I’m weird and I don’t belong: the social isolation/ alienation schema

Do you feel like you don’t fit in, that other people don’t warm to you? Do you tend to assume that you are weird and so different that you won’t be welcomed into a group? Or that you don’t belong anywhere?

The social isolation/ alienation schema is very common and develops out of a number of circumstances.

Perhaps your family wasn’t inclusive and accepting of who you were.

Maybe you had difficulty making friends or were bullied at school

Perhaps you were raised in a community where you felt fundamentally not accepted due to differences in temperament, race, ethnicity, sexuality or disability issues.

Belonging and acceptance are core emotional needs.

This makes the social isolation/ alienation schema is a very painful schema and can lead to social anxiety and chronic loneliness.

Even when you have friends and people show signs of warming to you and that they like you when this schema triggers it can try to convince you that you are fundamentally different and once people get to know. You may fear the pain of rejection and therefore put a wall up and make it impossible for the person to continue to befriend you.

In schema therapy, we work on healing the painful messages, memories, and feelings associated with this schema that are held in the vulnerable child (little you). We help build the Healthy Adult to reassure your little self that you are likeable and can belong. Your therapist may also help you to build social skills that have been under-developed due to long term chronic social anxiety and avoidance behaviours.


  • Nadene van der Linden

    Nadene van der Linden is a Clinical Psychologist, Accredited EMDR Consultant and Therapist and Advanced Certified Schema Therapist. Nadene has a special interest in trauma and uses active therapy approaches including schema therapy, EMDR, and chairwork therapy techniques. Nadene is a Board Approved Supervisor and supervises and mentors psychologists and other mental health therapists. Nadene offers online training for therapists at nadenevanderlinden.com

    http://schematherapycollective.com support@nadenevanderlinden.com van der Linden Nadene