Social Isolation Schema

Individuals who experience some form of disconnection or rejection may develop one or more of these five schemas: abandonment, mistrust/abuse, emotional deprivation, defectiveness/shame, and social isolation.

We may all occasionally feel like we do not fit in with the people around us. If you have developed a social isolation schema, you may experience a persistent sense of isolation, feeling different from other people, not fitting in with social groups close to you, and/or not being part of a community.


When activated, this schema may understandably trigger withdrawal and avoidance of social groups, resulting in a loss of connection with those around you. It can also evoke anxiety when faced with large groups of people or meeting strangers. In particular, it is accompanied with pervasive feelings of loneliness and can have a significant impact of people’s identity formation. The true need behind this schema is to be understood and have a shared connection with others who have had similar experiences.



Here are some questions to think about if you are considering whether the social isolation schema resonates with you:

Do you feel different from other people around you?

Do you struggle to find a group that you feel truly understood by?

Do you struggle to find a group that has had similar experiences to you?

Do you feel like you are a loner?

Do you feel alienated from other people?


If you generally answer no to most these questions, you are unlikely to have developed the social isolation schema. If you think the social isolation schema applies to you, start observing how it manifests in your daily life. Recognition is key to changing patterns that stop you from achieving your goals.


To find out more about your own personal schemas, book a consultation with Dr. Terrighena on (852) 2715 4577 or e.terrighena@mind-balance.org.

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Dr Esslin Terrighena - Psychologist in Hong Kong

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