Abandonment Scheme and Vicious Circles in Relationships

Abandonment Chart and Vicious Cycles

When a baby is born, it needs the care of another to survive. A person who does not receive consistent care in early or childhood periods and whose needs are not adequately met cannot internalize the perception that “He will be there for me when I need it”. He develops a belief that relationships will end sooner or later, that there is no unconditional love, that one day he will be abandoned and left alone. This stereotyped belief may be caused by separation from the caregiver, mother or father (depressed, in hospital, parent in different cities, divorce, death…).

Develops various strategies to cope with this anxiety. Either he will leave before he is abandoned, or he will do his best to prevent the other person from leaving, or he will isolate himself from relationships. Let’s take a closer look at these strategies:

  1. Extreme Compensation: It gives messages to the partner that he/she can leave at any time, not that he/she is with him/her under all circumstances. There is a threat, the word easily brings separation. Makes the other person feel alert at all times. Thus, it strengthens the skeptical and controlling attitudes of the partner. (It’s over then, if you don’t do this, I don’t exist…) There is a ‘feeling of worthlessness and abandonment anxiety’ in a relationship rather than Unconditional Acceptance and Secure Attachment.
  1. Submissive: There are skeptical and controlling attitudes. (Where?, With whom?, Why didn’t he answer?, Is there someone else?…) A teacher-student relationship…like partner who will feed these concerns, express that he does not think of a serious relationship, live far away, have age difference, from the same workplace. can make choices. He may also engage in self-compromising behaviors. There is a ‘feeling of worthlessness and abandonment anxiety’ in the relationship rather than Unconditional Acceptance and Secure Attachment.
  1. Avoidance: People avoid relationships and isolate themselves from such issues.

Times change, places change, names change, but the scenario always stays the same. The person chooses the partner who will confirm their belief and continues to use the coping styles learned in the past. He cannot find someone who will be there when he needs it, who will calm him down, give him confidence, and accept him unconditionally. At the end of the day, they relive the same feelings of neglect, worthlessness, loneliness, and similar anxieties. The vicious cycle continues in this way.

In this context, Schema Therapy enables the person to become aware of their own schemas, to see their real needs, to meet them in harmonious ways, and to acquire new skills.

exp. Ps. Damla Yalcin Gurkan

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