Emotional Alchemy

Emotional Alchemy
by Tara Bennett-Goleman


·        Discussion of mindfulness

·        Schemas

o  Maladaptive mind states – when emotional schemas have negative impact, lead to neurotic solutions to fulfill basic needs/wishes, they are self-defeating.

§  Reactions to schemas can be appropriate, but when they no longer work they are maladaptive

o   Core conflict has three parts; each has a wish/need, a typical response the person anticipates and the person’s typical reaction to that response.

o   Schemas in close relationships (partner, family, friends):

§  Abandonment: reactions to loss, being alone stirs sadness and isolation feelings. Resulting fear and panic are signature emotions. Anxious attachment. Mindfulness that they will be all right on their own and have inner resources to meet their needs

§  Deprivation: core belief is “my needs won’t be met”, will never be understood or cared for. Strategies can be too intensely trying to get needs met, never naming their needs, distancing. Mindfulness of your need for nurturance, your tendency to distort how you interpret other’s actions, start to communicate your needs clearly.

§  Subjugation: core belief is “it’s always your way, never mine”, one’s own needs never take priority. Resentment and anger are hallmark emotions. Strategies of overeager to please, avoid commitment,

surrender, inability to set balance of what is expected of them. Mindfulness to be in touch with resentment, being controlled, begin to name and state own wishes/needs.

§  Mistrust: core belief is people can’t be trusted, emotional hallmark is quickness to anger/rage. Strategies are

suspicion of all, shies from trust & relationships, idealizing then turning against a person. Mindfulness to be aware of mistrust.

§  Unlovability: core belief is “I’m not lovable”, feeling of being flawed at the core, defective. Hallmarks are shame and humiliation. Strategies are capitulation, rebellion, low self-confidence, distancing, bravado/arrogance. Mindfulness to challenge the thoughts that amplify faults and self-doubt, be more realistic of your strengths.

o   Schemas in the larger world (work, school, community):

§  Exclusion: “I don’t belong”, how we feel about our status in a group. Self-fulfilling strategies are staying on the

edge of group, anxiety in group, lonely.

§  Vulnerability: loss of control, exaggerated fear of catastrophe, worry becoming dysfunctional when it over generalizes. Strategies of overly conscientious for safety, hypochondriacs, over preparation, need for reassurance.

§  Failure: feeling of being deficient despite’s one’s accomplishments, feeling like a failure underneath it all, deep self doubt and anxious sadness (similar to unlovability schema).

§  Perfectionism: a sense of failing no matter how hard you try, sadness at not being accepted for who you are but how well you do, expecting too much of ourselves, focusing only on what’s wrong, self-critical.

§  Entitlement: feeling so special they are entitled to do whatever they want, place themselves above others but still feel inadequacy or shame which is covered by narcissism.

o   How schemas work and interact

·         Using mindfulness with schemas

o   Breaking the chain


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