Cognitive Distortions – Intro (Part 3)

vcxcognitive distortions 

B & W thinking makes me feel safe!

PREVIOUS: CDs Intro (part 2)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

WHY are CDs so ‘appealing’
? It’s not enough to say they’re a familiar & very longstanding mental habit. This is true physically (see previous post re. the brain), but the other piece is psychological / emotional – they provide the Negative Benefits which keep them in play.
• Some CDs provide a misguided sense of stability. Since our childhood was chaotic, unpredictable & dishonest – the rigid absoluteness of many CDs makes it seem that we have something concrete to rely on for ‘guidance’
• other CDs reinforce our WIC’s grandiose sense of responsibility for everything that happens to us & around us
• some keep us so confused by their incomplete info & incorrect conclusions that we can stay in a mental fog without having to figure out what we believe or need
• others keep us enslaved to our self-hate & harmful people or situations

And ALL of them maintain a ‘black-hat’ connection to our dysfunctional past. Using CDs of any kind means we don’t have to think for ourselves, & so never have to S & I, or become responsible for our own freedom!

CDs are profound MISUNDERSTANDINGS about:
a. Other people’s motivations (He didn’t call me again because I’m boring)
b. The meaning or importance of one particular event  (I didn’t get that job so I’ll never be able to do what I love)
c. The likelihood that a similar circumstance will happen again (No one talked to me at that event so there’s no point in ever going there again)
d. The outcome or consequences of a particular situation  (Since I can’t learn a foreign language, I’m ever going to be able to travel, even tho I’d love to)

1. ALL or NOTHING THINKING (Splitting)
Always see things in black/white,  either/or categories

Take isolated cases & use them to explain everything, seeing a single negative as a never-ending pattern of defeat

Focus on specific negative or upsetting aspects of an event, while ignoring other available positive aspects

Continually de-emphasize or shoot down positive experiences, rejecting the positive ones by insisting they don’t count

Make decisions & arguments based on ‘intuition’ or some emotional feeling rather than on objective evidence or rationale

Seeing oneself as the cause of some negative external event – which one has or had no control over – while not actually being responsible for it

Make a negative interpretation of an event, even though there are no facts that convincingly support your conclusion
a. Mind Reading –  Arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting to / talking or thinking about you negatively, without checking it out with them
b. Fortune Telling – Anticipate that things will turn out badly & are convinced that what you ‘perceive/ feel’ is absolutely right

Distort the importance of qualities or aspects of a situation (or memory) by making it more OR less than the experience really was, so that it no longer correspond to reality
Depressives  – Likely to over-estimate the value & under-play the faults of others
Catastrophizing  – Exaggerate & then focus on the worst possible outcome of an event, however unlikely, or think a situation is unbearable / impossible, when it’s  actually just uncomfortablestratification

Try to motivate oneself with words like ‘should, shouldn’t, must, ought, need to, have to’ , as if having to whip oneself into action
a. When using this on oneself, the emotional reaction is usually guilt
b. When using it on others, the reaction will often be anger, frustration & resentment, possibly oppositionalism

a.  Labeling – Explain events or people’s behavior using an absolute & unalterable negative word, instead of looking at a situation objectively.
b. Mislabeling – describing something in dramatic, overblown language that’s emotionally loaded

✧ The deeper layer is the accumulated emotional pain from childhood – rage, sadness, loneliness, terror, disappointment, shame, intense frustration…  These are old/new painstored in our muscles, cells, organs, meridians… & need to be processed out via a variety of techniques, includes rage-work, primal therapy…
Present day painful emotions which are generated & maintained by negative thinking patterns. The more we reinforce our Cognitive Distortions (CDs),  the more unhappy, anxious & depressed we are likely to be

NEXT: CDs – Info & the Brain (Part 1)


2 thoughts on “Cognitive Distortions – Intro (Part 3)

    Make decisions & arguments based on ‘intuition’ or some emotional feeling rather than on objective evidence or rationale

    I pretty much live here. I am so happy to see this in the list of CD’s. Now I don’t have to give it so much power over me – because it’s a CD. Who knew?


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