Following on from our previous blog, we are discussing cognitive distortions or problematic ways of thinking. It is helpful to become more aware of how your mind works, in order to increase the chances of being better able to manage it. Once you know that sometimes you fall into flawed thinking, you can make steps to respond to these thoughts in a different and more helpful way.
Check out the cognitive distortions on today’s list:
Personalisation is a tendency for a person to take on too much responsibility, expecting that others’ actions are their fault. A person engaging in personalisation may also see themselves as the cause of some unhealthy external event that they were not responsible for. This cognitive distortion results in the person holding unnecessary guilt and being self-critical. For example, a person who regularly personalises might say “Why aren’t you happy? Is it because of something I did?”
We hold other people responsible for our pain, or take the other track and blame ourselves for every problem. For example, “Stop making me feel bad about myself!” Nobody can “make” us feel any particular way — only we have control over our own emotions and emotional reactions.
Shoulds, Ought to’s & Musts
We have strict rules about how others and we should behave. When people break the rules we feel angry, and we feel guilty when we violate these rules.
Strong emotions tend to colour our understanding of ourselves and the world. With this distortion, we believe that what we feel must be true automatically. It is the assumption that strong emotions reflect the way things really are — “I feel it, therefore it must be true.” For example, feeling angry might be understood as “I’m an angry person”.
Fallacy of Change
We expect that other people will change to suit us if we just pressure or cajole them enough. We need to change people because our hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them.
Always Being Right
We are continually trying to prove that our opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is almost unthinkable and we will go to any length to demonstrate that we are right. Being right often is more important than the feelings of others.
If you find some or most of these thinking errors apply in your daily life, perhaps it may be helpful to book a consultation appointment with one of our Clinical Psychologists. To book an appointment click here.
Part 3 to follow soon…..