Lifetrap descriptions (life traps / schemas)

18 LIFETRAPS

Abandonment Abuse
Approval seeking Defectiveness
Dependence Emotional depriviation
Emotional inhibation Enmeshment
Entitlement Failure
Insufficient self-control Pessimism
Punitiveness Self-sacrifice
Social isolation Subjugation
Unrelenting standards Vulnerability

 

SUBJUGATION

You feel that you need to please your loved ones, friends, colleagues and even strangers. You do not want to be tricky, but nice and comfortable, so you easily agree to things that do not seem to be particularly important to you. You may find it difficult to stand for yourself in both small and large matters. You let others control you more or less, because you want to avoid unpleasant consequences. You do not openly express your needs, because you do not see them important enough. You hide your anger to evade a conflict. However, the suppression of anger leads to accumulation of anger inside of you, which is usually dissolved either in a passive expression of anger as a small-scale revenge, gossip, slowing down, whining; or surprising aggressive temper tantrums. Anger can give rise to the desire to rebel and defy those who you consider as authorities (e.g. managers, spouse). You may attract people who are dominant and bossy, who will decide for you on how to act, behave or feel.


EMOTIONAL ENHIBATION

You have difficulty expressing your feelings and emotions spontaneously. You are embarrassed to express positive feelings of affection or caring to other people. You believe that emotions are better to be withheld and it is better to control yourself, especially in the company of others. You probably have a lot of accumulated anger and resentment, which has not been openly expressed. You may feel that you are like a pressure boiler that could erupt at any time, therefore you are trying control your feelings. In generally, you trust more your reasoning and logic than your emotions.
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FAILURE

You think you are doomed to failure, as if you are lacking some essential skills or abilities. You may have learned to avoid challenges or difficult tasks in the fear of failure. You might believe that you do not know enough or you are not able to do something, and that is why you are not taking tasks seriously. You might compare yourself to others and consider yourself a failure, inferior, or less talented than others. You think that the others have been more successful, and you do not appreciate your own achievements - there is always someone who has succeeded or done better. The effect of this lifetrap can be seen especially at the workplace. You might avoid career progress, taking challenges, promotion, committing or taking initiative. You may be trying to compensate for the feeling of failure with perfect performance and accuracy. The belief of being a failure will increase with each experience of failure.
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ABANDONMENT

Fear of loss of controls your life - you are worried about being left alone. You believe that your loved ones will die or leave you one way or another. You fear being left alone and will probably stick to your close people, but at the same time expel them from you – your worst fear is like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Loss of fear induces a lack of confidence that comes out as control, possessiveness and jealousy. Addictions can be a coping mechanism for solitude making the anxiety seem more bearable. You will experience the the normal severance situations of relationships distressing and you do not feel confident that the relationship would last any breaks. You easily make wrong interpretations of other people’s intentions, based on which you may overreact, like when someone is not answering your call or text. Although the relationship is stable, it feels only temporary - as if it were constantly at stake. When you get desperate you might threaten with separation, as if to test your expectations - will the relationship come to an end this time. Losses you experience strengthen your beliefs that you can’t find any lasting relationship.
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APPROVAL SEEKING

It is important for you that all people like you, even strangers. You strive to please other people. Even if you would not like some person, you want that he or she likes you. You may make decisions thinking how your parents, your partner or your friends accept them. You may be afraid to do things on your own way, because you are afraid that might be accused or criticized. In a group you are trying hard to belong and you might transform yourself, depending on what you think others want from you. You hope that you would be liked, and therefore you aim to avoid conflict or hurting other people. You do not put forward your own opinions in fear of rejection, or you present strong opinions to test how others accept you. You may dress in a very conservative or acceptable way not to feel yourself different from others and to avoid becoming an outsider. You make a lot of effort in ensuring the people would appreciate you. You might acquire success, achievements, status, wealth or beauty, so that others could appreciate you. It is difficult for you to appreciate yourself for who you are, rather other people are a mirror of your dignity.
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ABUSE

