Cognitive Distortions – Distorted Thoughts

Styles of Distorted Thinking
How We Validate Our Distorted Beliefs

1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them while filtering out all of the
positive aspects of a situation.
2 Polarized Thinking: Things are black or white, good or bad. You believe that you have to be perfect or else you consider yourself a failure. There is no middle ground.
3. Overgeneralization: You come to a general conclusion based on a few incidents or a
single piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, then you expect it will happen over and over again.
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 mind read how people are feeling towards you.
5. Catastrophizing: You desire or expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start the “what if game”: What if tragedy strikes? What if it happens to you?
6. Personalization: Thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to
you. You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who is smarter, better looking, etc.
7. Control Fallacies: 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.
8. Fallacy of Fairness: You feel resentful because you think you know what is fair but other people will not agree with you.
9. Blaming: You hold other people responsible for your pain. Or you blame yourself for
every problem.
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.
11. Emotional Reasoning: You believe that what you feel must be true-automatically. If you feel stupid and boring, then you must be stupid and boring.
12. Fallacy of Change: You expect that other people will change to suit you if you Just
pressure them enough. You need to change people because your hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them.
13. Global Labeling: You generalize one or two qualities into an overall negative global
14. 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
15. Heavenly Reward Fallacy (score-keeping): You expect all of your sacrifice and self-denial will payoff, as If there were someone keeping score. You feel upset and angry when the reward does not come.
16. Passive Thinking: You believe that your wants, needs and rights are not important
enough to assert with others.

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