What is Emotional Deprivation Schema?

Last Updated on December 6, 2019 by Cindy Brown

Although people who have this schema knows well that they feel lonely and bitter. They don’t know the source of it when they seek out for help.

course photo: @compassionandmylife

If you have an emotional deprivation scheme, you have an internal belief that your basic emotional needs cannot be met by important people in your life. This inner belief / acceptance may be incompatible with the reactions of the people around you. So, even if people try to respond to your emotional needs, you can perceive it as fraud or untrue. These needs include interest, love, emotional warmth, understanding, caring, guidance and so on.

There are 3 types of emotional deprivation:

Lack of interest: Feeling that there is no one to look after you, to care for you, to show physical interest, such as touching or holding you.

Lack of empathy :Feeling that there is no one to try to understand who you are and how you feel or to really listen to you.

And Lack of protection: Feeling that there is no one to guide and protect you.

Emotional deprivation is related to self-sacrifice schema.In this scheme, your priority is your needs and expectations. You feel responsible for someone else’s needs. This sacrifice is more than necessary in relationships. It is a compelling attitude that can make you feel a sense of usability over time and will make you forget your own needs.

In the self-sacrifice schema, the emotional exchange should be in a relative balance . Therefore, self-sacrifice will give you a sense of deprivation over time.

Characteristics of Emotional Deprivation Behavior

If you have an emotional deprivation schema, you do not demand your emotional needs from the people you care about.. You focus on others but say very little for yourself. Basically, you act stronger than you feel, and increase your emotional deprivation by pretending you don’t have emotional needs. You don’t expect emotional support from the other side and you can’t get it because you don’t ask for it. You may find yourself suddenly forgotten in your relationships; or you go so far away from your needs that you don’t even realize you’re forgotten.

Another trend in a small number of people with this scheme is to behave in extreme need. They express their needs very intensely histrionic (crying, fainting, etc.) in the eyes of others. According to them, there is either no interest. People in this group may have many psychosomatic symptoms (physical complaints such as headache, migraine, stomach pain, migraine). The main purpose of the emergence of these diseases is secondary gain (to attract the others interest). However, people exhibit this attitude with an unconscious effect, not consciously.

What causes this schema ?

  • Your mother or father may be cold-hearted and not show their emotions . You may not be able to cuddle enough, show physical affection .
  • In your childhood, you may not feel that you are loved and valued because of someone else who is considered more important or valuable.
  • Your mother (or father) did not provide you with the time and attention you need; not understood enough of your needs in your child world. They have not been able to engage in any real parent-child communication with you.
  • Your mother (or father) could not comfort you enough in difficult situations. Therefore, you have not learned to relieve your pain or accept other people to console you. So the pain that arises when your needs are not fulfilled becomes unbearable for you.
  • Your parent was unable to provide you with appropriate guidance or support to help you find a direction. You have never had a solid foundation in your life that you can trust. In this case, making a decision becomes a very difficult and risky process for you.

Emotional Deprivation Schema Chemistry

According to this scheme, people who are suitable for our scheme may be more attractive to us even if they have a negative impact on our lives. Accordingly, we either take people who are suitable for our scheme into our lives or behave in accordance with our scheme in our relationship.

If you have an Emotional Deprivation Scheme, you may have the following types of experiences with your relationships:

  • You do not address your needs against your partner. Either you expect him to understand you (which is not a realistic expectation), or you think that what you do after you say it doesn’t make sense.
  • You expect your partner to understand your feelings before you tell them what you are feeling. If you are not understood by your partner, you will be disappointed. This frustration may lead to resentment or anger at your partner
  • You do not allow yourself to be vulnerable.
  • This may be due to the fact that your partner does not provide you with sufficient emotional support or that you have not shared your problems with your partner.
  • You can blame your wife for not paying enough attention to you. The accusation and the negative reaction of your partner to this may lead to a deadlock.
  • Sometimes you get away, you’re closed (or run away), you’re inaccessible. This may cause your partner to move away from you and your relationship may break.
  • Your emotional needs that you cannot meet are physical complaints, pain, boredom and so on. as you can. However, you use these paths unconsciously, not consciously.

Therapy Objectives in Emotional Deprivation Scheme


The main purpose of the therapy of the Emotional Deprivation Scheme is to help you recognize your emotional needs and acknowledge that these needs are natural and human. Many of us may have alienated our natural needs for one reason or another. In this case, we cannot understand what is missing in our lives, we only experience the consequences of the lack.

Another goal in therapy is to learn how to meet our natural emotional needs in healthy ways. Choosing a spouse that can meet our needs, learning to express our needs, learning to be patient and consoling ourselves when we cannot meet our needs can be some of these ways.

Cindy Brown
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