Posted by: Judy | June 15, 2015

Schema rethink 2

2. MISTRUST / ABUSE – The expectation that others will hurt, abuse, humiliate, cheat, lie, manipulate, or take advantage. Yes, though I’m learning better to not expect this from everyone.

It isn’t an unreasonable expectation when it’s happened over and over again.

Like the first one, it’s overcome with practice. I suspect practice is a common factor with all the schema. First, I had to choose to change, and then I had to start practicing.

What I found works best:


What a surprise.

I practiced having little boundaries. Not spilling my guts as soon as I meet people. I’ve wondered why I did that. I came to realize that survivors often do this. Why?

Some things I’ve come up with: I was attempting to be honest and upfront. I didn’t understand that telling everything isn’t healthy, not for me and not for my listener.

I practiced holding things back. When I started, it was stupid little stuff, the kind of stuff you could tell. I gave myself permission to start somewhere.

I’m able to look back now and see that I was attempting to establish boundaries. I was going about it backwards. I’d lay everything out and attempt to pull back. It took a lot of practice to learn to give a little bit and a little bit more and a little bit more.

It was hugely helpful when my counselor explained that I didn’t have to set boundaries with healthy people. They have healthy boundaries, too, and respect the healthy boundaries of others. Eye opener.

Again, as I developed healthy boundaries I also learned to recognize other people’s unhealthy boundaries or lack of boundaries at all.

I also had to learn to trust myself, which, of course, required practice.

Then there are those people who think it’s funny to fool their friends, to tell tall tales, to lead people along. I’ve never been able to see it as funny. Why would anyone want to make someone they care about look stupid? I had to accept that it wasn’t my job to correct them, which didn’t mean I was required to go along.

I also had to give myself permission to interfere. It required a judgment call to determine if it was fun between friends or if someone was at risk. Sometimes I made the right call; sometimes I didn’t. I don’t regret either, but I’ve worked hard to become more discerning.

Perhaps a huge game changer for me was when I was a sign language interpreter. I was there as a language facilitator; I had no voice regarding anything else. I thought mistakes were being made, but I didn’t have the right to say anything. I couldn’t sit back and say nothing. The only option was to walk away. I chose to walk away. It was a clear cut case of isolating in an effort to give better opportunities but was failing miserably. How often had I done that to myself? Isolated myself in the hopes of improving my situation.

I don’t regret my decision to stop dating, twenty years ago. I didn’t have healthy boundaries. Now that I have healthier boundaries, I haven’t started dating, but I am interacting with more people, learning how to have healthy friendships.



  1. I’ve shared more too and then found it backfired. I went back and forth with not sharing even stuff that was okay to share. I still struggle. I have found also the reverse happening. That some people overshare with me. And that could be an indication but only an indication. It is what comes after that tells more, if abuse and manipulation follow.

    I find myself in a similar situation as you today. Now that I have healthier boundaries I have stopped isolating myself. I re-joined a social group at the beginning of this year. It was a group I stopped attending about a year ago prior. At that time I didn’t know if I could truly interact with ‘new’ people. Somehow having boundaries (even if it isn’t perfect) has given me enough courage to attend the group’s activities regularly. Cheers to us!

    • It was freeing to know that if others overshare with me I’m allowed to back away, to take care of myself.

      Good for you!

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