You Should Know That Cognitive Distortions Never Work, Yet You Always Use Them!

Posted by tonyoverbay

Do you always feel like you’re never going to get what you want? Do you continuously find yourself thinking, “I should have done that differently?” (Knowing that NOBODY likes to be “should on?”). Or have you ever found yourself in the midst of what feels like a pretty good day, when one thing goes south and then you feel like your entire day is shot? Welcome to the world of “cognitive distortions.” These negative patterns of thinking are all-to-common, but they lead to increased feelings of anxiety and worry...two feelings that I believe we have enough of already...we certainly don’t need our automatic thought processes piling on as well. In today’s episode, Tony references the article “Challenging Our Cognitive Distortions and Creating Positive Outlooks,” by Dana White, LMHC, from Psychcentral.com https://psychcentral.com/lib/challenging-our-cognitive-distortions-and-creating-positive-outlooks/


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Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!


Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.


This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.


Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo


Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.


You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

EP228 - Cognitive Distortions Never Work-2020-10-14
[00:00:01] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, do you always feel like you're never going to get what you want out of life, or do you always find yourself thinking about what you should have done instead of what you already did? Well, welcome to the world of cognitive distortions. Now, if you go back and listen to what I just finished saying, you'll hear the words always, never. And did you realize that you just should all over yourself? We'll talk about these words and several others that ultimately leave us feeling a sense of worry and increased anxiety. Again, we're talking cognitive distortions coming up on the virtual couch.

[00:00:42] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 228 of the virtual couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay and I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. And where's the rest of the intro? So I had somebody in my office a few days ago and they claim that they have listened to all of my podcast episodes and they asked me if I was a marriage and family therapist or a clinical social worker. They couldn't remember. And then they said something funny. They said, you know, I feel like I would know this after hearing two hundred and something versions of your intro, but I can't really remember what you've said. And so that kind of took that to heart. I thought, man, I don't even think about it. As I'm saying it, the part about being a certified man will have a coach and husband and speaker and father and author of a book and the path back, pornography, recovery and all those good things. But they are all still the case. And maybe I will try to weave them into the episode today. But let's mix it up. I'm glad you're here. And we're going to talk about cognitive distortions. And as I often like to do, I am going to use an article that is called Challenging Our Cognitive Distortions and Creating Positive Outlooks. And that is by Donna White, who is a licensed mental health counselor.

[00:01:50] And this article was first published in October of 2018, one of my favorite websites like Central.com. So I've wanted to do an episode on cognitive distortions for a very long time because I believe that you'll hear so many phrases and sayings today that have most likely crept into your own speech patterns. And as I want to stress at every single opportunity that I can, the goal with this episode, the goal here is to create a no shame zone. The goal is to bring some awareness and challenge you to try and make a little bit of a change moving forward, based hopefully on some of the things that you hear today, because cognitive distortions can really start to creep in, even with the most intelligent, the most aware people when they are sitting in my office and especially with couples, not, you know, even individuals, you hear these concepts of that always happens. I never get what I want. He always says this. It'll never work. And quite frankly, I don't think that we even realize that we are doing this, that we're slipping into these cognitive distortions. And there's plenty more more than just the all or nothing black and white thinking. But we don't even realize that they become such a part of our speech. And I feel like at the core, cognitive distortions just come out of us because we don't often feel like we're going to be heard.

[00:03:08] So we find this subconscious resorting to no one will ever hear me. This is the way it will always happen. Nothing good ever happens to me. And I feel like at the heart of a cognitive distortion is when you just don't feel like you are going to be heard, you're going to say or use words that are kind of just screaming, somebody listen to me or somebody take me seriously. So I want to jump right into well, let me first define what a cognitive distortion is. And I really feel like Dana White explained this very well in her opening paragraph. She talked about and this was twenty eighteen. I think we've got a bit of a different scenario going on here in twenty twenty. But she said in this time of mounting economic issues and financial burdens that the stress of everyday life many of us find ourselves in a state of constant worry and worrying is not a solution to problems, but rather a non-productive way of thinking. And I want to add in here my own two cents that really we want to keep in mind that our brain, bless its little pink squishy heart, is constantly thinking that it's doing us a favor, that it's doing us a solid. So even worry we can think our brain because worrying and worrying will bring on anxiety.

