Happy Good Friday all!
Today I just wanted to tell you about the Self-Soother which is a coping mode within Schema Therapy. It comes under the Detached Protector mode in which you cut off from your thoughts and feelings, feel numb and bored as a way to cope with difficult situations.
As I understand it, at its very basic level, it is a form of behaviour to stop the mind from dwelling on painful thoughts, to block emotions and to protect ourselves. It often leads to addictive behaviour: drinking, gambling, sexual promiscuity, over-eating. Or, in my case, under-eating. Counting calories in my mind (often instead of counting sheep – I couldn’t sleep without doing it) and timing my eating over drawn out periods for me was “me time”. It started when I was in a controlling relationship: before my partner woke up and started making his demands on me, I could have breakfast and the time was just mine. The longer I took, the more time away from him I had. He could tell me what to wear and how to speak, but he couldn’t control what food I put in my body. Then it became a way to avoid having to start the day, start working, talk to other people. Eventually it became so necessary to me that other meals became involved and eventually I always wanted to eat alone and take at least an hour whatever I was eating. My life became controlled by this routine and anyone who got in the way of it had to be dismissed. So, as you see, it stopped being a very useful coping mechanism and just ended up being part of an illness that destroyed my life.
OK, so parts of this still affect me now. I’ve not 100% let go of some of my controlling behaviours and repetitive thoughts. Or I end up self-harming instead because I can’t find another way to distract myself from the painful emotions. So now I’m trying to find new methods. Reading has always been a saviour for me. It’s distracting but not harmful. Eventually though I need to find a way to man up and just face the emotions and feel soothed organically. And I am beginning to thaw. I’m beginning to get peculiar emotions come through. I guess I’m still afraid of how I’ll deal with it, what the feelings will be and what they’ll teach me about myself, but, at nearly thirty, I think it’s time I gave them a try.