Conflict


Cognitive distortions are things that we believe as truth, but they are not reality.  If we live our life based on our cognitive distortions, it will hinder us from living a productive, healthy life.  That is why it is important to be aware of cognitive distortions, so we can check our thinking and work on changing those false beliefs about ourselves and the world we live in. There are basically 15 cognitive distortions that have been named by David Burns, MD who works at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.  He is a psychiatrist and has written many books.  My favorites are “Feeling Good”, and “When Panic Attacks”. These are 15 Cognitive Distortions: 1. Filtering. We take the negative details and magnify them while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. 2. Polarized Thinking (or “Black and White” Thinking). In polarized thinking, things are either “black-or-white.” We have to be perfect or we’re a failure. 3. Overgeneralization.In this cognitive distortion, we come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or a single piece of evidence. 4. Jumping to Conclusions. Without individuals saying so, we know what they are feeling and why they act the way they do. 5. Catastrophizing. We expect disaster to strike, no matter what. This is also referred to as “magnifying or minimizing. 6. Personalization. Personalization is a distortion where a person believes that everything others do or say is some kind of direct, personal reaction to the person. We also compare ourselves to others trying to determine who is smarter, better looking, etc. 7. Control Fallacies. If we feel externally controlled, we see ourselves as helpless a victim of fate. For example, “I can’t help it if the quality of the work is poor, my boss demanded I work overtime on it.” The fallacy of internal control has us assuming responsibility for the pain and happiness of everyone around us. For example, “Why aren’t you happy? Is it because of something I did?” 8. Fallacy of Fairness. We feel resentful because we think we know what is fair, but other people won’t agree with us. As our parents tell us when we’re growing up and something doesn’t go our way, “Life isn’t always fair.” 9. Blaming. We hold other people responsible for our pain, or take the other track and blame ourselves for every problem. 10. Shoulds. We have a list of ironclad rules about how others and we should behave. People who break the rules make us angry, and we feel guilty when we violate these rules. 11. Emotional Reasoning. We believe that what we feel must be true automatically. If we feel stupid and...

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What Are You Thinking?

What Are You Thinking?


Posted By on Mar 3, 2014

It isn’t what happens to us that makes us feel a certain way, it is what we think about what happened that determines how we feel.  We all have a belief about things and we interpret everything that happens to us through our brief systems.  If we believe we are unworthy of love, then no matter how much someone loves us we will interpret their actions as unloving.  We will sabotage our relationships. If we want to change our beliefs about our world, then we have to challenge those beliefs and ask ourselves “Are the beliefs that we have rational or irrational beliefs”?  If we are depressed and do not want to take an antidepressant, because we do not want to take medications even if it helps us feel better, it is important to identify the real beliefs about taking the medication. If the belief is “We do not want a substance to control how we feel, because we will become dependent on it”, Is that a rational belief? Do we take vitamins?  If we are diabetic and need insulin, don’t we take that?  It all helps us feel better and live longer, hopefully. Why is taking an antidepressant different?  We are lacking something in our brain that is stopping us from thinking rationally and we feel bad. Antidepressants help balance the chemicals in our brain so we can see our world more objectively and realistically. It gives us hope that we can work through difficult things. Research shows that if we are depressed we do not live as long. Being depressed affects our health. So what is our real belief about taking the antidepressant?  Maybe it is because we do not believe we deserve to be happy or we do not want to give up control.  Something inside of our brain is telling us an irrational thought that we should not enjoy life.  Antidepressants alone do not help us feel less depressed.  It is important to examine our thoughts and change our beliefs about our true identity and give ourselves permission to be happy. As we change our core beliefs about ourselves and learn to love ourselves that will help us feel better. Being able to connect with others builds confidence and can help our depression, and sometimes we need help to think more clearly and give ourselves permission to reach out and trust people close to us. If our belief is that we do not deserve to be loved and be significant, then whenever we have those feelings we are going to feel guilty about being happy.  We will quickly sabotage anything good that is happening to...

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The Shame of Emotional Abuse


Posted By on Jan 23, 2014

Emotional abuse is often unintended but it is real and often more damaging than physical abuse. It brings powerlessness, fear, hurt and anger and comes couched as guidance, teaching and advice though its outcomes are belittling, erosion of self-confidence, esteem and value.

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Holidays Can Be Difficult

Holidays Can Be Difficult


Posted By on Dec 1, 2013

For some people holidays can be difficult. It can be a reminder that things are not perfect in our lives, especially when it may seem like everyone else is having such a wonderful time this time of year. Some people go to the extreme of putting up lights everywhere and it seems like neighbors compete on who can display the most magnificent scene.  Everyone is out of touch with how much we are hurting and things like lights become so trivial when we are lonely and estranged from our family. When we are hurting it is easy to isolate ourselves and stay away from others, but that is not a healthy way to handle the situation.  It is important to focus on giving and volunteering wherever we can.  You are not the only one that is hurting and we can always look around and see someone who has less than we do. The Rescue Mission in town served over 500 people for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  They chose to be with other people and it looked like everyone was blessed by the meals and all the volunteers that helped to make it a great event. It didn’t matter if you were on the receiving or giving part of the dinner, everyone was encouraged. Life is good sometimes and sometimes it is bad, but the secret to remember is hard times will pass if we keep on keeping on when it is tough.  Tough times build character and endurance and emotional maturity that we can not achieve any other way.  It makes us tough, but tender and humble. I remember 39 years ago when my first husband left me six months pregnant for another woman.  I hurt so bad I did not know how I was going to make it through another day, but I did.  My son was born 15 days before Christmas and he was such a precious gift.  I didn’t feel much like celebrating Christmas that year, but it got easier and easier as time went by. That experience helped me mature and grow in a way that nothing else could have accomplished. It made me tough, but also humbled me to know that I did not have control of the events in my life, but I did control how I handled them.  They can make us bitter or better. If you are hurting this time of year, reach out and touch someone else’s life.  It will get your mind off of your own pain and encourage someone who may be hurting also. It can help you heal, even if it is ringing the bell for the...

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