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If you agree with 5 or more of these statements then it's likely you have unrelenting standards.
- 1No matter what I do I always feel there just isn't enough time..
- 2I feel stressed and pressured most of the time.
- 3I need everything to be done to very high standards.
- 4I have to feel that I am the best in terms of performance.
- 5I rarely switch off and relax - it feels like such a waste of time.
- 6My relationships suffer because I push myself and work so hard.
- 7I tend to drink more than I should because I just can't switch off.
- 8There always seems like there is more to be done.
- 9My health is starting to suffer because I am so wound up all the time.
- 10I get quite irritated and annoyed easily.
How this schema affects our lives
Unrelenting standards affects us emotionally in a big way. We are constantly stressed and pressured. We feel that there's never enough time and there's always something to be done.
We have high internal standards of how things should be and we are constantly trying to meet them. Because we rarely achieve the perfection we want, we have a tendency to feel very irritable, agitated, annoyed and angry.
We can also feel deep feelings of shame and inadequacy when we fail to reach the often impossible standards we set for ourselves.
Because of the constant stress, we are prone to a range of health issues. The constant adrenaline from being revved up all the time takes its toll on our cardiac system putting us at risk from heart disease and cardiac arrest. Even if we think we have a healthy lifestyle - if we have stress hormones constantly surging though our bodies, no amount of exercise and healthy eating will protect us.
When stress hormones are activated, our immune system is suppressed leaving us susceptible to diseases such as cancer and auto-immune conditions.
Unrelenting standards prevents us meeting the following emotional needs:
Connection and intimacy
It's hard to be in a relationship with someone who has unrelenting standards because they are rarely present - either physically or emotionally. Even when they are around they are thinking about what they have done and what they still need to do. It's the schema that leads to workaholism and also often alcohol dependency as there is no way the person can switch off unless they use some kind of mind-numbing substance.
If the unrelenting standards is directed at others, it is hard to be around as people tend to feel that they are never measuring up.
Relaxation and spontaneity
With this schema we can never fully relax and be present in the moment - so we miss out on having fun, feeling joy, satisfaction, contentment and the experience of feeling fully alive and engaged. Because of this, we are susceptible to feelings of emptiness, loneliness and depression in the long term.
This schema is very common in people who are very successful in their careers - they have pushed themselves so hard but when they finally achieve success - it doesn't feel satisfying. They have totally neglected their emotional needs.
Where it comes from.
This schema tends to develop in families where value as a person was equal to how well we do in certain areas.
Very little importance was placed on emotions, having fun, connecting to others and relaxing. Emphasis was placed on performance and doing well.
If you have this schema then you would've got 'love' and attention when you did well in a certain area of your life.
It also comes from families where there was a lot of criticism and very little praise so you never felt that you had done well enough. You grew up feeling that you could always have done better.