Yesterday we talked about schemas and traits. In schema therapy, developed by Jeffrey e. Young, Janet S. Klosko, and Marjorie E. Weishaar, there are 18 different maladaptive schemas. All of us express these maladaptive schemas to some extent. It is when you get into the extremes that they become a problem. Most of the characters that we create will not express these schemas. Villains on the other hand are villains because of these schemas. There are very few villains that are just pure evil; they had to come from somewhere. (Disclaimer this in no way insinuates that if you or someone you know has these schemas, are evil or a villain, only that truly evil people generally are that way because of maladaptive schemas.) From time to time I will be going over these schemas in greater detail but for now I just want to list them and talk about coping styles. The 18 maladaptive schemas are: Abandonment/instability, mistrust/abuse, emotional deprivation, defectiveness/shame, social isolation/alienation, dependence/incompetence, vulnerability to harm or illness, enmeshment/undeveloped self, failure, entitlement/grandiosity, insufficient self-control/self-discipline, subjugation, self-sacrifice, approval-seeking/recognition seeking, negativity/pessimism, emotional inhibition, unrelenting standards/hyper criticalness, and punitiveness. Like I said I will be discussing these more over the coming weeks and what they would look like. In the meantime imagine what maladaptive schema your own villain has, he probably has several.
Now, on to coping styles, there are three different styles and they correlate with our basic instincts of threat: fight, flight, and freeze. The three coping styles are overcompensation, avoidance and surrender. Coping styles are how a person reacts to his schema being threatened (the way he/she believes being attacked).
In a nutshell overcompensation is when people react by believing, feeling and acting as if the opposite is true. If, for example, as a child they felt worthless, when they acquired the schema, as adults they will do anything they can to be perfect. On the surface they are confident but underneath they are falling apart. Avoidance is when a person does all they can to avoid the maladaptive schema, they pretend it does not exist, they do not acknowledge it. They do this by using drugs, alcohol, become workaholics and other activities to avoid (trying to take over the world and be an evil dictator). Surrender is when a person does not fight or avoid the schema they believe the schema is true, they feel the pain directly. They are passive and choose partners that caused the schema to form in the first place (the evil sidekick is born).
This has been a long post but I hope that you have gained some new insight into creating your villains and why they are the way they are. Can you imagine the maladaptive schema your villain has what coping style does he/she use?
I have added a new page called the trampoline analogy. It is an analogy of how I view raising children. Check it out and let me know what you think.