This 10-minute Quiz can Fix your Relationships.
Updated: Jul 12, 2022
Yes, rather click-bait title, but trust me on this, it'll really help.
A relationship is an intimate dance between the insecurities of two people.
Whether at a conscious or subconscious level, each of us bring a whole range of past fears, hurt, pain and expectations into our new relationships.
They help us to make judgments about potential partners, as to whether they are a suitable candidate to fulfill our emotional needs enough.
They are also at work in our current relationships, helping to determine whether our partner loves us enough, makes us feel safe enough, is around us enough, or whether we ourselves are enough for them too.
We call the sum of these fears, hurt, pain and expectations our Self-Stories, or Schemas.
They form the narrative of who we are as a person. They tell a story of our past pain, and how we can prevent ourselves from ever being hurt again.
Our Self-Stories are really there to protect us. They have survival value. They sound out warning bells whenever there is a threat to our emotional needs - forcing us into action.
Yet they are also what gives rise to our insecurities in our relationships - telling us the story about how we vulnerable to other people, and whether we or our partners are enough.
There are 10 types of Self-Stories or Schemas that are at work in your relationships.
I've shared a detailed explanation in my article Are these 10 Self-Stories affecting your Relationships? but here's a summary below:
"I cannot be loved" or Defectiveness Schema
"People will abandon me" or Abandonment Schema
"People can't be trusted" or Mistrust/Abuse Schema.
"The people around me are not enough" or Emotional Deprivation Schema
"I can't settle for good enough" or Unrelenting Standards Schema
"I don't feel like I belong" or Social Alienation Schema.
"I feel helpless without someone in my life" or Dependency Schema.
"My relationships will fail" or Failure Schema
"My partner should fulfill my needs first" or Entitlement Schema.
"I don't really know what I want" or Subjugation Schema
In a short while, I'll introduce you to a free quiz that assesses which of these Self-Stories or Schemas are at work in your relationships.
But first, do let me share how we use this understanding to improve our relationships.
Becoming aware of your Self-Stories is the first step.
One self-story or schema that often arises in my personal relationships is that of Abandonment - or the story that "People will abandon me".
As to how it came about, it is the result of my childhood experiences, i.e. the early passing of my mother when I was young.
Her missing presence deprived me of feeling secure in my relationships. It made me think that other people could disappear easily, just like my mother did.
As a child growing up, this schema has its uses.
When I felt that people were pulling away from me or when I was not getting the love and attention I needed, I could kick up a fuss about it and let my loved ones know.
I could also distance myself from people who were not good for me - such as keeping relatives who were emotionally distant at an arms length, or friends who might not be in it for the long haul.
Schemas don't really go away as we grow up.
We continue to carry them with us throughout our lives. Sometimes they lay dormant, but they'll inevitable come up again as we get close to someone.
Since our Schemas are like hyper-vigilant alarms that are always looking out for us, they issue us with many warning signs every time our relationships are in jeopardy.
After all, relationships are very important to all of us aren't they?
Still, with my "People will abandon me" schema at work, I was affected by the smallest of criticisms, or signs that my friends or partners might not care for me.
Due to the fear that they might abandon me, I would sometimes cause an outburst at times, or lash out at my friends and romantic partners.
Sometimes I chose to isolate myself too, I thought it was better to be on my own than to be vulnerable to others.
As you can imagine, it wrecked havoc in my early relationships. It often made me feel lonely.
If I never became aware of my schemas or self-stories, I would probably have chased away all my friends and perhaps never got married to my wonderful wife.
I could very well have ended up as a forever lonely hermit.
What Schema/s are affecting your relationships right now?
When we are unaware of these stories we are more likely to engage in behaviors that create a self-fulfilling prophecy and reinforce these beliefs.
We end up behaving the same way as we always have, making us caught up in an ongoing cycle of unhealthy conflict with our partners.
Knowing what Schemas are at work can provide you with insight into your relationship patterns and dynamics, as well as what can help you become more effective in your relationships.
So go ahead.
At the end of the quiz, you will get a score of your top self-stories or schemas. Take note of the ones that you score "high" on.
*Please do note that this quiz is purely for your educational purpose and not for you to self-diagnose yourself with a condition. If you have questions on this or would like to learn more, do feel free to email me to arrange for a chat.
After that, your first Homework is this :)
In the next few days, pay attention to when your Schemas are activated.
Ask yourself these questions:
Where do you think the origins of your Schema come from?
What triggers them in your current relationships?
How do you feel when they are triggered?
How do you react to your partner when the insecurity from your Schemas arises?
Knowledge and awareness is the first step.
In the next few articles, I'll share more about how we can handle them more effectively too, and take our relationships to a healthier place.
Thanks for reading this article. May you be aware of your insecurities and keep your relationships happy. Take care friend, Hernping.