10 Cognitive Distortions that Lie to You

There are lies we believe that destroy our ability to be free from anxiety and despair. Cognitive distortions are tendencies or patterns of thinking or believing that are false or inaccurate and have the potential to cause psychological damage. When we give the lie a name and expose it to the light, that is half the battle. I hope these 10 distortions bring some truth into the way you act and how you react to situations. When we know the problem, then we can go about resolving it.

1. All-or-nothing thinking: You look at things in absolute, black-and-white categories.

2. Overgeneralization: You view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. For example, you lose a job and think you will never be hired.

3. Mental filter: You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.

4. Discounting the positives: You insist that your accomplishments or positive qualities "don't count."

5. Jumping to conclusions:

(A) Mind reading—you assume that people are reacting negatively to you when there's no definite evidence for this and this stems from a fear of rejection.

(B) Fortune-telling—you arbitrarily predict that things will turn out badly.

6. Magnification or minimization: You blow things way up out of proportion or you shrink their importance inappropriately.

7. Emotional reasoning: You reason from how you feel: "I feel like an idiot, so I really must be one." Or "l don't feel like doing this, so I'll put it off."

8. "Should” statements: You criticize yourself or other people with "shoulds" or "shouldn'ts." “Musts," "oughts," and "have tos" are similar offenders.

9. Labeling: You identify with your shortcomings. Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you tell yourself, "I'm a jerk," or "a fool," or "a loser."

10. Personalization and blame: You blame yourself for something you weren't entirely responsible for, or you blame other people and overlook ways that your own attitudes and behaviour might contribute to a problem.

Maybe you fit some of these, maybe you don’t but I am sure you know someone who is plagued with these lies on a daily basis. There is help. There is support. Check out CAMH you can call 416 535-8501 or 1 800 463-2338 toll-free, staffed 24/7.

For more information on cognitive distortions and cognitive behavioural therapy check out this article: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/cognitive-distortions/