This distortion happens when we have no room for middle ground. If we think that a small fault in ourselves means we’re fundamentally rotten or otherwise terrible, we’re likely engaging in . All or Nothing Thinking
I failed this interview, so I'll fail all my interviews.
If we’re taking a small problem and blowing it way out of proportion, we’re . Did you make a small mistake at work and are dreading if someone found out even though it’s nothing serious? You’re probably catastrophizing. Catastrophizing
Often this cognitive distortion is a series of thoughts, one after the other.
I took too long to answer that interview question
Because I took too long, I'll bet I failed the interview.
Because I failed this one, I'll probably fail all interviews I get.
Because I'll fail all my interviews, I'm probably just bad at this career and I should give up.
Some mental health professionals call this "making a mountain out of a molehill."
"I feel it, therefore it must be true."
If we find ourselves justifying the "danger" of something innocuous because we’re afraid of it, then we’re likely engaging in . Things aren’t dangerous because we’re afraid of them and we’re not awful just because we may think we are. Emotional Reasoning
This one is often hard to recognize. It takes some effort to recognize when your emotional mind is taking the logical reins.
I feel guilty, therefore I must have done something bad.
I feel scared, therefore this must be dangerous.
We often overestimate our abilities to predict what will happen. This can happen when we start at something we're worried might happen and then look for evidence that it will occur.
If we're worried the plane we're on will crash, we may take any scratch on the wing or strange tone in the pilots announcement as proof of our concern.
The plane I'm about to get on will crash.
I'll fail this interview.
I'll get sick at this party.
If we're judging a situation based entirely on the negative parts and not considering the positive parts, we're likely magnifying the negative. If we’re constantly berating ourselves for bombing a job interview, we're probably filtering out all the experience we gained from that interview.
I ate healthy this week, but I skipped the run I had planned.
If we're taking one characteristic of a person and applying it to the whole person, we're . If someone brushed us off, they might not be a "jerk," maybe they're just in a hurry. This applies to ourselves as well; just because we make a mistake doesn't mean we're a "failure." Labeling
I failed a test, so I'm a bad student.
I think I was rude to George, I'll bet he hates me.
If we downplay the good things that are happening to us, we're minimizing the positive. Even if our day didn't go 100% as planned, it doesn't mean that the 60% that did go right should be ignored.
Many people liked my presentation, but I stumbled giving the intro, so it was bad.
If a bad situation must be the fault of someone else, we're other-blaming. If you failed an exam and you're blaming the teacher, you're directing your energy to the wrong place. Someone cut you off on the highway? If you honk your horn, flip them off, and stew, how is that helping? Now you're cut off and mad!
This doesn't mean you have to blame yourself for every negative situation. You don't have to blame anyone. No one has to be at fault if you let the situation pass without attaching blame.
That jerk is taking too long in line and I'm going to be late!
If we draw conclusions based on just one example, we're over-generalizing. If you bombed a presentation and assume that means you're "bad" at presenting, you're over-generalizing.
No one asked me to dance, so no one ever will.
If you're attributing a negative situation entirely to yourself, you're self-blaming. You don't have to be responsible for every bad thing that happens. If you're getting caught in traffic and you're berating yourself for not leaving earlier, you're self-blaming. Would you treat someone else this way?
My son is failing in school, I must have failed him.
If you're assigning someone abilities they don't have, you're using faulty "should" statements. For example, if you have a fear of flying and are telling yourself "I shouldn't be afraid of this, there's nothing wrong with the airplane!" you're putting an undue burden on yourself. You have a fear of flying! It's normal for people who have a fear of flying to be afraid flying!
Should statements can seem nonsensical when you say it out loud; that's the point! They're illogical!
I'm an adult, I shouldn't have these mental issues.