You fear that other people will hurt, cheat, be violent, abuse or take advantage of you in some way. You probably don't feel confident and safe but rather you see threats in in your relationships. It is usually hard for you to trust other people. You might have doubts about the intentions of others and you believe they will deceive you one way or another, sooner or later. You will not let anyone get close to you and you do not dare open up to in your relationships. You are careful and you may test whether other people are worthy of trusting. However, you may be attracted by people who are abusers and you let others treat you badly. Repeated emotional experiences of exploitation tend to confirm the lifetrap. This eats out your self-esteem, and you find it hard to get out of a relationship where you are mistreated.
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ENMESHMENT

You feel that you are so enmeshed with your parents or partner, that you no longer know who you are. It is hard for you to disagree with the parents’ or partner's opinion, so generally you agree with them. You may feel that your parents or your partner live through you, as if you do not have your own life at all. You do not know what you want, what you need or what you feel yourself, everything is enmeshed with the other. If there is something you don’t tell your parent or your partner, you will feel guilty because it can offend or hurt the other. You have not been able to become independent enough of your parents.
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ENTITLEMENT

You view yourself as special and therefore legitimate for non-standard operating procedures. Your needs are more important to you than the needs of others. You are demanding and controlling toward others, and you want to do things the way you want. You have difficulty accepting resistance when you want something. You want to make sure that you get what you want, how you want and whenever you want. You get bored easily; the routine tasks are just not for you - you should not have to do them. You may break the law or the rules - for example, speeding in the traffic, by cheating in commercial transactions or taxation - because you believe that you entitled to do so. You like how you feel with this lifetrap, therefore, you may not see your own behavior as problematic, but people close to you see and feel it. Before long, however, may get you into trouble because of your selfish behavior. You may get into a relationship with a partner that you can dominate and mistreat. This lifetrap offers in many cases compensation for another lifetrap – usually defectiveness, emotional deprivation, social alienation or subjugation.
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PESSIMISM

You are a pessimist, and you pay more attention to negative than positive things in life. You tend to worry a lot about future events or situations. If things seem to go well, it seems only temporary. If something good happens you’ll expect that something bad is going to happen next. You fear that you may make wrong decisions that can lead to a crisis or a disaster. You worry about mistakes and therefore you aim to be as careful as possible.
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PUNITIVENESS

You are very hard on yourself and punish yourself if you act incorrectly. You are often angry at yourself and criticize yourself for your mistakes. You might think feel guilty or ashamed of how you've acted. You may be angry at yourself because you are sometimes weak, sentimental, or needy. If something bad happens to you, you might think that it was deserved, and you do not need sympathy or compassion. You may also be punitive to those around you. Your children may get an earful if things do not go as you please. You find it hard to forgive yourself and others you do not accept excuses too easily.
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DEPENDENCE

You feel that you are somehow unable to take care of yourself. You do not trust your own judgment. You need, therefore, other people to support you and to take care of you. You are dependent on friends and family - you are not an independent adult coping on your own. Probably you are still in close contact with your parents, who affect your life dramatically. Making decisions is difficult for you, you might be asking for advice and confirmation from others; you would change your mind many times, and still be unsure of your decision. You might avoid responsibility, initiative and challenging situations. You feel anxiety and despair if you have to take more responsibility than what you feel capable of having. Perhaps the only chance for you to survive is to team up with a strong partner, which will eventually make you even more dependent on others.
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INSUFFICIENT SELF-CONTROL

You are impulsive, you give your impulses the control of your life. You find it hard to concentrate for any length of time, because your mind creates impulses and would like to do something else. You have difficult time trying to control your emotions and your mind. You do not always think about the consequences of your actions, which will put you in to problems. You may run into problems with the authorities. Your life is more or less in chaos. You may find it difficult to express your anger constructively, which results in raging and other inappropriate behavior. Self-discipline and lack of boundaries can easily lead to addictions: drinking, smoking, excessive eating, sex addiction, internet addiction or other problematic behaviors. You start projects on a whim, but they are often left half-finished, and you have a number of them going on at the same time. In working life, your impulsiveness can lead you to repeated failures when you do not reach your goals. In relationships you may alienate people close to you with your behavior. You might feel drawn to demanding, systematic, and discipline people who bring a counterbalance to your lack of discipline.
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VULNERABILITY

