Distorted Thinking

In our Recovery Class we were learning about different styles of our distorted thinking. When we are overcoming ED, our beliefs can be often place on our distortion. Being aware of our distorted thinking can be first step to recovery and our emotional well-being. Monitoring and recognising our distorted thinking can help us to make changes in our reactions. We can use this list as an information on what we need to work on, or as well to see how far we got already and how much more aware we got.

Styles of Distorted Thinking

Filtering: Taking negative details and magnifying them while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. Dwelling on the negatives. Denying positive experiences and insisting they didn’t count.

Overgeneralization: General conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence.  If one bad thing happens you, you think that it is bound to happen over and over again. Look for such words as ‘never’, ‘always’, everyone, or just ‘no one’.

All-or-nothing: Seeing things in extreme, absolute, black-or-white categories, you have to be perfect or you are a failure. Look for words such as ‘right/wrong’, ‘good or bad’, win/lose’, ‘my way or no way’, or uncompromising.

Jumping to conclusions: Assuming that people are reacting badly towards you and you don’t check it out. Predicting the worse even though it may be quite unrealistic. ‘What if (bad event) happens?’

Catastrophising and Minimisation: Blowing things out of proportion or shrinking their importance. Look for words as ‘awful’, ‘terrible’, or phrases ‘I can’t stand this’, ‘What if this happens to you?’

Personalisation: Thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who’s smarter, better looking, etc.

Blaming: You automatically blame yourself for something you weren’t entirely responsible for  or blame other people and deny your part in the problem. It is all my fault or your fault.

Control: Feeling controlled by others, seeing you as helpless, a victim of fate. You expect that other people will change to suit you if you just pressure or cajole them enough.  You need to change people because your hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them.

Should’s and Ought’s: You criticise yourself (or others) with ‘should’, ‘ought’, ‘must’, you have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act. People who break the rules anger you and you feel guilty if you violate the rules.

Labelling: Creating a negative self-image based on situational mistake, inadequacy or error. You say ‘I’m a loser’, ‘I am a failure’ instead of ‘I made a mistake’. You generalize one or two qualities into a negative global judgement.

Heaven’ reward: You expect sacrifice and self-denial to pay-off, as if there were some keeping score. You feel bitter when the reward doesn’t’t come.

Being right: You are continually on trial to prove that your opinions and actions are correct.  Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any length to demonstrate your rightness. You feel often resentful because you think you know what’s fair but other people won’t agree with you.

Emotional reasoning: You believe that what you feel must be true. ‘I feel guilty; therefore, I must be a bad person’. ‘I feel overwhelmed, therefore, my problem must be impossible to solve’ I feel angry. This proves I’m being treated unfairly.’