[00:04:19] Anxiety brings on these fight or flight chemicals. And our brain thinks that it is doing us a favor by making us hyper alert or hyper aware of what's going on around us so that it can protect us, but often to our own detriment. So she said that many individuals often confuse worrying with planning. However, planning produces action, while worrying tends to produce more anxiety. And she says worrying is often the result of her own cognitive distortions. Enter today's topic. Cognitive distortions are defined as exaggerated into irrational thoughts. And here's one of the ways where and I love this article and she brings up all of the cognitive distortions and ways to challenge them. And we're going to do that. But I'm going to add my own two cents in here where she says this, explores this article, explore several common cognitive distortions and ways that we can challenge these thoughts. And I do appreciate the concept of challenging a thought. But I think this is where my love of acceptance and commitment therapy kicks in because acceptance and commitment therapy is truly recognizing a thought, maybe making room for the thought, thinking my brain for the thought, and then bringing my thought or my emotion along with me while I take a different course of action, one that matters to me or one that's maybe more meaningful to me.

[00:05:34] And we'll talk about that more as we go along here. So let's jump right in the first cognitive distortion that Donna mentions in this. Article is diminishing the positives, so she said that when we diminish the positives, we come up with several reasons why the positive events in our lives don't count. For example, one might say my proposal at the meeting went really well, but I just got lucky or I got a promotion on my job. But that's because no one else wanted it. And diminishing the positives will steal this joy. Are these good feelings from our accomplishments and our achievements. And I want you to think in terms of when you hear these cognitive distortions, is that something that you do or do you know someone that does these things? And I feel and I hope that my wife knows that everything I will say on my podcast is done with the utmost respect and love. But she is is one of the ultimate diminishing the positives because of her incredible humility. That is one of her strengths is this humility. But I will find that if she runs an incredible time or and boy, she's going to not like that. I'm sharing this. But she swam from Alcatraz to the shore eight different times at different races. And I've never done this thing once because I'm afraid that I will drowned or get eaten by sharks.

[00:06:42] But she's done this eight times. And if you bring that up now, it's not a big deal. And I'm thinking, OK, it's a huge deal. It's a mile and a half is in the current. It's cold. There are not everybody has done this, but it's really diminishing the positives and it's not a big deal. I just jump in there, I swim, but I'm terrified of swimming from Alcatraz to the shore. So diminishing the positives. Now, the challenge and what I love about this article I went to it is that Donna mentions a cognitive distortion and then defines it and then says, here's a challenge. And she says, embrace the positives and take pride in accomplishments, evaluate the thoughts and take away the negativity instead of terms like I got lucky or it's not a big deal. Believe that I was prepared or I did work hard. And increasing the positives will create a positive outlook. And then I think it truly will increase self-esteem. And I told myself today that I could go on a bit of a tangent or two. And the first tangent that comes to mind is with this concept of diminishing the positive. It reminds me of literally my favorite poem by Marianne Williamson. I did a whole episode on this a couple of years ago called Our Deepest Fear. And I'm going to read it and I'm going to tell you why this reminds me of this cognitive distortion.

[00:07:48] She says, Our deepest fears, not that we're inadequate. Our deepest fears that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us, she says. Who? We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant or gorgeous? Talented or fabulous, actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. And here's the part that came to mind with this cognitive distortion. She says you're playing small, does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you because we're all meant to shine as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that's within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our light so shine are as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. And I believe there are some deep principles in here that have to do with that cognitive distortion of diminishing the positive that I have found that the more that we talk about some of our accomplishments or take pride in them or the hard work that we do, that it truly can lift others around us.

[00:08:53] And I find that, yes, we need to be aware of not being overly prideful or braggadocios or any of those concepts. But I find that for the most part, I want to air on the side of confidence because that inspires others around us. When you think of leaders that inspire you, they are most likely confident now. Yes, they put in hard work and effort, but those are who are you to play small because it doesn't serve the world. I love when I will. I love helping people that are just starting out with a new podcast. I am, what, two hundred and twenty eight episodes in and I have download numbers that I never dreamed of. I never anticipated that the virtual couch would reach the audience that it has. And so what good does it do me to play small? Because I have heard many people say that they have felt like they could do a podcast as well after hearing topics or hearing me just talk about things that I love or that I'm passionate about. So do not diminish the positive. I love doing the Virtual Couch podcast and it is literally now reached almost every country in the world. And I get feedback that I never anticipated getting. And it is one of the my greatest accomplishments. And even saying that is hard, but don't discount the positive. That is a cognitive distortion. Challenge yourself. Take pride and know that, yeah, it's taken a lot of work. It's taking consistency, but man, is it worth it. OK, next up, the second cognitive distortion that Dunaway mentions is overgeneralization.

