There are several different domains that schemas fall into. The first domain is Disconnection and Rejection. Within this domain are the Abandonment, Mistrust/Abuse, Emotional Deprivation, Defectiveness/Shame, and Social Isolation schemas. I will not be able to go into huge amounts of detail for each schema but just a little of what they look like. I am getting my information from “Schema Therapy a Practitioners Guide” by Jeffrey E. Young, Janet S. Klosko, and Marjorie E. Weishaar. Today we will be looking at the first two schemas.
People who have a high abandonment schema are always feeling like they are going to be abandoned or lose people close to them. They believe that these people will leave them in many different ways, from death to leaving them for somebody else. A person with an abandonment schema will be constantly looking for signs that show that they are about to be abandoned. These people are highly anxious about losing people. People with this schema need to learn to be more realistic about the stability of relationships.
Mistrust/Abuse schema is characterized by people who believe others are going to take advantage of them and lie to them. People with a high mistrust/abuse schema do not trust others and are on the constant lookout of people taking advantage of them. They are very guarded and suspicious of others. These people do not share their thoughts and feelings and do not get close to others. Those who have overcome this schema have learned to distinguish between those people they can trust and those they can not.
In better understanding these two schemas we can begin to visualize challenges that our characters are trying to overcome. In my first novel I write about a boy who flees his home as a young child and feels abandoned by his parents. Throughout the novel he is learning that he will not be abandoned by those around him and even that his parents did not abandon him. He learns to trust and love and to open up to those who are trying to help him. He then is able to not only rely on others, but in his own inner strength.
How have you, or can use these schemas to create motivation in your characters? Challenges? Stories?