Monday, April 25, 2011

Schema’s and Traits Part 7

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 Limits. This domain includes the Entitlement/Grandiosity and Insufficient self-control/self discipline.

This is one that we have all recognized in a few people but maybe not to the extreme. In a nutshell these people feel special. They feel they are better than others, part of an elite and as such are entitled to special rights and privileges. They try to control others to meet their own needs, without empathy or concern for the others’ needs. They are excessively competitive, snobby, dominating of others, assert power in a harmful way, and force one’s point of view on others. There is a distinction between the narcissistic and the entitled. Narcissistic are trying to cover up an underlying feeling of defectiveness while entitled were spoiled as children and continue this behavior into adulthood. The goal is to help them understand the principle of reciprocity and accept it.

Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline is characterized by people lacking two qualities: 1) self control –restraining one’s emotions and impulses and 2) self discipline – being able to tolerate boredom and frustration in order to accomplish a task or goal (like getting publishedJ They lack the ability to delay short term gratification to achieve long term goals. They do not learn sufficiently from experiences- from the negative consequences of their behaviors. In the milder forms they are people who avoid discomfort.  Typical behavior is: impulsivity, distractibility, disorganization, unwillingness to persist in boring tasks, intense expression of emotions, and habitual lateness or unreliability. The goal is to help people give up short term gratification for long term goals.

What kind of characters could we make up with these schemas? The narcissist seems easy for a villain. What about a narcissistic hero? Many of our politicians are narcissists, they almost have to be to overcome the constant battering and scrutiny of the public. What about insufficient self-control, how could a MC have this schema? What do you think?

Thanks again for all the support!! 


  1. These are both beyond my comprehension. I don't understand selfish people at all. It would be hard for me to create a narcissistic character realistically because I can't relate.

  2. Wow. A protagonist that is a narcissist? I think that a story with this type of MC would be a anti-hero story. Someone who comes to mind is from The Black Cauldron, (the book, please never watch the movie). Prince Ellidyr is definitely someone who fits that bill. If you haven't read the story, it is a good one and it shows how someone who is narcissistic can be a hero.

  3. Made me smile Josh as I know a few of these ;)

  4. I often use this sort as a comical character. Interesting breakdown, cheers.
    Moody Writing

  5. It's easy to have an attitude where one feels he is entitled to all the best there is if such a person has been pampered all their lives. I see this sort of behaviour in only children sometimes. I also see it in the nouveau riche. In Jamaica, we call people like this who behave badly, hurry-come-up.

    I see how these types of personality can make interesting storytelling.

  6. Love today's post. You really give a lot of great insight!

  7. Josh - I'm fascinated by the profiles you offer and can definitely see how understanding each one would make for deeper, better character portrayals. I do believe an MC could be a narcissist as long as he/she possesses other stellar characteristics. It would be a balancing act, but would definitely make for a colorful protagonist.

  8. I really enjoyed this post. It made me think :)

  9. I don't think I could write a character like that as I'd get too annoyed with them. Would be a challenge, though!

  10. Having been brought up not to be selfish and to think of others I don't think I am capable to write a character who is.


  11. April -it is a difficult thing to do for sure and very hard to relate to.
    Emily-I need to read the book now. Thanks for the tip.
    Mum-There are a few :)
    Brian - This is a great point of how hard they are to work with. They don't see the problem.
    Helena - YW I enjoy your blog
    Mooderino -That's a great Idea I never thought of that.
    J.L. - Thanks for the Jamaican point of view.
    Amy-Thanks I hope it is helpful.
    Lisa - I agree it would be a colorful MC. You make a good point about finding some strengths as well.
    Ivana - Thanks for the comment.
    Ellie - I would as well and we really have to get to know them to write about them.
    Yvonne - I'm glad you were brought up this way. It is hard to relate to those people.

  12. I think a MC could have insufficient self-control if it's played off lightly or in an endearing way (so that the MC is likeable)--or if the MC changes in the end of the story.

  13. What fun traits to play around with on the page - especially insufficient self control.

  14. I can relate to the insufficient self control, but I'm working on it!

  15. Have you seen Dr Horrible? The hero in that was a narcissistic hero. Quite amusing.

  16. I see you have made aquaintance with my sister-in-law.

    I keep seeing you hanging around Val the Victorian, thought I would stop by .......

  17. "This is one that we have all recognized in a few people but maybe not to the extreme. In a nutshell these people feel special. They feel they are better than others, part of an elite and as such are entitled to special rights and privileges."

    I'm chuckling because I think anyone outside of the United States would say you just described 99% of the people who live here. :D

  18. I find narcissism in real life both fascinating and irritating. I haven't yet tried to apply it to a character. This post got me thinking!

  19. Jennifer- I think change would have to be an important part of the story or the lack of change.
    M Pax-Yes I agree with you.
    MJ-Me too I really am :)
    Lynda - I haven't I better check it out.
    Kathy -Thanks for visiting I hope you come back. She makes me laugh every time.
    Lindsay - LoL that may very well be true :)
    Lydia - It can be very irritating. I agree all the comments have gotten me thinking about writing this character.

  20. We just watched Mega mind this weekend and I can totally see some these characteristics in those characters. I would have to agree with April, I don't understand people that are selfish. I mean I know I can get selfish at times, I want to do certian things at certians times but can't because of a needy little girl, :) but I don't understand how people can be in the selfish extreme! They would make a great villian!

  21. Whitney - yes that is a great example. Thanks for the comment.

  22. Elliot - I agree these traits make great weaknesses for a good story.

  23. The ability to overcome boredom to complete a task...I love that definition of self-discipline! I'm looking forward to reading your blog posts. Happy Tuesday! :o)

  24. I'm with Lynda--DR. Horrible is legen...dary. (I love Neil Patrick Harris). Also, yes, the perfect example of a narcissistic hero.

    It seems to me that "insufficient self control" describes young children...most people just grow out of it...but to judge by my house, not by fifth grade...

  25. I think these would be great schemas to have a main character overcome. I can think of quite a few examples, but they are not very well known to anyone but me, most likely. :D


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