing feature with Approval Seeking modes is that when triggered, the behavior we’re apt to see revolves around one who feels invisible, insecure, lonely, self-absorbed and entitled to get their intimacy needs of attention, approval, affection and validation met in some controlling fashion or another with others.

The person operating in the Self-Aggrandizer mode tends to engage in inappropriate, flashy or grandiose behavior to draw attention to their self in an attempt to fill any personal feelings of emptiness, insecurity, inadequacy or loneliness that they’re living with. As with the other angry modes, empathy, care, compassion and consideration for the needs and feelings of others are secondary if non-existent, as a characteristic of this controlling mode is to selfishly obtain power, influence and adoration, in order to fill up a wounded, bruised or inadequate feeling ego or sense of self.

Other Controlling modes (Perfectionistic, Suspicious, Scolding or Worrying) are engaged in because they are thought to protect the person from perceived or actual harm, threat, danger or any accompanying anxiety they may have experienced due to being the recipient of over-controlling or traumatic experiences themselves in their life.

Anxiety reduction (but also expressing their anger) is thought to be achieved as this person may think that controlling objects, people, situations, their own performance or the performance and actions of others will fulfill their need(s) as this mode is triggered.

When triggered, “Fallacies of Control” (which happens to be a cognitive distortion that we’ll look at in our next post) allows and permits the practice of obsession, fixation, rumination and excessive attention to details, which again are thought to result in the moderation of one’s anxiety.

People who employ or default to Suspicious, Scolding, Worrying, Compulsive and Rationalizing Over-Controllers will attempt to control others by manipulating, belittling or berating them when they worry or suspect they’re going to be harmed.

When these modes are triggered, one worries about the harm they will experience so they may repetitively nitpick, hypercriticize, focus on the minutia and rationalize their behavior while positing unrealistic and implausible behaviors as “solutions” that will help them cope with specific life situations they encounter.

A note of caution is given here as we don’t want to pathologize any anticipated and expected posttruamatic responses and reactions that people demonstrate when they have been legitimately traumatized, and their actions resemble symptoms and behaviors of someone who is a survivor of traumatic experiences or behavior.

However, encouragement is given to the survivor (and to their partner or family member) to examine, treat then augment and change any possible schema modes that could be lapsed into and are currently in operation. As with any schema modes, but especially worrying and over controlling modes, if one is not aware that this mode is in operation then additional but also unnecessary distress could be experienced by the survivor, their family members or others in their life.

Finally, the last Maladaptive “Fight” Schema modes presented are the Punitive Parent and Demanding/Critical Parent Schema modes.

The distinguishing features of these modes is that when triggered, the behavior we’re apt to see is one who “projects” (demonstrates to others) the behaviors of the Parent or Caregiver they have “introjected” (taken in and incorporated) from their family of origin.

As the title suggests, the Parental behaviors orbited around…

  • Punitiveness or punishment when simple, normal and age-appropriate childhood developmental mistakes were made…
  • Demands that the child constantly achieve some unrealistic (“perfect”) or high level of achievement, and…
  • Criticism, judgement and shaming of the child when or if these strict and unrealistic rules weren’t kept, abided by or fulfilled on a consistent basis.

Unfortunately the “Do unto others as it was done unto you” rule accompanies these modes as people may unwittingly and possibly unintentionally model and mete out to their own partners, children, family members or others the same traumatizing and devastating behaviors they were exposed to when they were children.

2. Maladaptive “Flight” Schema Modes

The second group of Maladaptive Schema modes we’ll look at are the Maladaptive “Flight” or “Avoidance” modes.

These modes are employed because when triggered, they are thought to help the person to create a safe distance from others in an effort to “escape” and avoid some form of emotional hurt or pain by withdrawing from people, situations or unenviable circumstances of which they’d rather not be exposed.

The Detached Protector shuts down, builds physical or geographical walls to disconnect and protect their self from others. The Detached Self-Soother avoids, disconnects and protects their self usually through chemical, compulsive or addictive processes. Escaping via drugs, alcohol, sex, eating, working, gaming, etc. provides a way to escape rather than deal with their emotions constructively.

