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 Post subject: Untwisting
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:54 pm 
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This is just because typing is faster than writing all of this in my journal..lol.

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1. All-or-nothing thinking - You see things in black-or-white categories. If a situation falls short of perfect, you see it as a total failure. When a young woman on a diet ate a spoonful of ice cream, she told herself, "I've blown my diet completely." This thought upset her so much that she gobbled down an entire quart of ice cream.


I got upset at this event because it was boring and the DJ snapped at me because he thought I was criticizing his music, when all I asked was if he was going to play any songs that were more current.

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2. Overgeneralization - You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as "always" or "never" when you think about it. A depressed salesman became terribly upset when he noticed bird dung on the window of his car. He told himself, "Just my luck! Birds are always crapping on my car!"


I think that these situations are always going to make me feel bad. That this person is always going to make me feel bad. That not being able to drink on New Year's is always going to suck for me. People don't "make" me feeling anything. I had a good New Year's last year when I didn't drink.

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3. Mental Filter - You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors a beaker of water. Example: You receive many positive comments about your presentation to a group of associates at work, but one of them says something mildly critical. You obsess about his reaction for days and ignore all the positive feedback.


I was dwelling on the DJ snapping at me. I was not involving myself in conversations. I was thinking that I could have fun and get attention without doing the work. I wasn't thinking about how happy everyone was to see me. Or that fact that one of my friends knew I was low on money and bought a Red Bull for me. I was allowing a DJ's tantrum to color the rest of my night. I was allowing my jealous feelings of someone to take away my good time.

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4. Discounting the positive - You reject positive experiences by insisting that they "don't count." If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn't good enough or that anyone could have done as well. Discounting the positives takes the joy out of life and makes you feel inadequate and unrewarded.


I wasn't thinking of the good things, I was dwelling on the bad. I wasn't thinking that I was with people that cared about me, I was thinking that they weren't giving me the attention I wanted.

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5. Jumping to conclusions - You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion.

Mind Reading : Without checking it out, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you.

Fortune-telling : You predict that things will turn out badly. Before a test you may tell yourself, "I'm really going to blow it. What if I flunk?" If you're depressed you may tell yourself, "I'll never get better."


There may have been some facts, but I chose not to refute my beliefs. I gave in to them. I was mind reading and fortune telling. I was thinking that so and so cared about everyone but me and that I would never feel okay at these types of things.

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6. Magnification - You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of your desirable qualities. This is also called the "binocular trick."


I thought of myself as worthless for being jealous. I thought of myself as worthless after the DJ snapped at me.

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7. Emotional Reasoning - You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel terrified about going on airplanes. It must be very dangerous to fly." Or, "I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person." Or, "I feel angry. This proves that I'm being treated unfairly." Or, "I feel so inferior. This means I'm a second rate person." Or, "I feel hopeless. I must really be hopeless."


I let my fear color my interpretation of reality. I projected and assumed that my feelings were indicators of the reality of the situation.

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8. "Should" statements - You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. After playing a difficult piece on the piano, a gifted pianist told herself, "I shouldn't have made so many mistakes." This made her feel so disgusted that she quit practicing for several days. "Musts," "oughts" and "have tos" are similar offenders.


I told myself that I should not feel jealous. I should not be upset. I should not ask for help. I should always apologize. There is no "should." The reality is that I'm human and I have feelings, whether I like them or not. They are not good and they are not bad. They just are.

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9. Labeling - Labeling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you attach a negative label to yourself: "I'm a loser." You might also label yourself "a fool" or "a failure" or "a jerk." Labeling is quite irrational because you are not the same as what you do. Human beings exist, but "fools," "losers" and "jerks" do not. These labels are just useless abstractions that lead to anger, anxiety, frustration and low self-esteem.


I labeled myself as a bad person when I'm really a human with shortcomings like everyone else.

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10. Personalization and Blame - Personalization comes when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn't entirely under your control. When a woman received a note that her child was having difficulty in school, she told herself, "This shows what a bad mother I am," instead of trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem so that she could be helpful to her child. When another woman's husband beat her, she told herself, "If only I was better in bed, he wouldn't beat me." Personalization leads to guilt, shame and feelings of inadequacy.


I blamed myself for other's actions. I put myself completely responsible.

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1. Identify The Distortion: Write down your negative thoughts so you can see which of the ten cognitive distortions you're involved in. This will make it easier to think about the problem in a more positive and realistic way.


X likes Y more than me. I hate Y because Y takes up all of X's time. D yelled at me and hates me. I shouldn't have asked the question I did. X is talking to everyone more than me. X hates me. X sees me as needy. I hate being sober. All of my friends get to drink. Being sober sucks. I wish I could have gotten trashed at a club like I used to.

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2. Examine The Evidence: Instead of assuming that your negative thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it. For example, if you feel that you never do anything right, you could list several things you have done successfully.


Yes, X likes Y more, but that's how life is. X also cares about me, too. X wouldn't go to all of the trouble to be friends with me if he didn't care about me.

Yes, I do hate Y, but Y is a nice person. And I don't hate Y, I'm scared of Y because I feel she is taking X away from me. I don't have to be afraid because that's how life is. X can care about Y and me at the same time. I can be happy not being the center of someone's universe because I can be secure in myself. Plus, Y has been nothing but kind to me. Y was happy to see me as well.

