"15 Styles of Distorted Thinking" | INFJ Forum

"15 Styles of Distorted Thinking"

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Gaze, Jun 7, 2010.

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  1. Gaze

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    15 Styles of Distorted Thinking
    http://www.ewu.edu/x6671.xml



    Can you relate to any of these? How?
    1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them, while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. A single detail may be picked out, and the whole event becomes colored by this detail. When you pull negative things out of context, isolated from all the good experiences around you, you make them larger and more awful than they really are.
    2. Polarized Thinking: The hallmark of this distortion is an insistence on dichotomous choices. Things are black or white, good or bad. You tend to perceive everything at the extremes, with very little room for a middle ground. The greatest danger in polarized thinking is its impact on how you judge yourself. For example-You have to be perfect or you're a failure.
    3. Overgeneralization: You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. 'Always' and 'never' are cues that this style of thinking is being utilized. This distortion can lead to a restricted life, as you avoid future failures based on the single incident or event.
    4. Mind Reading: Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you. Mind reading depends on a process called projection. You imagine that people feel the same way you do and react to things the same way you do. Therefore, you don't watch or listen carefully enough to notice that they are actually different. Mind readers jump to conclusions that are true for them, without checking whether they are true for the other person.
    5. Catastrophizing: You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start "what if's." What if that happens to me? What if tragedy strikes? There are no limits to a really fertile catastrophic imagination. An underlying catalyst for this style of thinking is that you do not trust in yourself and your capacity to adapt to change.
    6. Personalization: This is the tendency to relate everything around you to yourself. For example, 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. The underlying assumption is that your worth is in question. You are therefore continually forced to test your value as a person by measuring yourself against others. If you come out better, you get a moment's relief. If you come up short, you feel diminished. The basic thinking error is that you interpret each experience, each conversation, each look as a clue to your worth and value.
    7. Control Fallacies: There are two ways you can distort your sense of power and control. If you feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate. The fallacy of internal control has you responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you. Feeling externally controlled keeps you stuck. You don't believe you can really affect the basic shape of your life, let alone make any difference in the world. The truth of the matter is that we are constantly making decisions, and that every decision affects our lives. On the other hand, the fallacy of internal control leaves you exhausted as you attempt to fill the needs of everyone around you, and feel responsible in doing so (and guilty when you cannot).
    8. Fallacy of Fairness: You feel resentful because you think you know what's fair, but other people won't agree with you. Fairness is so conveniently defined, so temptingly self-serving, that each person gets locked into his or her own point of view. It is tempting to make assumptions about how things would change if people were only fair or really valued you. But the other person hardly ever sees it that way, and you end up causing yourself a lot of pain and an ever-growing resentment.
    9. Blaming: You hold other people responsible for your pain, or take the other tack and blame yourself for every problem. Blaming often involves making someone else responsible for choices and decisions that are actually our own responsibility. In blame systems, you deny your right (and responsibility) to assert your needs, say no, or go elsewhere for what you want.
    10. Shoulds: 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. The rules are right and indisputable and, as a result, you are often in the position of judging and finding fault (in yourself and in others). Cue words indicating the presence of this distortion are should, ought, and must.
    11. Emotional Reasoning: You believe that what you feel must be true-automatically. If you feel stupid or boring, then you must be stupid and boring. If you feel guilty, then you must have done something wrong. The problem with emotional reasoning is that our emotions interact and correlate with our thinking process. Therefore, if you have distorted thoughts and beliefs, your emotions will reflect these distortions.
    12. Fallacy of Change: 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. The truth is the only person you can really control or have much hope of changing is yourself. The underlying assumption of this thinking style is that your happiness depends on the actions of others. Your happiness actually depends on the thousands of large and small choices you make in your life.
    13. Global Labeling: You generalize one or two qualities (in yourself or others) into a negative global judgment. Global labeling ignores all contrary evidence, creating a view of the world that can be stereotyped and one-dimensional. Labeling yourself can have a negative and insidious impact upon your self-esteem; while labeling others can lead to snap-judgments, relationship problems, and prejudice.
    14. Being Right: You feel 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. Having to be 'right' often makes you hard of hearing. You aren't interested in the possible veracity of a differing opinion, only in defending your own. Being right becomes more important than an honest and caring relationship.
    15. Heaven's Reward Fallacy: You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if there were someone keeping score. You fell bitter when the reward doesn't come as expected. The problem is that while you are always doing the 'right thing,' if your heart really isn't in it, you are physically and emotionally depleting yourself.
    *FromThoughts & Feelingsby McKay, Davis, & Fanning. New Harbinger, 1981. These styles of thinking (or cognitive distortions) were gleaned from the work of several authors, including Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck, and David Burns, among others.
     
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    #1 Gaze, Jun 7, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  2. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Mind reading, Control Fallacy, and Fallacy of Fairness are the ones I usually make the mistake of using..

    Yes. I can relate.
     
  3. OP
    Gaze

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    I'm guilty of overgeneralizing, catastrophizing, attempt at mind reading (not good at it), especially guilty of blaming and emotional reasoning, and probably fallacy of fairness.
     