The Spaced-out Protector mode is used to detach from reality by escaping into a numbing and somewhat dissociative state which helps the person to create the emotional distance necessary because people or situations generate unwanted discomfort.

Finally, the Angry Protector Mode generates an angry disposition in order to escape from others by hiding behind a cleverly created and “barbed” wall of words or behaviors when they are feeling unsafe, vulnerable or threatened.

3. Maladaptive “Freeze” Schema Modes

The third group of Maladaptive Schema modes we’ll look at are the Maladaptive “Freeze” or “Surrender” modes. These modes are employed because when triggered, they are thought to help the person to ward off threatening, frightening and conflictual experiences, circumstances or encounters with others.

When in this mode a person may take or assume calculated “one-down” positions where their true wants, needs, emotions or requests are hidden or suppressed from others. The Compliant Surrender may subserviently tolerate maladaptive treatment from others that is insensitive, disrespectful and possibly abusive in an effort to “keep the peace” and avoid greater hurt, pain or rejection in their relationships.

The ‘Poor Me’ Victim mode engages in martyr-like behaviors in order to passively gain care, attention and help from others, versus taking full responsibility to engage in self-care and self-efficacious behaviors for their own benefit.

Employing or defaulting to Ego defenses like Regression (engaging in child-like behaviors) and Fixation (becoming “fixed” or struck in a younger psychological stage of development) are key components of the Surrender to Damaged Child mode.

When in this mode, child-like emotions, behaviors, actions and responses are demonstrated in an attempt to be treated like a child who needs to be taken cared of, versus the adult who could (learn to) engage in self-care and age appropriate behaviors and responsibilities. If a person lapses into this mode, they may not consider their self to be “response-able,”  therefore adult responsibilities are shirked, avoided or resisted.

4. Vulnerable Child Schema Modes

In addition to the three Maladaptive Fight, Flight and Freeze Schema modes we have the four Vulnerable Child Schema modes.

The Vulnerable Child Modes (Lonely Child, Abandoned and Abused Child, the Humiliated/Inferior Child and the Dependent Child) result from childhood experiences where a child has felt devalued, unacceptable, shamed, alone, unappreciated for who they are and made to feel they cannot exist on their own.

The Lonely Child mode tends to result from caregivers who have not prioritized nor contributed consistently to developing the emotional needs that facilitates strong emotional attachment(s) and bonds with the child. As a result, the child may feel left out, like they have limited value, like don’t deserve to be loved and like they are unimportant to their family.

The Abandoned and Abused Child mode feels the weight and pain of what the title describes: Feeling vulnerable, frightened and victimized when they need caregivers to protect, love and guide them during critical stages of childhood development. Although some children may react with profound mistrust of others when exposed to abusive people and abusive situations, some children may respond by searching for a parental figure who will fill in, replace and provide the emotional sustenance that was absent in their earlier life.

The Humiliated/Inferior Child mode is described as a subtype of the Abandoned and Abused Child, who in light of the absence (or abuse) from the caregiver may feel enormous shame, defective, like a failure and “less than” others when compared to peers because they know something is missing (i.e., love, attention, safety, sustenance) and not quite right with their life situation. When triggered, this person may feel oppressed, incompetent, doubts their self, defeated and powerless.

The Dependent Child mode is someone who feels they can’t exist, survive or thrive on their own as an adult. The person may feel inadequate when it comes to self-care and overcome when it comes to dealing with life on life’s terms. Often there is a “Rescuer” lurking close by whose presence and actions help keep the Dependent person in their needy state, or, is guilted, shamed or manipulated into attending to the child-like and regressed needs of the person who defaults into this mode/role.

5. Contended Child Modes: Contented, Creative and Authentic Modes

Believe it or not but there are actually positive and constructive schema modes that are to be celebrated, desired and are overwhelmingly functional that generate hope!

These are the schema modes that we want to cultivate, recapture or “reparent” into our being because of the joy, usefulness, purpose and delight they facilitate. Here’s a description of the “payoffs” for either growing up in or for currently developing the Contented, Creative and Authentic Child modes:

Contented, Creative and Authentic Child modes feel loved and at peace because their core emotional needs are currently being met and because their creativity, curiosity and playfulness facilitates their ability to authentically engage with life.