[00:10:27] So that is defined as taking a single negative experience and then expecting it to be forever true. So she says an individual practicing this cognitive distortion may say, I didn't have friends in middle school. I'll never have friends in high school or I was. Able to pass that test, so I'll never pass any tests, so the challenge here is that we will all have negative events that take place in our lives and some of these events are going to hurt more than others. Some are going to impact us more than other events will. And so the challenge is to take those negative events and truly recognize them, make room for them, but believe that we can create different outcomes in the future. So she says, instead of stating, I wasn't able to pass the test, so I'll never pass any. We want to reframe this. We want to challenge this cognitive distortion, this overgeneralization, and say, I didn't pass that one, but now I know what I need to do to pass the next test. And remember that a single negative experience does not hold true forever to negative experiences. Three, a dozen. It does not hold true forever. And it might also be helpful to reflect on times where a single negative experience did not have the same long lasting outcome. But I know that can be difficult. And let me throw in acceptance and commitment therapy. Principle in here is that our brain constantly is trying to orient itself, basing its thoughts on the past. Well, this happened in the past.

[00:11:49] I failed these tests or I didn't study enough or it's looking ahead at the future and it's saying, and what if I don't pass any other test on the future or what if I don't figure out how to study in the future? And so what it's trying to do is, again, Orient, this happened in the past. What if this happens in the future? But what that does not take into account is right now the present, what you can do right now. So I know I make this sound maybe overly simplistic, but one of the greatest tools that you learn in acceptance and commitment therapy is recognizing that when your brain says you passed, you didn't pass any of these tests in the past that you say, OK, thank you, Brain. I know that you mean. Well, you're you're telling me that I didn't pass these tests. And so that hasn't really helped me. But then it says and you might not ever pass these things in the future and all you can do with that information is say, OK, noted, maybe that could be true. But all I can do is deal with right now, right this very second in the moment in the present. So I will take those thoughts and I will bring them along with me.

[00:12:48] I will make room for those thoughts of what if I don't pass and I didn't pass in the past and then bring them along with me as I study, as I try to develop some nice new patterns of behavior, new neural pathways. OK, so instead of front loading the podcast with all of the information that I normally do, let me weave it in here between cognitive distortion. Number two, a number three, I would love if you would go to a virtual couch at virtual couch on Instagram. I'm an open things up a lot. There have a couple of people now behind the scenes that are doing amazing work and posting some quotes from episodes and trying to get a little bit more interaction and feedback with listeners. So go to virtual couch and follow me there. And I would love it if you share some of the quotes. If something really inspired you, feel free to share that. And I would be forever in your debt. And also I'm getting now these new these rough cuts, these edits of the magnetic marriage course that I have finished now with my buddy Preston Buckmeier, a fellow podcast. And it's good. I'm really excited about it.

[00:13:47] Who am I to play small? No cognitive distortion here we are teaching people how to communicate more effectively in marriage. So go to Tony Overbay dot com and just sign up there to find out more about what is coming up. Because the magnetic marriage course is game changing. It really is. So I cannot wait for you to find out more about that. All right. Let's get to cognitive distortion. Number three, filtering out the positives. Dana White says focusing on the negatives and filtering out all the positives is another example of a cognitive distortion. In this case, an individual focused on the one thing that went wrong instead of all of the things that went right. For example, she said, I once asked the client how things were going and their reply was awful. And when I asked her to elaborate, the client went on to say, I studied last night. I got up on time and made it to class. I passed my test. I ran into an old friend and I had lunch, but then I got a flat tire. So then the client said the date was awful because the flat tire and that they weren't able to focus on the positives of that day. So I love that. Dana says the challenge here, focus, focus, focus. So this is again, I'm going to throw in my own mindfulness concept here. I love using the app Headspace to practice mindfulness, but there are so many other ways to practice mindfulness, so many other apps. There are things you can do. There's music, there's tapping into smells or sounds or any of those things around you. But it's a way to just try to be present, be focused in the moment. And remember, the goal of mindfulness is not to completely clear your mind of thought. That is one of the biggest misnomers on the planet. The goal of a mindfulness activity or practicing mindfulness is letting yourself do some breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth, and that will lower your heart rate, which lowers and gets rid of all of those fight or flight chemicals that cortisol, adrenaline, all of those things.

