In my last post, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, I gave you a general overview of cognitive distortions, or, as I like to call it, how we like to chat shit to ourselves (OMG, I’m so professional, I swear I’m qualified. Look, you can trust me with your mental health, honest). In this post, I want to go into a bit more detail about the types of cognitives distortions we may experience and that hold us back from allowing us to enjoy life as much as we can. There may be one thing that stops us, just puts the brakes on a happy life, and we know what it is, but we refuse to stop the behaviour that causes it because our faulty thinking tells us that behaviour is more important than anything else.
How do you know what your cognitive distortions are?
Well, that’s a tricky sitch, I think. They become embedded into your belief system. And your internal commentary takes a good lead in this and chatters away at you, chatting shit. So it’s when you’re quiet and still that you can begin to separate yourself from this, and recognise your thinking errors for what they are. Seriously, who died and made your thoughts Queen of Fucking everything?
Your thoughts, contrary to what you may believe, are not the boss of you, or anyone else. You can learn to manage them, and understand your emotions. It takes work, but if we all acted on every emotion, we’d all be in one very large prison right now, don’t you think? Hypnotherapy and mindfulness helps you to calm your mind, tune into it and what it’s saying to you, and really hear what’s going on. You choose the way you want to go from there.
OK, down to these pesky thought errors then,
- All or nothing
I’m very familiar with this one. I think a lot of autistic people are, because it’s not easy for us to see a situation as anything but it is or it isn’t, it’s on or it’s off, you do or you don’t. You love me or you don’t, it’s perfect or it isn’t, it’s going to work or it won’t…..do you get what I mean? I can intellectually grasp that there are in betweens, but between you and me, I’m not really sure I believe that. Don’t tell anyone I said that. I’m supposed to believe it. But it’s a thought error, so intellectually, I also know I’m not thinking correctly there. Isn’t life a badgal at times?
I had this term on a site a few years back and had thousands of hits from very disappointed one handed web surfers. Sorry guys. This simply means that we have a set of strict, self imposed rules for life. I MUST be able to do this, I’m a failure if I can’t make him see my point of view….quack quack oops. There’s that little control monkey jumping around.
- Mind reading
Yeah, I’m a hypnotherapist, not a mind reader. You know when we do that subtle thing of slamming doors, and slamming plates down in the kitchen and being really angry that our partner isn’t saying “Sup babe?” Well, that. Also, assuming that people are thinking “He must think I’m stupid”. You can’t mind read either, so stop assuming.
Jumping to the conclusion that you have fantasised is the ONLY possible one and no other scenario can possibly happen. We’re doomed. DOOMED.
- Magical thinking
This can sometimes be seen in OCD sufferers and can be heartbreaking; if I wash my hands 100 times, no one will die today; a very real and life controlling symptom.
- Internalising and Externalising
Taking all the blame, and blaming everyone and everything but yourself; it’s a balancing act, is our little life, sometimes we need to take responsibility for shit that happens, but blaming yourself for everything or always pointing the finger at other people is much like all or nothing thinking. Finding where you fit is done with a quiet mind.
Just blame me for everything, it’s all my fault after all, because I’m so stupid. That kind of says it all really. If you recognise yourself in any of these thought patterns, and erroneous thinking, just know that you’re not alone.
I can help you learn to be still and calm so that you can help yourself take responsibility for your cognitive distortions, and learn to work with them when they rear their ugly little faces. Contact me to find out how.