There a common mistakes that our mind makes that tricks us into a downward spiral of out-of-context reactions.
Often times, how we perceive an interaction can a result in faulty thinking and over thinking. This creates a chain reaction of:
Distorted thoughts –> physical body sensations –> intense emotions –> out-of-context response.
This can often explain of the extreme mood swings in personality disorders, anxiety disorders seen in emotionally sensitive individuals.
The chain reaction can happen in a matter of seconds and can be baffling to those in the line of fire.
For those who have faulty thinking tendencies and those who are recipients of them from others. Identifying the ones that pertain to you can help you change or process the chain reaction and identify the pattern of faulty thoughts.
Here are some common categories and examples:
ALL OR NOTHING THINKING:
- Thoughts about self. Either I am well, or I am despairing and want to die.
- Either I am an all-good or an all-bad person.
- Either I am beautiful or I am ugly.
- If I have a good day I am successful, positive – if I have a bad day I am worthless and self shaming.
- These thoughts are often at opposite ends of a scale with no middle ground. Also described as black and white thinking – no grey area.
- Assuming you know what others are thinking.
- Usually assuming the thoughts are bad; people don’t like me.
- If you don’t get a quick enough response, Ex. a text, you assume they are mad and you must have done something wrong.
- You repeat a conversation over and over in your head (or something you said) and read into it, to the point of regret or assume you have been judged.
This can lead to constant checking in with people if they still like you, or apologizing for what you said thinking you did/said something wrong.
- Predicting the future – usually negative; If I do this ____, than this ____(bad thing) will happen . . .
- Thinking you will somehow embarrass yourself, have a panic attack or see someone you don’t want to see.
This can lead to isolation, avoidance and agoraphobia.
This can also set you up for failure before you ever try, resulting in never trying at all and nothing ever changing for the better.
THINKING WITH FEELINGS:
- This is when, if we feel something strongly, it must be true.
- “I feel worthless, therefore, I am worthless”
- Something negative happens, then you make it a general rule – Someone betrayed me so ALL people are untrustworthy.
- You have a bad experience and you hold a belief and make a rule – Ex. “No one is trust worthy”
This is inflexible thinking, and prevents you from seeing the good in yourself or others. It promotes negative thinking and expectations.
DISCOUNTING THE POSITIVE:
- Having a filter that denies the positive. When something good happens you deny it and suggest a negative motive or reason.
Ex., You have a friend that visits you or phone’s you daily, but you conclude that he/she is doing it out of guilt and feel unworthy.
You have a hard time accepting praise or compliments.
- Relating everything to yourself.
- Ex., Someone laughs loudly or has an unhappy expression on their face; you assume it’s because of you.
Constantly taking things personal and stuck in self blame.
- Comparing yourself to others portrayed in media, either celebrities or other people you may know on social media.
- Comparing not only ones appearance, but lifestyle and accomplishments. Ex., job, money, travels, marriage, kids, popularity or how happy others appear.
This prevents you from seeing your own successes, accomplishments, and positive life aspects – only feeding into more discontentment with yourself, loss of identity and self-esteem.
- Always foreseeing the worst possible outcome even when there is NO EVIDENCE that it may be that way.
This lack of evidence is also described as irrational thinking. There is no rationalization, reasonableness or realistic ideas/thoughts. Usually based on abstract fears of failure, rejection, abandonment.
This thinking also gives your power over to others and leaves with you with feelings of no control over yourself, your life, your environment.
- Using one single event to give yourself a Permanent label. If you didn’t do something well you label yourself as “bad” “useless” or “inadequate”.
This does not allow for mistakes or room to learn and grow. Excludes having compassion for error or encouragement for to try again.
People with these tendencies are often described as neurotic, worry warts, too sensitive, moody, even crazy.
Can you identify or relate with any of the common distorted thinking patterns?
Do you believe that not everything you think/feel is true? Can you admit that your perception maybe a lie in disguise and come from a deeper more fundamental source, perhaps a past trauma?
Can you choose to change the way you think? The answer is yes!
Keep healing, keep growing, keep finding your truth.