I’m really struggling not to go back and update my Unrelenting Standards posts but I still haven’t despite realising things I wanted to add to it, so I will mark that as a small victory before I talk about the punitiveness schema.

I have decided to write about this schema as I am feeling particularly low and have a desperate urge to self harm. I have not been left alone all day as my boyfriend and parents are well aware of how I feel.

Young’s definition of the punitiveness schema is:

The belief that people should be harshly punished for making mistakes.  Involves the tendency to be angry, intolerant,  punitive, and impatient with those people (including oneself) who do not meet one’s expectations or standards.  Usually includes difficulty forgiving mistakes in oneself or others, because of a reluctance to consider extenuating circumstances, allow for human imperfection, or empathize with feelings.”
The above purely applies to me, not to anyone else making mistakes. I have only ever taken any anger I have out on myself. As you can probably tell this schema closely relates to the two schemas I have already discussed (defectiveness and unrelenting standards) as I feel that if I cannot meet the standards I set myself I must be punished and also punished for being defective in general. It is often confusing as I feel that I deserve this horrible feeling and the symptoms of POTS because I am not perfect and cannot be the perfect daughter, girlfriend, friend. I deserve the pain and if I’m not feeling enough pain I need to cause myself more.
I would say I have a higher level of patience for others than most do, I am incredibly forgiving and tolerant of others and always look for the positive in people, no matter what they have done. As mentioned in my unrelenting standards post I do not give anyone else the high standards I set myself and will focus purely on the positive aspects of their personality or successes.
I can never forgive myself for any mistakes I have made in my life. I am haunted by all my mistakes, I can remember each and every one in detail and it replays and replays. If I lose something or something breaks or a voucher expires without me using it it never leaves me. It adds to my feelings as a failure, a let down, stupid. I can’t forgive myself. I shouldn’t forgive myself. If I think how I’d feel if another person had done any of that I’d of course forgive them, they are completely trivial matters, but to me I feel as if I truly betrayed people. I am not allowed to make mistakes. I am so imperfect, I am so flawed, I am so defective.
This weekend I have felt a dreadful sense of guilt as I am fortunate to have a wonderful father when a lot of people don’t. I have done nothing to deserve such a good father when others are incredibly wonderful people but have missed out on the love, care, humour, intelligence and support a good father provides. I therefore sensed the need to punish myself as it brought home the realisation that I was getting something good when others weren’t and I had done nothing to be entitled to this. I was also feeling incredibly low, my POTS was bad and I had menstrual cramps so generally felt rough. I therefore couldn’t help with organising Father’s Day to the extent that I wanted to. This needed to be punished. I couldn’t afford a decent present for my dad so my mum gave me some chocolates to give him. This also needed to be punished.
There have been other factors this week where things have gone wrong when I have had good intentions and this has become something that has kept ticking over in my brain, as I cannot fix it I need to be punished for it. I feel that by keeping myself thinking of it is a form of punishment as I feel the pain of it, however, the pain I feel does not make up for the pain others feel so I am at a loss of how to punish myself further.
I know it’s not a new feeling I began self harming as a teenager, even before that I recall walking through the city in heels on my way to meet friends and the balls of my feet were burning and thinking “I deserve this pain”.
Today, I want to self harm, however, doing this, if my boyfriend or mum found out would hurt them so I am stuck.
For now I will just keep thinking the fact I feel the pain that I feel and these thoughts in my head are a form of punishment along with the symptoms and pain from POTS and EDS. It certainly explains things to me that can’t otherwise be explained.
I’m sorry that this post doesn’t flow well, I didn’t realise how strong this schema was for me until I began writing. Hopefully I’ll be able to work through all the schemas on here soon and a pattern will develop that shows how they are all intrinsically linked.
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