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    #3 Gaze, Jun 7, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  4. Raccoon Love

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    Guilty of filtering, Mind Reading, Catastrophizing, fairness, control, and emotional reasoning..

    That's more then I expected...
     
  5. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    I use all of those. :(

    What good is knowing about them? How can we think non-fallaciously, honestly?
     
  6. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    16. Make a list of other people's distorted thinking. :wink:
     
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  7. Reon

    Reon Midnight's Garden

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    Awareness of logical fallacies help us avoid logical fallacies.

    In the past I've dealt with filtering, Polarized thinking, overgeneralization, mind reading, Catastrophizing, Control Fallacies, Blaming, and the Heaven's Reward fallacy.

    I thin still have problems with Control Fallacies, Catastrophizing (at times), self blame, and Heaven's Rewards fallacy. Getting better though.
     
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  8. OP
    Gaze

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    This^^^
     
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  9. Roger

    Roger ...

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    Overgenerlization, personalization and fallacy of fairness.
     
  10. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Fallacy of fairness is really the biggest for me the more that I reflect on it. I really use that one.

    I don't even know where to begin...
    Does it mention how to overcome these, Ria?
     
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  11. OP
    Gaze

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    No, the site doesn't but in analyzing the description (see below), i think the implied solution is avoid thinking that there is one criteria (our own) for deciding what is fair, since it causes us to generalize to everyone. It causes us to assume that our measure of fairness is objective or should be universally applied when it may really be subjective and not as fair as we believe. Another possibility is that if we keep holding to the belief that "if only" life or things were fair, then life would be more perfect in some way, whereas things may not be necessarily as perfect as it may seem "if only" things were the way we think they should be (ideally).

    This is my understanding of how to handle it - recognize the flaw inherent in the thinking.

    .
     
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    #11 Gaze, Jun 7, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
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  12. shannishannon

    shannishannon Saponifier
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    I have used all of these. Identifying these cognitive distortions to yourself is the basis of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).
     
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  13. rawr

    rawr ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    guilty of polarized thinking, filtering, Catastrophizing (which seem to go hand-in-hand often), mind reading (not good at it), personalization, control fallacies, and fairness fallacies. hmm
     
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  14. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    Things I can say with confidance that I do, in decending order:


    1. Shoulds - This is the worst of the list. I never let this be known to others, but oh to I feel it. I am very rigid with myself imposed rules. I fully know it. I am 10 times harder on myself with this though.

    2. Personalization - This comes about from my needs for some kind of physical tangiable standard for things.

    3. Polarized Thinking - This again is very much self-imposed. I tend to limit myself with this.

    An interesting note would be about Emotional Reasoning. I actually do the reverse of this, and if it were on the list it would trump everything. I am constantly judging my emotions, and seeing if they are correct for what my thoughts are and how things actually are. If they don't I force them around (not so well either, but I try). Emotional Reasoning is about believing your emotions are always right. I tend to believe they are always wrong/invalid.
     
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  15. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    that's probably an overgeneralization, heh

    i can relate to all of them to some extent, but i guess i've had the most problems with shoulds, catastrophizing and polarized thinking. also filtering
     
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    #15 TinyBubbles, Jun 7, 2010
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  16. aeon

    aeon Ooh, a bunny!
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    I go the opposite way (in a polarized fashion) and say fairness is an ideal and does not exist in the world, so I generally don't think about it or become emotionally involved in considering it. That said, it can fuel other aspects of my distorted thinking.

    I use filtering, polarized thinking, overgeneralization, and global labelling all together, sometimes for fun and lolz (in that it results in silly expression), sometimes as a result of feeling fear or feeling hurt, usually to hide those things or to justify my tendencies toward annihilation of threat.

    This usually ends with an expression like "humanity is wretched, let the earth be consumed by fire/flood/pestilence." :embarassed:


    cheers,
    Ian
     
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  17. RecklessDreamer

    RecklessDreamer Permanent Fixture

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    I've been guilty of a few...

    Filtering, Personalization, and Emotional Reasoning.

    :/
     
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  18. invisible

    On Holiday

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    i've had a lot of trouble with depression in my life and have been hospitalised in the past a few times. someone gave me a sheet with all of these on it and i realised it was my way of living to do these things, i did all of them all the time. my depression is still bad at times but nothing like it used to be and i think this list has helped me. i spent so much time studying the sheet that it eventually just became part of my way of dealing with life. my thinking generally tends to be distorted in these ways and remembering these things helps me to relate normally to people and to be able to go to work and do my job. because although i can't stop the distorted thoughts from happening, when i have a distorted thought i can recognise it as distorted and it brings me back to earth. i still lose control and go nuts at someone from time to time but i'm basically improving.

    for a person like me this is not the end of the journey though, to be able to recognise and resolve distorted thoughts - once you can do that you still have to be able to find out how to really enjoy life, to approach your passion in a positive and meaningful way and stay positive about it, and that kind of thing.

    etc...
     
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  19. On my own path

    On my own path Community Member

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    Filtering, Emotional Reasoning,Catastrophising , Personalisation, and Mind Reading
     
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  20. tovlo

    tovlo Well-known member

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    Primarily Filtering, Catastrophizing, Personalization, Global Labeling for me.
     
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