Types of Cognitice (Thinking) Distortions
- All or nothing thinhking – You see things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
- Overgeneralization – You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
- Magnifying the negative – You exaggerate the importance of a negative thins (such as your goof-up), or 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 the entire pitcher of water.
- Minimizing the positive – You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences. Or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities).
- Jumping to conclusions – You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion. There are two types. Mind reading is when you arbitrarily conclude that someon is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. Fortune teller error is when you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.
- Should statements – You try to motivate yourself with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”, as if you had been whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct “should” statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment. It is important to note that this isn’t talking able basic “shoulds” like “I should brush my teeth”. This is instead talking about taking “shoulds” to the extreme.
- Labeling and mislabeling i This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself, such as “I’m a loser”. When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him or her like “s/he’s a louse”. Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
- Personalization – You see yourslef as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.
- Emotional Reasoning – “Because I feel it, it must be true.” without any other supporting evidence.