What is Dependence/Incompetence Schema?


Dependence and incompetence schema is a psychological term that describes the tendency for people to feel incompetent in many areas of their lives. This feeling typically stems from traumatic experiences, such as those related to abuse or neglect during childhood, which can make it difficult for someone to trust themselves and others. 

What is Dependence/Incompetence Schema?

Dependence and incompetence schema is a psychological term that describes the tendency for people to feel incompetent in many areas of their lives. This feeling typically stems from traumatic experiences, such as those related to abuse or neglect during childhood, which can make it difficult for someone to trust themselves and others. 

Dependence / Incompetence is the basic attitudes of people with schemas are childishness and vulnerability. Without others’ help, they experience problems such as making decisions, separating right and wrong, solving everyday problems, and managing money. That’s why they feel passive and helpless, looking for someone to support them around and do things for them. In this article, we will discuss some schema therapies, like what is dependence/incompetence schema, how is dependence/incompetence schema work, and some other details about dependence/incompetence schema.

The two basic elements of the Dependence / Incompetence schema are inadequacy and dependence. Inadequacy refers to the inadequacy that a person feels in the face of problems, and dependence refers to being dependent on someone or someone who will help him/her solve this deficiency. Parents, partners, friends, bosses, or even therapists can feel addicted. The basic idea of ​​this schema is that ”I’m incompetent, so I need others.”

If you have an addiction/inadequacy schema, you would probably not come to therapy for the sake of being more independent or more resourceful. You’re more likely to be looking for a magic pill or an expert to tell you what to do. As a problem, you show more anxiety, depression, physical symptoms, or the fear of being abandoned by the person you are dependent on can make you depressed. Your goal is to eliminate the aforementioned problems rather than change your core feelings like dependency and inability often.

dependence / incompetence

Characteristic of Dependence Schemas

  • If you have an addiction/inadequacy schema, you might need a lot of help from others, ask a lot of questions when dealing with new tasks, seek advice repeatedly about your decisions, may have difficulty traveling on your own and managing your finances, you can refuse additional responsibilities (such as a promotion at work) and avoid new tasks and easily give up in case of problems.
  • Driving alone can be difficult for you. Because you worry about getting lost, dealing with car breakdowns.
  • You reduce your achievements and increase your shortcomings.
  • Avoid being alone and embarking on new adventures on your own.
  • Having trouble making your own decisions.
  • You may have fears or phobias that you don’t face.
  • You’re unaware of practical functions and daily life skills.
  • You may not have lived on your own in any period of your life.
  • You can avoid making important decisions and making breakthroughs in your life. In this way, you will not be dependent on others; but you can’t do what you need to do.

The above symptoms can develop in the opposite direction. Even if you feel inadequate from the top to the bottom, you claim that you can do anything on your own. You don’t trust anyone for anything. But inside, you always have a strong feeling that you will not succeed this time.

what is dependence/incompetence schema? 2

Roots of Extreme Protectionism


Your family may be overprotective and treat you as if you were younger than you are, and your parent may have made the decisions you need to make.

Your parent may have taken care of all the details in your life. So you may not have learned to take care of yourself.

You may have been given little or no liability, your parent may have done your homework.

You may or may not have been separated from your family at all. You may not have felt that you have a separate identity from your family.

Your parent has over-criticized your skills and ideas in everyday work, you may be confused by giving too much advice and instructions when starting a new business.

Your parent has provided you with such a safe environment that you may not have experienced serious rejection and failure until you leave home.

Your parent may have many fears and may have warned you of the dangers.

Origins of Vulnerability

You may not have received enough guidance and guidance from your parent.

For one reason or another, you may have to make your decisions alone (even if it exceeds you).

You may have to behave like an adult in the family, even though you feel deep inside.

You may be expected to do and know things older than your age.

Schema Chemistry

The concept of Schema Chemistry refers to the reflection of the self-sustaining characteristics of schemas (the most basic, negative psychological structures) to our attitudes/relationships. According to this schema, people suitable for our schema may be more attractive to us even if they harm our lives. Accordingly, we either take suitable people for our schema into our lives or behave following our schema in our relationship.

The dependency/inadequacy schema is one of the schemas in which the schema’s chemistry is most important. Because they often choose strong, protective, and dominant people who can look after them as spouses or friends. These relationships created with schema chemistry cause the schema to continue. Because one does not have to decide and do business, he can never be aware of their capacity.

People with addiction schemas tend to choose more resourceful partners. They want their spouses to be with them in every environment. This situation may cause anger with drowning feeling after a while.

Your partner may never be scared, insecure, and vulnerable about himself.

You trust your wife’s ideas more than yours. He makes the most decisions.

You’re losing your own self with your wife.

Your partner pays for everything, and he keeps all the financial records.

When you start a new job, even if you do not have the knowledge nor experience about it, you always ask your partner’s opinion.

Therapy Objectives in Addiction Schema


The main purpose of the addiction/inadequacy schema is to increase one’s sense of competence and to reduce dependence on others.

If you have this schema, you can stop trusting yourself, make important decisions, avoid mistakes, and take risks due to therapy. You can make your relationships with others more addictive and more functional. 

Last Updated on October 18, 2021 by Patric Johnson

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Currently studying psychology and researching cognitive behavioral therapy. Also have studied comprative literature,interested in gender studies,.

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