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obsessedmuch

Cognitive Traps

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Posted

These are cognitive traps that we all fall into on occasion. The traps are ways to promote negative thinking. It is your job to turn these traps around and promote a more positive way of thinking for yourself. It will improve your self esteem and also help you to help yourself.

              TEN COGNITIVE TRAPS

1. ALL OR NOTHING THINKING:  You see in black and white catagories. If a situation is anything less than perfect you see it as a total failure.

2. OVERGENERALIZATION:  You see a single event as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using the word ALWAYS or NEVER when you think about it.

3.  MENTAL FILTER:  You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively. One word of criticism erases all the praise you have received.

4.  DISCOUNTING THE POSITIVE:  You reject positive experiences by insisting they "DON"T COUNT". If you do a good job, you tell yourself that anyone could have done as well.

5.  JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS:  You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusions. Two common variations are MIND READING (you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you) and FORTUNE TELLING (you assume and predict that things will turn out badly).

6.  MAGNIFICATION:  You exagerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize your desirable qualities. This is also called the "BINOCULAR TRICK".

7.  EMOTIONAL REASONING:  You assume your negative emotions reflect the way things really are: "I FEEL GUILTY. I MUST BE A ROTTEN PERSON".

8.  "SHOULD" STATEMENTS:  You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. Many people try to motivate themselves with "SHOULD'S" and "SHOULDN'TS" as if they had to be punished before they could be expected to do anything.

9.  LABELING:  This is an extreem form of "ALL OR NOTHING" thinking. Instead of saying, "I MADE A MISTAKE", you attach a negative label to yourself: "I'M A LOSER".

10.  PERSONALIZATION AND BLAME:  You hold yourself personally responsible for events that aren't entirely under your control.

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Posted

Very good thread Sheepy!  I'd say if I fall under any, what immediately comes to mind is Personalization and Blame #10.  Assuming the blame and taking the fault for it.  That's me!  It must have been MY fault that it happened... mostly for things that happened YEARS ago with my father, when I was a child.  Things that adults have trouble with, much less children... yet I assume the blame and take it on.... :(  It's quite distressing.

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Posted

Uh, I think I do ALL of these things!  Thanks for sharing, SW.  Now to figure out how to STOP doing them...  :)

Karen

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Posted

Ados, just work on one trap at a time until you feel comfortable with the change. Ask me if you get stuck.

Cat, I fell into that trap, too. What happened to me as a child I felt I was to blame. I know now that I wasn't and I was a victim instead. I had no control over the situation.

Sheepwoman :hearts:

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Posted

Hmmmm...Interesting.

Especially in my childhood, I never felt I was to blame......

I always felt the victim.

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Posted

SW,

I plan to copy this list so I can look at it regularly, and then I think I will try to come up with one counter-statement for each of these traps that applies to me.  I'll let you know if that helps.  Thanks for sharing and for being so willing to give support!  You are a special woman!

Karen

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Posted

SW, It's a wonderful help to our members..Thank you so very much!   :;):

:hearts:

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Posted

Hey ados,

I was reading these and thinking I hope I find one that does'nt describe me!   :D

Looks like I have some work to do.  Thanks sheepwoman, I printed the list out and am going to keep my eye on it for awhile.

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Posted

Thanks for posting that list. I think I have done one or all of the items listed, though as of late I have been obsessing over #10. I actually feel responsible for world hunger . . . my reasoning is that I don't give enough money for food relief.

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Posted

Dweeble,

If you feel that you have fallen into these traps at one time or another, just take one at a time to change your thinking. It will give you a more positive outlook for yourself.

Mana K,

#10 is one of the largest hurdles to overcome. your reasoning about world hunger affects a lot of people and their giving attitude. How will you work on turning around your thoughts on #10 to a positive one?

To all members, thank you for your compliments. If any of you need help in accomplishing how to do or turn around your thinking, post here or send me a PM. I will be most happy to answer your questions or give you additional support.

Sheepwoman :hearts:

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Posted

HI SW!!!!

I like this thread of yours very much. Quite a list. I think that I will print it out and refer to it sometimes. Thanks so much!!!!!

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Posted

My husband would tell you I'm a number ten all the time.  I'm always trying to fix things for people and solve problems.  Sometimes at the risk of doing without myself.

I have since learned to let things go, but it's really difficult at times to not get involved.  He says that I just want to make sure that people are happy.  Well, I've since taken a back seat, so to speak,  and am more willing to look at getting the needs of my family and myself met, and just being verbally supportive to others.  It's really hard, at times, and I really have to work at not backsliding.  My husband helps others' out lots, and he has developed better boundries with what he does.  I'm looking to him as a role model.  

"It's not selfish...."    Boy, I have a difficult time with this statement. :hearts:

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Posted

Dear SW,

Thank you for posting this list.  As I read each item, it was like I was looking in a mirror.  I've printed a copy as a reference to add to my self-help articles.

Thanks again.

