Posted by: Judy | September 17, 2015

Schema 16…

16. EMOTIONAL INHIBITION – The excessive inhibition of spontaneous action, feeling, or communication — usually to avoid disapproval by others, feelings of shame, or losing control of one’s impulses. Yes. Improving.

Again, yes, this is something I learned to do in order to survive. When you’re not allowed to have your own feelings because the narcissist/abuser=N in your life needs you to reflect them in order for them to feel right, yeah, there isn’t enough room for your own feelings, too.

When spontaneity is punished because the N doesn’t want to deal with surprises not of their making, yes, you bury it, too.

Guarding your tongue is a must because the N doesn’t want to hear anything they don’t like, approve, and/or have orchestrated themselves. Again, to give them the sense of rightness they need.

The fact that survivors work to avoid disapproval of others isn’t about the others it’s about the habit developed in order to survive the N. The world revolves around the N. The N will use others to help maintain control. A survivor doesn’t always know who is on the N’s side and who doesn’t know them. It only takes one surprise connection to teach the survivor to treat everyone the same.

As to the feelings of shame, well, DUH! Survivors are shamed in order to be controlled. It’s a terrifyingly effective tool.

Losing control of one’s impulses can end in horrific punishment.

Again, how does one change? Practice, practice, practice.

For me, the change started with accepting my emotions. Oddly enough, it started with watching the movie Fellowship of the Rings, end of 2001.

My sister invited me to see the movie. I didn’t want to go. I had already decided that they probably jacked up the title and put a new story under it and wouldn’t be recognizable as the story I’d read and loved in middle school. She offered to pay. Free movie, with popcorn, who was I to turn that down?

After the prologue, the opening shot is the Shire. It was exactly as I’d imagined. Over and over and over, Peter Jackson shared the story I loved. Yes, there were differences but enough similarities that I recognized the story. There were moments that startled me and scared me. It was the first time I understood why people liked being scared. It was a good kind of scared, safe. I knew it wasn’t real, but it was also the appropriate response for what happened. How cool was that? I got it!

I gushed. I raved. I hunted for everything LOTR. I joined the Official Fan Club and interacted with other LOTR fans. I finally found people like me, a place where I belonged.

Unfortunately, my emotions were out of control. I was flooded. I didn’t know what to do with them all. Too often my emotions had more control than I did.

I considered my options: I could learn to control them or turn them off again.

It was only a few months after 9-11. I’d promised to live life more fully. God jumped right in on helping me embrace my promise. Turning off the emotions was not living life fully. Shut up. Buck up. And learn self control.

I bumbled and make mistakes. I hurt people. I discovered that sometimes I could feel one way and disagree with my feeling, which is why I don’t trust those who play on feelings. I worked hard to feel everything and not allow it to overwhelm me. Practice. Practice. Practice.

I loved the quote I heard/read a number of years ago:

Follow your heart but take your brain along.

So yes, the schema is an unhealthy way of coping. It is a learned behavior. It worked when it was a matter of survival, especially for a child without coping skills. It’s still survival for me, but I’m an adult now, and I’m learning healthier ways of dealing with the behavior that taught me to use the schema in the first place.




  1. Ah, man, only recently I’ve come to realise how much I “edit” myself. I didn’t know this had a proper name 😉 You make a good point that change must start with accepting one’s emotions. I drew inspiration from your experience with The Fellowship of the Ring and I’ve been practicing allowing myself with tv programs and films I’m watching. It’s been interesting and surprising, and I’m still learning. Thank you so much for sharing this (and the photo too, I love the reflection of the water) 🙂

    • Glad to hear my experience has helped!

      I love how the reflection is so clear in rain-covered cement. It isn’t even puddles, simply wet.

  2. I think that is why I like to be around little kids, I don’t need to edit myself.

    • 🙂

    • You edit yourself more than you realize. There are stories you don’t tell them.

      • That’s true but I don’t need to explain myself. I just am.

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