What is Failure Schema? 8 Main Characteristics

The Failure Schema is a structure in which you have an internal belief that you are absolutely unsuccessful. If you have a failure schema, you have an internal belief that you are not successful compared to others (peers) in areas such as careers, money, status, education, or sports.

When you compare yourself to others, you perceive yourself as stupid, incompetent, incompetent, ignorant, low level, less successful than others, or naturally lacking success. It may be a real failure or perceive yourself as a failure despite your real successes. In this article, we will discuss Failure Schema and its therapy objectives.

failure schema

What is Failure Schema?

Failure schema is a coping mechanism that people use to deal with the fear of failure. It can be seen as a type of mental defense, where we tell ourselves that we will not fail and if we do it’s because something was out of our control.

Characteristics of Failure Schema

  • You do not take the necessary steps to develop skills in your career field. For example: finishing school, following developments in your field, or getting support from someone experienced. You try not to attract much attention or to deceive people.
  • You have chosen a career well below your potential or what you can do. For example, even if you are a university graduate and have the opportunity to work in your field, you prefer driving a taxi.
  • You avoid taking the necessary steps to promote your chosen career. For example, you refuse to accept or request promotions, do not promote yourself, or make sure that the assessors know their capabilities.
  • You are afraid of taking the initiative in your business or making decisions independently. Therefore can never be promoted to positions that require more responsibility.
  • Although you are objectively successful, you feel that you are basically stupid or incompetent. That’s why you feel like you’re fooling people.
  • You despise your talents and achievements, but you overestimate your mistakes and weaknesses. Although you are as successful as your peers, you tend to feel unsuccessful.
  • If you have developed an overcompensation mechanism to deal with the failure scheme, you may work hard to compensate for this belief, even if you believe you are not as smart and talented as others. However, you will often feel fake even if you are quite successful.
  • Failure has become a self-fulfilling prophecy for you. You will realize the results that will confirm your faith in your life.

What might be the reason?

  • Your parents can be extremely critical. At school, sports, etc., your parents (usually the father) have always had a critical attitude about your performance.
  • Although it may be difficult for you to accept, your parents may have harassed you. This may have led you to develop a flawed scheme.
  • Your mother, father, or both were very successful. You also thought you could never meet their high standards. That’s why you stopped trying.
  • You felt that one or both of your parents didn’t care about your success. You may even feel threatened when you succeed. Your parent may have been in a race with you, or they may be afraid to lose you when you are very successful.
  • You weren’t as good as other kids at school or in sports. Maybe you had a learning disability, a lack of attention, or a coordination disorder. So you may have stopped trying to avoid feeling humiliated.
  • You came from a foreign country; your family was an immigrant or moved to another location. And they were less educated and poorer than your schoolmates’ families. You felt down from your friends and believed that you could never match them.
  • As a child, your parent did not set the limits you need. You have not learned self-discipline and responsibility. You have not had the habit of doing regular homework and working skills necessary for success. In the end, this brought a life of failure to your life.

Reflection of Failure Scema in Your Relationship

Just like other schemes, in the failure schema, your schema affects your partner selection.

If failure is a schema experience for you, you can get partners to make your life feel unsuccessful. In general, you may have recruited very successful, exemplary people with high standards. In this case, as long as you are with him, you will feel successful. Sometimes you perceive it as a success to have someone very successful in your life.

Conversely, you may be choosing even more unsuccessful partners than you. By feeling successful with your partner, you are protecting yourself from the feeling of failure within you.

what is failure schema? 8 main characteristics 2

Therapy Objectives

The main goal in the therapy of the failure scheme is to help you feel and be as successful as your peers within your own skills and abilities. We can gather therapy goals in three points:

  • Your first goal is to increase your level of success by helping you build skills and confidence.
  • The second goal is to help you realize the value of your level of achievement if you are successful within your potential and to evaluate your peer group perceptions realistically.
  • The third goal is to help you accept the irrevocable boundaries of your abilities, feeling that you are valued as a human being.

Finally, we can say that the sense of failure may be associated with other schemes such as inadequate self-control, imperfection, emotional deprivation, and fairness. This will identify the underlying schema of your failure and work with you on it.

Last Updated on December 10, 2022 by Lucas Berg

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Cindy Brown

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