You are often scared and feel insecure. You worry excessively about your health, accidents or financials. You might choose a partner who is strong enough to protect you from the risks. You suffer from anxiety or panic attacks; you are constantly more or less anxious, which makes it difficult to enjoy everyday life. You might rely on addictions in order to facilitate anxiety. You strive to ascertain that you are safe. Therefore, you have learned to evade risks: elevators, cars, travelling in the city or abroad, investments, or career opportunities; you would rather stick to the old which is familiar and safe. Fears are limiting your life and your loved ones who have to adapt to your fears. Constant worry and risk avoidance further enhance the feeling of vulnerability.
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EMOTIONAL DEPRIVIATION

You feel that no one will or can satisfy your need for love and care, and probably you feel often that no one really listens and understands you. You might avoid love relationships, relationships tend to be short or you protect yourself with falling in love with a person who is not available. You might fall in love with cold, rejecting and inhibited persons. Something in them attracts you strongly. Relationships often end after the high expectations with bitter disappointment. Perhaps the great desire that your partner will change and someday be able to fulfill your needs keeps you in relation with an unsatisfying partner. You might expect that the loved one should be able to read your mind and automatically satisfy your needs for affection and intimacy. You may not have ever considered expressing your needs, on the other hand you may withdraw from or be hurt if one is unable to meet your need for feeling loved. Repeated deprivation confirms the beliefs that you will never find a life partner and you will never get the love you need.
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SELF-SACRIFICE

You've learned to pay attention to the needs of others and your own needs can easily be left aside. If you put your own needs first, is likely that you feel guilt. You sacrifice your own needs so that you don’t have to feel guilty about the fact that you have not noticed enough the needs of others. You sacrifice your needs voluntarily, simply because the needs of others are above your own. You are empathetic by nature, and do not want others to feel any discomfort, you'd rather feel it yourself. You are strong and take a lot of responsibility and support the well-being of others. It easy for you to be compassionate and understanding towards others. You are usually listening to other people’s problems and you tell about yours just a bit.
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SOCIAL ISOLATION

You often feel anxiety in social situations and it makes you avoid them. You feel different and therefore not fitting in. With new people you feel uncomfortable and nervous and you do not really know what to say. You might be nervous about the situation and afraid of getting into the spotlight. Feeling anxious you are wondering what others might think of you. When you are upset you are unable to use your social skills, so you will feel insecure and withdraw. You may be accustomed to avoid social situations to the extent that it seems quite natural - but at the same time you need inside a closer contact with fellow human beings. In a group you may pretend you're more like the others and you want to give a good impression of yourself. You might get into working positions, which does not require a lot of interaction. In Close relationships you'll feel more confident and calm - you can be more truly yourself. The repeated experience of being an outsider makes you avoid more and more unpleasant social situations.
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UNRELENTING STANDARDS

You are highly demanding on yourself, although you will probably see your standards quite reasonable. You feel that you have to do something all the time, to get results, be efficient and keep things in order. You can’t be happy with yourself if you do not meet your requirements. Nothing ever seems to be sufficient; there is always something worth pursuing. The feelings of inadequacy, failure, inferiority and shame lurk nearby and strike hard if you can’t reach your requirements. You strive to avoid these unpleasant feelings, and it causes you anxiety and stress. Stress may arise in various physical symptoms - insomnia, fatigue, high blood pressure, ulcer or panic attacks. You find it hard to relax and just enjoy life. You may be mostly frustrated and irritated with yourself and others. To you, life is performing, and you believe that at the end it will bring to you a prize - freedom or perfection. The achievements, however, feel empty after all and you need to look for the following tasks and challenges. If you choose to succeed at something, you will probably succeed - however, you can’t stop to enjoy the success. Maybe you neglect your friends or loved ones - because you do not have the time to relax and give your time to the others.
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DEFECTIVENESS

Your existence is characterized by worthlessness which is based on the belief of defectiveness. You might talk about yourself with a degrading tone; you are critical, harsh and angry at yourself. As if you would have within you something shameful and disgusting, which needs to be kept hidden. Probably you hide your problems and mistakes, and avoid talking about them not to fell shame. You have to keep the real feelings and thoughts in secret, you do not want to others to see you as a sentimental or a needy human being. You present to people other than you really are and at the same time you are afraid of the disclosure. You are sensitive to criticism and critique, which may make you angry. Maybe you attack against your feelings of inferiority by being critical and dismissive of others - including your partner or your children. You may feel attracted to critical people who further increase you feeling of worthlessness.
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