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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Styles of Distorted Thinking

Source: -- Adapted from Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy, 1980, David Burns M.D.

Filtering – You take the negative details and magnify them while filtering out all positive aspects of the situation.

Polarized Thinking – Things are black and white, good or bad. You have to be perfect or you are a failure. There is no middle ground.

Overgeneralization – You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or other piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again.

Mind Reading – Without their saying so, you know that people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to tell how people are feeling about you.

Catastrophizing – You expect a disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start, “What if’s?” What if a tragedy strikes? What if it happens to you?

Personalization – You think everything people do or say is some kind of a reaction to you. You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who’s smarter, better looking, etc.

Control Fallacies – You feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate. The fallacy of internal control makes you feel responsible for the pain or happiness of everyone around you.

Fallacy of Fairness – You feel resentful because you think you know what’s fair but are sure that other people won’t agree with you.

Blaming – You hold others responsible for your pain, or else you blame yourself for every problem or reversal.

Shoulds – You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act or feel. People who break these rules anger you and you feel guilty if you violate them yourself.

Emotional Reasoning – You believe that what you feel must be true automatically. If you feel stupid or boring, then you must be stupid or boring.

Fallacy of Change – You expect that others will change to suit you if you just pressure or cajole them enough. You need to change people because your hopes and happiness seems to depend on them.

Global Labeling – You generalize one or two qualities into a negative judgment. When you make a mistake, instead of describing your error, you say, “I’m a loser.” If someone irritated you, you label them, “He’s a louse.”

Being Right – You are continually on trial to prove your opinions and actions are correct.

Heaven’s Reward – You expect all of your sacrifices and self-denial to pay off, as if there was someone keeping score.
Credit for selected readings are given if known. If no credit is given, the author of the piece is unknown. If you know to whom credit is due, please email me and I will make the necessary changes to give credit to the author.

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