What are Inflexible Standards?

Many times we hold onto ideas, beliefs and even rules because they provide us with a framework of security and give us peace of mind. However, this set can go hard and waterproof. Therefore, we would be faced with inflexible standards.

These standards, which seem to have to be respected to the last consequences, even at the cost of our well-being, can harm us. Let’s analyze it.

Schema Therapy as a framework

J. Young, in his schematherapyexpresses it people develop a way of interpreting the world during their childhoodto explain reality. Patterns are ways of thinking about yourself and about others.

They are made of memories, emotions and bodily sensations. They repeat throughout life.

However, sometimes, they turn into early maladaptive schemata (EPD), being dysfunctional for the person. These schemes arise in response to unmet emotional needs, which are related to secure bonds, autonomy, freedom of expression, spontaneity and limits.

Young postulates the existence of 18 schemes, distributed in 5 categories. Within these categories, there is excessive vigilance and inhibition, in which the following dysfunctional patterns are found:

  • Negativity and pessimism.
  • Emotional inhibition.
  • Inflexible standards.
The woman thinks with rigid standards.
Ways of understanding ourselves and the world constitute our mental patterns.

What are Inflexible Standards?

Inflexible standards are rigid performance that meets strict internal regulations. They often involve sacrificing well-being and happiness just for the sake of respecting them.

Also, people with inflexible standards are those who find it difficult to incorporate a point of view that differs from their own. Especially when it contradicts your own standard.

It is difficult for all people to change in relation to certain problems. However, there is a downside when we become completely rigid in our thinking. This prolongs the difficulty of finding the solution to a problem.

Of course, in the same situation, two people can have different patterns. Resolution depends on many other factors, including temperament and background conditions. For example, in cases of perfectionism or OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), there is a predominance of this rigid cognitive style.

Characteristics of people with inflexible standards

Among the main characteristics of people with inflexible standards are the following:

  • They have a low tolerance for frustration.
  • They have a tendency to self-criticism acute.
  • There is an exaggerated respect for the rules.
  • There is an orientation to hide emotions and feelings.
  • They respond to demanding models. They are governed by a sense of duty.
  • They’re closed, it is difficult for them to change and adapt to circumstances. In general, they tend to stay in their comfort zone.

Some studies and scientific theses have tried to establish the possible relationship between the dysfunctional patterns of childhood and adolescence (including inflexible standards) with current and future behaviors. So, a research in Peru postulates that aggression is more frequent among young people with dysfunctional schemas. In this same country, in the 15-17 age group, inflexible standards have been found to have a high prevalence: 66.4%.

Consequences of inflexible standards

To understand how hard standards affect a person’s life, let’s look at an example.

The main consequence of having inflexible standards is that Opportunities, both business and economic, are lost. Because it costs so much to innovate and think “outside the box,” creativity suffers.

Sometimes people with these patterns often experience difficulties in interpersonal relationships. Their restrictive and rigid way of being and thinking prevents them from taking responsibility for changing some things or accepting others.

It is also true that they have difficulty relaxing. They are very critical, so it is also a problem to connect with the enjoyment of present situations.

Mental schemes are also capable of modifying the physiological functioning of the organism. In women with inflexible standards, an increase in the amount of the hormone cortisol was found in the blood. This increase can have several health consequences, as it is associated with elevated cortisol levels sleep disturbances, increased risk of dementia in aging, obesity and insulin resistance.

A woman of perfectionism and uncompromising standards.
The pursuit of unattainable perfection hinders the enjoyment of moments and relaxation.

Question mandates to make our responses more flexible

The decisions we make should try to follow a trend towards balance, towards what happens in the middle and not at the extremes. Rigidity, many times, is the cause that we cannot find a way out of problems. Therefore, we repeat the same dysfunctional solutions over and over again.

Conversely, the flexibility it allows us to adapt to new situations and move away from mandates. We understand that we can try other strategies.

Faced with such hermetic styles of thinking, it will be very important to start by questioning those pseudo-truths, those internal mandates that hinder change. THE cognitive therapy and schema therapy can contribute in this sense.

The post What are inflexible standards? first appeared on research-school



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