When in any of these modes the person feels contented, connected, satisfied, fulfilled, protected, accepted, praised, worthwhile, nurtured, guided, understood, validated, self-confident, competent, appropriately autonomous or self-reliant, safe, resilient, strong, in control, adaptable, included, optimistic, spontaneous.”

6. And finally, the Healthy Adult Mode!

The Contented, Creative and Authentic Child modes are the schema modes we wish to develop, celebrate, nurture and protect with our Healthy Adult schema mode, which we also want to grow and protect each and every day.  Its our Healthy Adult mode that helps us to make good decisions, solves problems for us, sets limits when our pesky maladaptive schemas act up  and it helps us to recreate, strive for balance and take good care of ourselves.

We’ll take an in-depth look at the functions and payoffs of developing and operating in our Healthy Adult mode in Choosing Change #8: Schemas, Defenses, Distortions and Resolution (Part 3 of 3), but for now, its important to know that the Healthy Adult mode helps us by employing the components of the “A-C-T-I-V-E” model and then some. The Healthy Adult mode helps us to “remain A-C-T-I-V-E” by…

  • A: Be AWARE of how schemas from your past experiences could be currently sabotaging your efforts. We’ll want to be AWARE of how our old maladaptive schemas and thought patterns that were “uploaded and/or programmed” into us at a younger age are currently operating and sabotaging our efforts by triggering episodes of Emotional Regression and by activating maladaptive schema modes. These internal processes threaten to sabotage our ability to come to our own assistance and to the assistance of our relationships. Once we’re aware of which Schemas and Schema modes are “triggering and firing,” we can…
  • CCHALLENGE, CHANGE and replace the unwanted Schemas with adaptive and Healthy Adult mode behaviors that work! This means we’ll need to work hard to identify, change and convert negative personality traits into productive and positive traits that are life-giving and life-affirming to us and to others. As we do this, we’ll want to…
  • TTERMINATE any destructive Ego Defenses or Cognitive Distortions that our maladaptive schemas want to use to “protect” us, but really keep us stuck in child-like ways of operating. Being aware of then challenging, changing and replacing distorted thinking and defensive reactions helps us to transition from being “reactors to actors.” As Actors we’re consciously and responsibly involved in our own change, healing and growth processes. What really helps our process to gain momentum is to…
  • IINVESTIGATE what Adult Values and Virtues make sense to us and are reasonable for us to develop and incorporate into our lives on a daily basis (especially to counterbalance our maladaptive schemas and maladaptive schema modes). Identifying values that help to protect, affirm, nurture and breathe life into us while also guiding us to develop loving, meaningful and mature relationships is what our Healthy Adult mode (and our Higher Power) is capable of giving to us. Once these “very valuable values” are identified, we afford ourselves with the opportunity to reap and benefit from living a value-filled, value focused and empowered life! But investigating and identifying the values is only the first step. After this, we’ll want to…
  • VVALIDATE ourselves by consistently living according to values, virtues and ideals that are sensible, reasonable and functional for us and others. On the surface this seems like an easy choice to make. However, when the “Tyranny of the Shoulds, Musts and Oughts” resurface, they try to hijack us from functional and intentional living because our schemas and schema modes tend to trigger emotional regression, which facilitate immature and child-like reactions. Daily practice of our Values provides us with empowering reminders that we have choices, opportunities and abilities as Adults to make informed and responsible decisions to protect, love, nurture and guide us in our efforts to become Wise or “skilled at living.” Finally, what makes being “A-C-T-I-V-E” a success is being in a continual mindset to…
  • EEVALUATE if our choices and behaviors are helping us to achieve the outcomes that we want and are working toward. The English word “Evaluation” comes from the French word “Evaluer,” which means “to find the value of.” What this means is that most of the choices that we make based on practicing our values will yield very productive outcomes for us. Living in the Healthy Adult mode means we enjoy the fruit of our labor by practicing, extracting and enjoying the benefits that come from choosing to live by our values! However, when our choices cease to provide the optimum changes that are good for us and others, we evaluate then recalibrate to make any necessary changes to stimulate productive growth outcomes per our values for ourselves and others.

