Do you ever find yourself following a certain train of thought, without consciously deciding to go down that path, that takes you to a sad or upsetting conclusion? It’s an automatic process and we are usually completely unaware of our distortions and how they affect our lives. But it can be a scary place.
If so, CBT Therapy can help you! CBT is based on the belief that a distressed or disturbed person can demonstrate so-called maladaptive thinking and distorted processing – meaning we don’t adapt to or deal with a particular situation or issue in a positive way, and instead end up thinking the worst...even though there's no reason to do so.
But when we stop and recognise some of our thoughts are not based on reality but on negative distortions, we can facilitate the change process.
Let’s look at some of the negative-thinking traits that we can all be prone to. If you feel that any of the below ring a bell, you can change this by identifying the problem.
· All or nothing thinkers: Placing experiences in one of two opposite categories. Something can only be good or bad, right or wrong. Its either flawless or defective.
· Catastrophising: We believe and imagine that the worst is going to happen. We cannot see the wood from the trees and we are in despair. Everything is closed, and everything is heavy!
· Overgeneralisation: We can make some wonderfully exaggerated statements here. For instance, we can suggest that we cannot control our temper, when in fact we have only lost our temper a couple of times.
· Discounting the positives/Mental filtering: This is when it’s a case when we only notice what our mental filter will allow us to notice. Here we can discount the positives and chose to favour the negatives. For instance, someone says “Wow, what a great day”. Rely – Yeah, but it’s not going to last, as it never does!
· Jumping to conclusions: This informs our judgements. For instance, we can always be in a negative world in this place as we decide what we want to decide, rather than what’s in front of us.
· Fortune tellers: We always know something bad is going to happen before it happens.
· Mind readers: We assume that we know what the other is thinking of us and the world around them and give it a negative slant. For instance, she didn’t say my new dress looked nice, so she must think it’s horrible and I look horrible in it.
· ‘Should’ statement people: This is where we tell ourselves that we “should be” doing A, B or C. For instance, “Yeah, the house is nice, but I should have had more by now. I should have had a bigger house”.
· Labelling: This is a two-fold whammy! For instance, we can label someone, and it can stick to them like glue. For instance: “You will never amount to anything” (bullies use this tactic regularly). We can also internalise and label ourselves: “I can’t do this, as I’ve never been able to cook and now I am having a dinner party. I’m useless!”
· Emotional reasoning: This is where we can feel that something is true because it feels like it is true. For instance, I know he or she is going to leave me, not because they are angry or anything else, I just feel that they are going to leave me.
· Critical Self: This is the internal critic and she/he loves to criticise themselves. Always self-blaming, putting themselves down. They feed off ‘rubbish thinking’. For instance, the self-critic is always thinking the worst of themselves, they are never good enough. It’s not a nice place to be at all. If you cannot like yourself, you will never allow others to like you either. It’s a Catch-22 situation, as the self-critic will always beat you, blame you, and push and hint of confidence away from you. The self-critic will feed of your self-doubt and insecurities.
THEN LAST BUT NO MEANS LEAST:
· Inappropriate Blaming: Using hindsight’s to determine what you should have done, even if you could not have known the best thing to do at the time. To be in this mode is a no-win situation as you will always ignore mitigating factors and can ignore the role that others play in a negative experience or event. For instance, you go on a long overdue holiday and the neighbours cat got run over the days that you used to care for him. You would blame yourself – because if you did not take that long overdue holiday the cat would still be alive and kicking. It would be great to kick that negative and inappropriate blaming out of your life, but you need in now more than ever as this is your automatic thinking process.
All the above form a hard, but automatic part of your life. It’s been with you, but you're not even aware of it most of the time. It can be hard to let go of any safety net, after all – its been with you on particular journey of your life.
Many people I see in most of the categories above are also ‘YES, BUT’ personalities too. An example of this is when I am working with them and there is a movement forward, which I might add is a positive. Then out of nowhere the ‘YES, BUT’ arrives: YES, BUT what if this and YES BUT if that?
I can only say this: Whatever brought you here is because what you have been doing is not working for you anymore. Let me walk beside you and help free you from this negative pattern of behaviour. Let me walk beside you while you make the changes necessary to make your life a little easier than it has been’!!
If you feel that any of the above has rung a bell, you can change this by identifying the problem. CBT Therapy can help you!!
Remember: To know the problem is to solve the problem.