Stinking Thinking


I learned and struggled with something called Thinking, Feeling Behavioral Triangle.

The triangle is designed to break down why you may act out the way you do. So for example I struggled with going to this Tool Kit session today because of the residual scabies rash I have.

My thoughts bounced back between scabies and my feelings (feelings can be Shame, Sadness, Irritable). I realized my feelings are Shame and I didn’t want to to go to this session because of the shame I feel around something I picked up anywhere. The feelings then in turn went to the Behavior which was to isolate. The experience felt is vulnerability. I felt this cycle going around and round inside my head early this morning as I tried to convince myself to NOT go to this session. I was prepared to call my therapist and explain to her why and in all honesty seeking her permission so that I didn’t have to feel bad about not attending. None of that happened. What I found myself telling myself was I had made a commitment to myself and it was important to go. I knew I was safe from infecting anyone, that I had done the medication as prescribed, but it was the emotional feelings I was putting on myself that I was fighting with.

How did I understand this? Well we talked about “Unhelpful Thinking Styles” It is taken from http://www.psychloytools.org. I had hoped to copy and past the document we used today, but unfortunately I can’t. Basically there are 10 styles of unhealthy/helpful thinking.

1. All or nothing thinking (also described as black and white thinking) – If I’m not perfect; I have failed.

2. Mental filter (Only paying attention to certain types of evidence) – Noticing our failures but not seeing our successes.

3. Jumping to conclusions (There are two key types of jumping to conclusions

  • Mind Reading ( imagining we know what others are thinking)
  • Fortune Telling (predicting the future)

4. Emotional Reasoning (Assuming that because we feel a certain way what we think must be true) – I feel embarrassed so I must be an idiot

    One of the descriptions I learned today is emotions guide your thinking. (i.e. emotions may be there at the height of a moment, so your attaching a feeling to it.).

5. Labeling – Assigning labels to ourselves or other people

  • I’m a loser
  • I’m completely useless
  • They’re such an idiot

When those thoughts above happen, challenge those words. Find different words to use (dig out a thesaurus)

This takes a lot of time to work through.

6. Over-generalizing “everything is always rubbish” “nothing good ever happens” (Seeing a pattern based upon a single event or being overly broad in the conclusions we draw.

7. Disqualifying the positive – Discounting the good things that have happened or that you have done for some reason or another. That doesn’t count.

8. Magnification (catastrophising) & minimization – Blowing things out of proportion (catastrophising) or inappropriately shrinking something to make it seem less important.

9. Should, Must, Ought – These are critical words “should”, “must”, “ought” can make us feel guilty, or like we have already failed. If we apply “should” to other people the result is often frustration – Get Rid of Using these words!

10. Personalization (this is my fault) – Blaming yourself or taking responsibility for something that wasn’t completely your fault. Conversely, blaming other people for something that was your fault.

Another comment noted is one I have said out loud almost daily

I feel fat —-> Is not a feeling nor is it an emotion.

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