This entails ascribing any untoward incident or reaction to one's own self,even if the cause or the target lie elsewhere.
Consider this---Neeta's hubby Anil, has been moody & uncommunicative since the last few days.She concludes that he has a grouse against her.Her mind goes like this"Now what did i do wrong?","Why is he so churlish?","How dare he humiliate me by not responding to my remarks?I will show him!" etc. etc.You get my point?She has at once concluded that this change in his behavior is connected with her.The poor fellow might be worrying about a health issue or struggling with a problem at work, but Neeta is fuming & fretting without any basis.Not only that,she has also poisoned the atmosphere of her home by being equally surly in return. Anil,already consumed by a serious conflict, is further chagrined, & now they both have another problem on their hands.
Instead of jumping to conclusions when confronted by unpleasantness,it is far more productive to ponder if it is really connected to you?Maybe you are reading too much into it.
As often happens-A shouts at B & B goes off at a tangent.He forgets that A is human after all & maybe he was perturbed because of a crisis which made him lose control; and it had nothing to do personally with him.B upsets his equilibrium & a relationship without genuine cause.He could easily have shrugged it off & gone whistling.
This refers to the habit of thinking black & white,or vacillating between two extremes.Such people are highly emotional & rash.They do not perceive reality as it is.When required to make a choice they will opt for either all or nothing.They cannot think of a solution which lies in between.This spells disaster.It rules out a sound,pragmatic course of action.It also disrupts their relationships because they will first unjustifiably place a person on a pedestal & then break all ties when disillusioned.Such an attitude causes emotional upheavals,leading to disastrous consequences.For example if someone fails to win the affections of a particular individual,or cannot achieve a cherished goal, s/he would rather commit suicide than look for another option.
This indicates the propensity to focus on only one aspect of a situation neglecting other relevant details.Mostly it is the negative aspect which is focused upon.Those who have low confidence or self esteem are usually in the habit of behaving thus.They ruminate over one shortcoming & forget other positive traits of their personality.Naturally this results in a melancholic temperament.
Selective abstraction is responsible for a person misjudging situations and relationships.One negative factor is given all importance while other positive elements are totally ignored.No wonder unhappiness & pessimism set in.
Magnification & Minimization
A person habituated to this sort of distortion does not see reality as it exists.He tends to view his lapses & drawbacks as much larger than they really are;while he ignores his strengths & achievements.Carrying on in a similar vein,he will exaggerate the negative results of his actions & not recognize the positive fallout.This is bound to slash at his confidence & self esteem.When this happens,he becomes despondent & life loses it's charm.Even if such a person is extolled for a well executed job by his boss;the moment a couple of mistakes are pointed out he concludes that he is no good.If he is given to catastrophization,he will chew his nails out,imagining this to be the end of his career.
Sometimes one bitter experience goads us to extend our fear or dislike of it to all such experiences for all times to come.This reminds me of Priya whose favorite stress-buster used to be going to a cinema hall with her gang & watching movies.Every week she used to eagerly wait for this outing--till a cinema hall caught fire,killing many.Ever since that day she has not ventured near one ,even though she yearns for those jaunts.
This is a clear case of overgeneralization.We often indulge in this to a lesser extent when one unfortunate encounter leaves us hating & avoiding the whole class or community.
We cannot control the frustration arising from vexing life events,but surely a lot can be done if the same stems from cognitive distortions.If left unchecked,these habits can culminate in mental diseases like Depression,Borderline Personality Disorder ,Bipolar Disorder etc. etc.In order to get rid of these distortions we can do the following:---
*First & foremost,it is imperative to note when & how you are being swayed by a cognitive distortion.Look back upon your past & then decide which deviation do you mostly indulge in,so that you can be alert to it's incursion.
*When you find yourself giving in to irrational thinking make a reality check.Are you hundred percent sure that things are as you have judged them to be?
*Is there any evidence to support your opinion or your fears?
*Would a neutral observer agree with you?
*Think of a well adjusted person whom you hold in high esteem--would s/he react to the situation as you are doing?
*Even if your apprehensions are well founded on facts;is it a given outcome in all cases or is it the exception?What chances are there of you being adversely affected?
Taxing your brain with such strictures can help you to get rid of erroneous thinking & replace it with sound judgement.This will cut down your frustrations & augment your peace of mind.
Lastly,here is a gem from the web to help you in your pursuit of happiness.Enjoy !!!!!!!