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Posted

1,3,5,6,10

Those are my traps right now..mostly obsessing how different I am to other people my age, how I don't fit in anywhere and never will <- oo look the word never crept in, I'm such a lost cause..really..like I'm destined to be unhappy for the rest of my life. If anyone can give any positive encouragement I'd appreciate it..but I'm very good at dismissing it though cos I don't think it'll apply to me :(

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Posted

1,3,5,6,10

Those are my traps right now..mostly obsessing how different I am to other people my age, how I don't fit in anywhere and never will <- oo look the word never crept in, I'm such a lost cause..really..like I'm destined to be unhappy for the rest of my life. If anyone can give any positive encouragement I'd appreciate it..but I'm very good at dismissing it though cos I don't think it'll apply to me :(

obsessedmuch,

I can really understand the feeling of just being destined to be unhappy. I can tell you that I still feel that way most of the time. May I point out something that might make you feel better? think about a big old cracked slab of concrete. Have you noticed that there is grass growing up in the cracks? the grass didn't just grow there...it had to go through a lot to get there. But it succeeded through perseverence. We are not meant to suffer, we are not meant to fail. Success is the natural order of things and if you keep looking, keep seeking and asking questions....you will find that you are worth it. :hearts: There is joy in being you, you will find it...don't give up :hug:

I can leave you with one thought though....People who deal with depression are actually much stronger than other people. Not only do we deal with the everyday things like 'everyone else' we have to deal with the thoughts we think, feelings we have, and the daily fight for anything happy we can find. We don't give up, no matter how bad we want to sometimes. We fight. We seek. We breathe in and out, everyday.

I listen to people around me who complain about little trivial things and think "If you had to deal with what I have to deal with everyday...you'd fall apart!"

That may be pretty judgemental on my part, but it makes me feel better.

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Posted

Blinded, you really described what depressed people go through and what we endure. Having to keep that positive attitude while our brain is manipulating our thinking is so difficult. Thank you.

Obsessedmuch, the trick here is to eliminate the can'ts, nevers, shoulda, woulda, couldas out of our thinking. Turn your life around. Believe it or not, you ARE worthwhile-you just don't see it right now.

Sheepwoman :hearts:

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Posted

Blinded: I feel what most takes up precious space in my mind ARE the trivial things, meaningless to other people, but so filled with meaning and symbolic or a consequence of failure in a part of my life that people can't comprehend why it gets down on me so much, I don't even comprehend it most of the time. I beat myself up emotionally most of the time (probably a form of SI) when I know I don't deserve it, but sometimes I do feel I deserve it, that's my insanity.

But I was told by my counsellor that I must be a strong person, to be achieving despite all the negativity of myself and my past situations. So I do definitely agree with you there..kinda makes you jealous though, the fact that you have to be strong and others do not, life just seems to come easier for other people. Not fair :p

But I find talking about it has definitely helped..locking stuff away is not good for the mind, body or soul.

Buscalapaz likes this

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Posted

I know what you mean OM, it's like what you feel isn't worth expressing, but it consumes you. It's a void that only your imagination can fill. Dead inside and longing to feel something even if it's self-degrading! Punishment is a form of fulfillment in itself and because you feel so complete in that, you continue. No one can fill it the same way with positive statements. The only way out IMHO, is to NOT berate yourself for feeling this way. Forgive yourself for what you feel. It may be hard...I'm still working on it, and it's not easy....but your subconscience doesn't know the difference in truth, lies, fact or fiction. You act as you think. you can forgive yourself. then you can work on finding things about yourself that you like. Even the small things. They are there...find them ;)

You can't possess what you abhor. Focus on what you want your life to be and where you want to be.

Kudos for talking! It is a huge step! You've found a starting place! Don't stop! I haven't been here that long either, but I know these people will listen and they care.

:bump::hearts:

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Posted

guilty, on at least 8 counts

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Posted

Blinded, you are so insightful and supportive, I hope you keep coming back to DF. Thank you.

Welcome Shadow to DF. You will find a lot of support and caring here.

Sheepwoman :hearts:

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Posted

I will...I need to. somehow I'll figure out a way. Thanks.

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Posted

I've just found this thread and had to say a big thankyou for the 10 cognitive thread - I've already printed it out to keep!

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Posted

This thread is very helpful but what do you do when you have all 10?

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Posted

Welcome to DF, worrier,

If you have all 10 traps, my suggestion is to work on one at a time. When you feel comfortable with that change, move on to the next. Do you have one in particular that is the worst? If so, start with that one. If you need help, PM me anytime or just ask the questions you have here.

Sheepwoman :hearts:

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Posted

Thank you  sheepwoman.  Well, I was worse then I am.  Mostly just anger and depression.  But I have improved, it just seems to never go away.  I have been trying to find a CBT therapist in my area, no luck yet.   I will do what you suggest though, just a question, how?   How do you work on this stuff.  I had a doc who would say think of the ocean and exercise and do other stuff.

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