I don't quite remember how I stumbled across Jeffrey Young's, "Early Maladaptive Schemas," but it is something that I found immediately helpful and, since then, I have been using it more than any other session aide in my work with clients.
Dr. Young's summary stems from Schema theory which asserts that there are 18 common self-defeating patterns which can manifest during childhood that stem from unmet basic emotional needs. These can result in unhealthy coping patterns including surrender, avoidance, overcompensation and lead to suffering.
Which one of these has gotten a hold of you?
I usually send new clients a link after the 1st or 2nd session and follow up with them at the next appointment. I have yet to find someone who doesn't relate to at least one of the schemas and often they relate to several.
The reason I consistently go back to these ideas is that everyone was a child at one point and everyone did whatever they could do to survive (i.e. get their emotional needs met or cope with not getting them met). By reviewing the schema list, clients have an opportunity to begin to make sense of why they do what they do and why they feel what they feel. Almost every time, clients and I can draw direct lines between the schema(s) they identify with and the issues that have brought them to therapy.
I invite you to take a look to see if this helps you to understand yourself a little bit better. Depending on what you discover, I encourage you to consider following up with a counselor to figure out how you can begin to free yourself from the schema that is putting limitations on your life.