Stone of stumbling and rock of offense (wordweaverlynn) wrote,
Stone of stumbling and rock of offense

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Warped Thinking

Common cognitive distortions. (The link came from mamahogswatch else-LJ.) How many do you regularly use? I can see some old, old friends on this list, plus a few I've thrown out. And some I've rarely indulged in. At 50, I'm just becoming able to say that something is unfair. I never expected fairness. Nor did I expect a reward for doing good or doing something well. Whenever I did a good deed, my mother always told me I'd get my reward in heaven, and my home church had an unhealthy interest in martyrdom as a response to good works.("If it was illegal to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?")

The "shoulds" can be surprising. When I'm annoyed with someone, it's often because they have transgressed one of my unconscious rules for survival in my family. It used to drive me nuts that my husband would stroll in and out of the bathroom while getting ready in the morning -- I never knew when he was done. Finally it occurred to me that we were playing by different rules. He and his one brother shared a bathroom of their own. I grew up with as many as seven people using one small bathroom.

Similarly, I have a fairly strong reaction against people hogging the spotlight or grandstanding. It's not just that it seems selfish given that parental attention was in such short supply. Asking for too much time or energy from one of them could lead to violence against any or all of us, so it feels like someone is actively endangering me.

What surprises me is that this list leans so heavily toward the negative. I've found denial and wishful thinking to be at least as destructive in my own life. Interestingly, it's other people's denial and wishful thinking that have been so damaging; my mother and ex-husband were black belts in those arts. And I've indulged, too. I saw the problems in my marriage through a filter of denial.

My personal distortion is the internal control fallacy: everything that goes wrong is my fault. It's like being a superhero in reverse.

What are your unspkoen rules?
Tags: psychology
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