Yes, D yelled at me, but it wasn't my fault. He was probably having a bad night and I'm sure that I'm not the only person in the world to have questioned his music choice.

Yes, X was talking to other people but so was I. It was a party. That's what happens at parties. If I feel that I did something to make X mad, then I need to talk to him about it. It's not that he's mad, it's just that I'm hypersensitive and always want to be the center of the universe.

X does not hate me. Even if X sees me as needy, there are other people in our group that act more needy than I do.

Being sober might not be the funnest thing in the world sometimes, but for the most part, I'm really content with the way my life is going right now. I just had a bad night last night. And when I think about it now, it's kind of funny. Let's see...it's New Year's and I want to drink because I'm an alcoholic. Go figure! LOL....

Yes, my friends can drink but they're not alcoholics. I am. I ruined my chance and it's no one's fault but my own.

I'm dwelling on the past. I'm thinking that getting drunk at the club was always fun when it wasn't. In fact, it was more not fun than it was fun. I'm just living in fantasy land there.

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3. The Double-Standard Method: Instead of putting yourself down in a harsh, condemning way, talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you would talk to a friend with a similar problem.


I was having a hard night. I didn't exhibit any attention seeking behavior. I didn't drink. I didn't call anyone 12 times. Yes, I get jealous. Yes, the situation was what it was but I don't have to hate myself for it.

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4. The Experimental Technique: Do an experiment to test the validity of your negative thought. For example, if during an episode of panic, you become terrified that you're about to die of a heart attack, you could jog or run up and down several flights of stairs. This will prove that your heart is healthy and strong.


I think I already did that in the examine the evidence step. I think some of my fears and feelings were very valid, but they are what they are. I understand that I tend to mind read and jump to conclusions. I also catastrophized last night a little bit, too. I don't think there's much I can do to do an experiment on my beliefs and feelings rather than just refuting them.

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5. Thinking In Shades Of Grey: Although this method may sound drab, the effects can be illuminating. Instead of thinking about your problems in all-or-nothing extremes, evaluate things on a scale of 0 to 100. When things don't work out as well as you hoped, think about the experience as a partial success rather than a complete failure. See what you can learn from the situation.


I would say the event was 50% okay at the begining and 5% okay when I left. I was 40% nervous at the begining and 90% nervous at the end. The good thing that I did was leave and go to a safe place, home with my fiance. I calmed down tremendously after being with him a few hours. Then I went to bed and felt better when I woke up.

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7. Define Terms: When you label yourself 'inferior' or 'a fool' or 'a loser,' ask, "What is the definition of 'a fool'?" You will feel better when you realize that there is no such thing as 'a fool' or 'a loser.'


Needy - yes, I felt needy, but I only texted my friend with "I'm having a really hard time." I didn't follow it up with 12 calls. I gave her the opportunity to call me if she wanted. I didn't expect her to call back because it was New Year's Eve. I'm even okay with it today because I'm an alcoholic and holidays are always hard for us. I don't have to feel bad that I asked for help. If I was truly needy, I would be calling every person up this morning or I would have insisted that certain people talk to me last night.

Attention seeking - yes, I like attention. Who doesn't? I want to kick myself for asking for help, but if I was really trying to get some inappropriate attention I would have been a lot more demanding. A simple text to another alcoholic saying that I was having a hard time at a party where everyone was getting drunk is not attention seeking behavior. It is smart. I texted her again this morning explaining what happened and telling her that I was fine and that I hoped she has a great weekend.

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8. The Semantic Method: Simply substitute language that is less colorful and emotionally loaded. This method is helpful for 'should statements.' Instead of telling yourself, "I shouldn't have made that mistake," you can say, "It would be better if I hadn't made that mistake."


It would have been better if I had just planned to go to that other party with my other friends. They are more mellow and we could have had a great time like we did last New Year's Eve, playing Wii. Next year, I know what to do differently.

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9. Re-attribution: Instead of automatically assuming that you are "bad" and blaming yourself entirely for a problem, think about the many factors that may have contributed to it. Focus on solving the problem instead of using up all your energy blaming yourself and feeling guilty.


There were many factors that played into last night. X is the type of person that gets consumed when Y is around. I don't have to be the center of X's universe. In fact, I don't even have to be friends with people like that. I can keep my distance. Someone's behavior doesn't mean that I'm a bad person. Next time I will hang out with people who are not as self centered as X.

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10. Cost-Benefit Analysis: List the advantages and disadvantages of a feeling (like getting angry when your plane is late), a negative thought (like "No matter how hard I try, I always screw up"), or a behavior pattern (like overeating and lying around in bed when you're depressed). You can also use the cost benefit analysis to modify a self-defeating belief such as, "I must always try to be perfect."


Advantages of feeling insecure: I know how to change my behavior. I am conscious of how I come across to others.

Disadvantages of feeling insecure: I am so focused on myself that I don't have a good time. I come across as needy or stuck up. I don't have a good time. I think that people hate me.

Advantages of being jealous: I am aware of how I feel around certain people. I am aware of my pattenrs.

Disadvantages of being jealous: I am consumed with others. I let my feelings control me. I let others dictate how I feel. I see things in all or nothing extremes. I avoid. I don't sleep.

Advantages of being hard on myself: I won't do it again.

Disadvantages of being hard on myself: I cut or I punish myself. I don't sleep. I see myself as worthless.


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