12 Most Common Thinking Mistakes

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SomewhereOutThere, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Also called automatic thoughts or cognitive distortions. Learning not to use them helps us deal with the difficult people in our lives, adult children included.

    1/All or nothing thinking
    Example: I'm not a total success so I'm a failure."
    "He's doing badly now, so he he always do badly"

    2/Catastrophizing (also called fortune telling...I am very bad with this) You predict the future negatively without considering other more likely outcomes.
    "I'll be so upset that I won't be able to function at all."
    "If he doesn't get his act together, my own life will be ruined forever."

    3/Disqualifying or discounting the positive:
    "I did that project well but that doesn't mean I'm competent. I just got lucky."
    "He has a job, but it's just at a pizza joint. He'll never amount to anything."

    4/.Emotional reasoning: You think something must be true because you "feel" (actually believe) it so strongly, ignoring or discounting evidence to the contrary.
    "I know I do a lot of things well, but I still feel as if I'm a failure."
    "Even though I have three kids who turned out well, my son who takes drugs proves I'm a horrible mother."

    5/Labeling. This is explained as putting a fixed, global label on yourself or others without considering that the evidence might more reasonably lead to a less disastrous conclusion.
    "I'm a loser."
    "He's no good."
    "She's evil."

    6/Magnification/minimization: When you evaluate yourself, another person, or a situation, you unreasonably magnify the negative and/or minimize the positive.

    "Getting a mediocre work evaluation proves how inadequate I am."
    "Getting high marks doesn't mean I'm smart."
    "Being a published writer doesn't mean I can really write well."

    7/Mental filter: You pay undue attention to one negative detail instead of seeing t he whole picture.
    "Because I got one low rating, I'm doing a lousy job even though I got many high ratings too."

    8/Mind reading: You believe you know what others' motivations are, or what they are thinking, failing to consider other possibilities.
    "He thinks I don't know what I'm talking about."
    "They're laughing at me."
    "They were trying to get me in trouble."

    9/Overgeneralization (global thinking): You make a sweeping negative conclusions that goes far beyond the current situation.
    "I don't have what it takes to make friends."
    "He is just doing that to annoy me."

    10/Personaliztion: You believe others are behaving negatively because of you, without considering more plausible explanations for t heir behavior.

    ""The waitress didn't give me my check soon enough because I got her angry."
    "My child ended up in trouble because I wasn't a good parent. It's all my fault."
    "My child won't talk to me because I definitely did something terrible."

    11/"Should" and "must" statements. You have a precise, fixed idea of how you or others should behave and you overestimate how bad it is that these expectations are not met.

    "He should have brought his own dish of food at the meal he'd been invited too."
    "He must have never been taught any manners because he didn't say "please."
    She "should" put up with anything her mother does because, after all, it's her mother.
    She "should" put up with anything her child does and try to fix it because, after all, it's your child, even though he's now thirty.

    12/Tunnel Vision: You only see the negative aspects of a situation:
    "My son's teacher can't do anything right. He's critical and insensitive and lousy at teaching."
    "My brother is the meanest person on earth because he criticized me."
    "My adult child has no good traits, therefore I am a loser too. We both are."
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  2. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    Well, I'm going to be busy....

    Thank you for this. I recognize many of them in myself to some less/more degree.

    Do you have any tips or tricks for not using them?
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Actually, this is bonafide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and I do recommend his awesome book and he has tons of idea about how to utilize thinking errors. This is a great book even if youd don't suffer from depression. It's called Feeling Good by David Burns (he is a psychiatrist). You can buy it on amazon. I try to post the link, but it didn't work. I'll try again, but if it still doesn't work, it's easy to find and very worth purchasing.
  4. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    I can find it on Amazon, thank you. I think a lot of time, my reactions are too quick. Have to learn how to take a step back.
    This is great.
  5. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Thank you SWOT. I so needed to see this at this very moment.
  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Years ago I would hit on just about every one of these. It's very affirming to read through this list to see how far I've come over the years.

    Thanks so much for posting this, such a good reminder to always pay attention to how we respond to "life".
  7. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I am guilty of most of these more or less. This is how my mother thought and passed it on. I am constantly fighting my negative thought processes.
  8. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Alanon and AA address many of these "errors in thinking." AA calls it: stinkin' thinkin'. Amazing how connected addiction, enabling, overall sick thinking and finally...recovery is to this type of thinking. AlAnon addresses all of these issues in an overall way and helps move people toward healthier ways of thinking and behaving. Just a few notes below...this is a great list. My notes in blue.

  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Al-Anon helped me with thinking errors too, COM. For anyone who is not insulted by the idea of a higher power (which can be anything from God to the ocean that calms you when you're tense) I highly recommend Al-Anon as a place to heal from either loving an addict or even getting over a toxic past that did not include drugs. I found it very useful and validating.
  10. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    SWOT -- Thanks for posting this. Clear, concise, accurate. Saving it!
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I have to remind myself of this too. I make many thinking errors and have to be mindful not to buy into them. Sometimes I can do that these days.

    My worst ones are 2, 3 and 11.