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 a new domain called the Impaired Autonomy and performance. The next two schemas we will look at are Enmeshment/Undeveloped self, and Failure.
Enmeshment/Undeveloped self is when a patient is so fused with a significant other it is difficult to see where the person’s identity begins and ends and the significant other’s identity begins and ends. The significant other is usually a parent or a parent figure, such as a partner, sibling, boss, or best friend. The person with this schema does not have a fully developed self or normal social development. They feel as if they can not survive emotionally without the other or that the other can not survive without them. They feel as if they are one person with the other. They feel as if they are drifting in the world because of the undeveloped self. They do not know who they are. They are overcome with guilt if they do try to separate from the significant other. The goal is to help this person express their spontaneous natural selves rather than suppressing their true selves.
The failure schema is when a person believes that they have failed relative to their peers in areas of achievement such as career, money, status, school, or sports. They feel fundamentally inadequate compared to others and that they inherently lack what it takes to succeed. There are two directions this can go. One, the person surrenders to the schema and do everything halfheartedly or two, they overcompensate and become an overachiever. The overachiever is often successful, yet still feels fraudulent and unsuccessful. Many times failure has become a self-fulfilling prophecy in their lives. It is important to help these people feel confident and to succeed within the limits of their true abilities. It is important to help them see their limits and still feel as if they have value.
Have you ever seen Psycho? That is a very good example of Enmeshment at the extreme, in fact he is so enmeshed that he actually becomes his mother. What is a good example of the failure schema? How can we incorporate these characters into our books to add depth?