When couples argue, they generally can’t agree on the facts of what occurred. Furthermore, our mind tricks us based on what we believe, believe, and feel. These are cognitive distortions that cause us unnecessary pain.
If you suffer from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or perfectionism, your thinking can skew your senses. Cognitive distortions reflect faulty thinking, frequently stemming from insecurity and low-self-esteem. Negative filters distort reality and can create stressful emotions. Thoughts awaken feelings, which in turn trigger more negative thoughts, creating a negative feedback loop. If we act on our distorted perceptions, conflict ensues that can give rise to unintended negative consequences.
Being able to determine cognitive distortions builds our capacity to be mindful.
1. Negative filtering
5. Black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking
6. Negative projections
Self-criticism is the most pernicious aspect of codependency and low self-esteem. It distorts reality and your perception of yourself. It can make you feel guilty, flawed, and insufficient. Negative self-talk robs you of happiness, make you unhappy, and can result in depression and illness. It contributes to negative filtering, which itself can be regarded as a cognitive distortion. Self-criticism produces to other distortions, such as magnification and labeling, when you call yourself an idiot, a failure or a jerk.
Shame underlies destructive or chronic self-criticism and causes many cognitive distortions. You might find fault with your thoughts, words, deeds, and look, and perceive events and yourself in a negative way that nobody else would. Some beautiful and successful folks see themselves as unattractive, mediocre, or failures, and can’t be persuaded otherwise.
Magnification is when we exaggerate our flaws or responsibilities. We can also inflate negative projections and potential risks. It’s also called catastrophizing, because we’re”making mountains out of molehills” or”blowing things out of proportion.” The inherent assumption is we won’t have the ability to handle what will happen. It’s driven by insecurity and nervousness and escalates them. Another distortion is minimization, when we downplay the significance of our attributes, abilities, and positive thoughts, feelings, and events, like compliments. We might magnify someone else’s appearances or skills, while decreasing our own. If you’re in a group sharing, you may think everyone’s pitch was better than your own. Stop comparing. It’s self-shaming.
Shame also underlies personalization. It is when we take personal responsibility for things over which we have no control. We may also blame ourselves when anything bad happens as well as take the blame for things that happen to others – even when it is conducive to their own actions! We can wind up always feeling guilty or like a victim. If you are plagued with guilt, it may be a symptom of toxic shame. Take steps to analyze and free yourself of guilt.
Do you think in absolutes? You’re the very best or the worst, right or wrong, good or bad. When you say always or never, it is a clue that you may be thinking in absolutes. If something goes wrong, we feel defeated. Why bother? “If I can not do my entire workout, there is no point to exercise at all.” There is no gray and no flexibility.
Life isn’t a dichotomy. Situations are unique. What applies in one instance may not be appropriate in another. An all-or-nothing attitude can enable you to overdo or overlook opportunities to enhance and gradually reach your goals–how the tortoise beat the hare. Exercising for ten minutes or only some muscle groups has big health benefits, compared to doing nothing. There are health risks to overdoing, as well. If you believe you have to do everybody’s job, work overtime, rather than ask for help, you will soon been drained, resentful, and eventually, ill.
Self-criticism and shame create anticipation of rejection and failing. Perfectionists also distort reality by assuming negative events or adverse outcomes are more likely to occur than positive ones. This creates tremendous worry about failing, making mistakes, and being judged. The future looms as a dangerous threat, rather than a safe arena to explore and enjoy our lives. We may be projecting the unsafe home environment from our childhood and living as if it were happening now. We will need to recruit a loving parent within us to shine the light of consciousness on our fears and reassure ourselves that we’re no longer powerless, have choices, and that there’s nothing to fear.
Overgeneralizations are statements or opinions which go beyond the truth or are broader than specific instances. We might form a belief based on little evidence or only 1 example. We can jump from”Mary does not like me,” to”Nobody likes me,” or”I am not likable.” When we generalize about a group of people or sex, it’s usually untrue. For instance, to say”Men are better at math than girls,” is false because most women are better at math than many guys are. When we use the words,”all” or”none,””always” or”never,” we likely are making an overgeneralization, based on black believing. Another overgeneralization is when we project the past onto the future. “I haven’t met anyone dating online,” so,”I won’t ever,” or”You can not meet anyone through online dating.”
Perfectionists tend to overgeneralize by making global, negative attributions about themselves and about their negative projections. If we spill our water at a dinner party, it is not only an embarrassing accident, we are mortified, and certain we made a clumsy fool of ourselves. We go one step further with a negative, projection and overgeneralize to imagine that everybody thinks the same, won’t like us, and won’t invite us .