As mentioned earlier, in Choosing Change #8: Schemas, Defenses, Distortions and Resolution (Part 3 of 3), we’ll take a look at how our Healthy Adult mode could help us to create and implement practical applications and targets for ourselves especially as this pertains to  “remaining and being A-C-T-I-V-E.”

So as we conclude this post on Schemas and Schema Modes, I have a few questions for you to consider…

  1. Which of the schema modes or maladaptive coping responses do you “default” to or implement when you’re triggered?
  2. How is the schema mode in operation in your life today? What purpose does it serve?
  3. If you could “rewrite or replace” the schema mode, what would you do differently?
  4. What new behaviors are a necessity with the new schema mode you’ll want to create?
  5. How does your Faith/Spirituality impact the healthy schema modes you wish to create?
  6. How does your Healthy Adult assist you when the old schema pops up?
  7. What characteristics of the Healthy Adult Mode would you like to implement in order to create healthier outcomes in your life/relationships?
  8. What changes will you need to make in order to become and remain A-C-T-I-V-E, and to get the most benefit from the model?

Thanks for considering these questions! And now…

So what about that Anakin Skywalker-to-Darth Vader transformation?

After reading through the lists of schemas, have you been able to identify which schemas and schema modes Anakin defaulted to which played a part in his conversion experience to Darth Vader?

Although I wasn’t privy to the Lucasfilm screenwriting process, I’m going to step out on a limb and briefly suggest a few life experiences that were captured in the screenplays along with the schemas and schema modes which I think contributed to Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader. The links will take you to brief scenes that illustrate the points made.

Also, you’ll want to keep your eyes open in a future sequel, er, I mean post regarding the other eight Star Wars cast members that we looked earlier. Joseph Campbell, the author behind “The Hero’s Journey Myth” has helped us to understand how some of the Star Wars characters eventually find their way even thought they too have experienced challenging and traumatic experiences that could have caused them to give into the Dark Side, their dark side. Perhaps theres something for all of us to learn about overcoming maladaptive schemas and schema modes as we consider our own Hero’s Journey. What does yours look like?  

Heroe's Journey

And now, back to Anakin Skywalker:

1) Anakin’s fear connected to the thought of losing his connection with his mother (Age 9, The Phantom Menace). Schemas and Modes: Emotional Deprivation, Lonely Child, Vulnerable Child, Humiliated/Inferior Child.

2) Anakin’s death of his mother and subsequent massacre of the Sand People (Age 20, Attack of the Clones).  Schemas and Modes: Abandonment/Instability, Bully/Attack and Predator.

3) Anakin’s secret life and love with Padme (Age 20, Attack of the Clones): Schemas and Modes: Detached Self-Soother and Angry Protector.

5) Anakin’s PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) as he lost his arm and revenge with Count Dooko (Age, 20, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith). Schemas and Modes: Impulsive, Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline, Punitiveness.

6) Anakin’s lust for power and control (Age 23, Revenge of the Sith). Schemas and Modes: Entitlement/Grandiosity, Approval Seeking, Enraged Child, Impulsive, Conning.

7) Anakin’s bargain with the Devil (Lord Sidious) (Age 23, Revenge of the Sith). Schemas and Modes: Dependence/Incompetence, Self-Sacrifice, Poor Me Victim (losing Padme) and Surrender to Damaged Child.

Thats all for now. Thanks for reading and considering the points in this very l-o-n-g post. I hope it was helpful to you to begin to understand why we do some of the things we do, and more importantly how we can begin to augment and overcome challenges from our past!

Future posts on Choosing Change will be labeled “Choosing Change #7,” “Choosing Change #8,” “Choosing Change #9” and so on.

Also, as time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3 – 2 – 5 – 4 – 24″ for additional information that could be helpful. I welcome your comments below or via email and your favorites, your retweets and your “+1’s” if you have a brief moment and find the information helpful. Again, it is my desire to provide the very best info for your consideration.


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