[00:15:30] And when when you lower your heart rate and those fight or flight chemicals dissipate, then you are more calm and your prefrontal cortex, the frontal lobe, the part of your brain that can. Rationally, think comes alive, because when we get ourselves stressed, when we start thinking about things, ruminating about things, and we increase our heart rate and we get those fight or flight chemicals going, that thinking part of the brain, the frontal lobe, the prefrontal cortex shuts down. It's like light switch is literally flip off in our fight or flight brain or amygdala or reptilian or Neanderthal brain kicks in. So it is not interested in making a lot of sense of things at that point. So when we are using a mindfulness practice, we are learning how to when we notice that we are thinking something that might be going astray or heading in a negative direction, we turn back to our breathing or we tap into the sounds around us or the smells around us.

[00:16:23] And by focusing on that, rather than the negative rather than the negative outcomes or the negative thoughts that are going through our head, then we are thinking about our breathing or sounds or the smells, and it lowers our heart rate and reduces these fight or flight chemicals. And we can be more present and in the moment. So instead of not thinking about anything, we're thinking about our breathing, we're thinking about the wind or feeling the wind on our skin or rustling through our hair. If I had hair, I think you get the point. So she says, focus on the positives, review the events of the day or that moment. And I like her example or she says, create a game of positive versus negative. She said it might even be helpful that you might want to write down a list, fold a piece of paper in half and write down all the good things that have happened and a list of all the bad things. And she said this might seem challenging at times, but more often than not, we'll discover that the positive side wins and sometimes writing it down creates just the visual. We need to put things in perspective. There's a exercise in my pornography recovery program, the path back, which I guess I could work in the plug for, go to path back recovery dotcom. And there you will find a nice strength based, hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be way to overcome pornography and put it behind you once and for all.

[00:17:37] But in that program, I have a very simple exercise which is called wrong thought. Right. And so when you are thinking this quote, wrong thought where you want to relapse or you want to do something that you know is not going to be helpful or productive for you, that one of the best things you can do is that even as you think that, quote, wrong thought, just think about what would be a better alternative. Just think about it. Just give it a little bit of energy. So if you're thinking I have no one around me and my brain immediately says, OK, I can act out, then even if you are starting to act out, just give the right thought a chance. Just give it a little bit of give it a little bit of air time there and just think or I could go outside right now or I could call a friend. So that is one of the things that you can just focus on, the positive things that could happen. I'm not saying this is just a just wake up and choose to be happy and life will be fine. It is not that, but it's just being aware or even bringing up that positive thought. And that is a way to start to just train your brain that when you are going to the negative, that it's at least going to allow some room for positive as well.

[00:18:43] So cognitive distortion, number four is making everything a catastrophe, often known as catastrophizing. This is when an individual expects the worst scenario to happen. And some of us are really good at this. I have to tell you, I've never thought of it in this context, but my undergraduate degree was in mass communications with an emphasis on public relations. So I took a few public relations courses. I did not work in the public relations field, but I often found myself catastrophizing things for probably the first ten to 15 years of my marriage or my postgraduate life. And I used to say, let's the public relations professional and be OK. I took three PR classes. Just because it was the emphasis of my undergraduate mass communications degree did not mean that I had PR juice flowing in my veins. So I would often think of what's the worst thing that could happen? And then I would work backwards from that and try to anticipate the worst thing that could happen and all of the things I could put in place to avoid the catastrophe. So she said, for an example, an individual involved in this type of thinking might say there's a 30 minute delay in traffic, I'll never get to work. Or the pilot said there's turbulence, we are going to crash. So the challenge here, she says, is to once you are aware of those thoughts and think positive, take the event for what it is and try not to make anything other than that.

[00:20:02] If there's a delay in traffic, think rationally. Instead of saying, I never am going to get there, try to reframe that and think I might be late, but I'll get there. In the meantime, focus on any of the things you can. She says focus on positive things you can do, such as enjoying the scenery. You're listening to your favorite music, and you might find that engaging in another positive thought decreases the amount of time that there is for negative thinking. I love the way that she frames that. Again, it is a version of mindfulness. So if I am stuck in traffic and there's nothing I can do, I'm human. Absolutely. I will start to get frustrated or I will find my my heart rate raising and my blood pressure elevating and my fight or flight. Response kicking in, but then once I am aware of that and one of those scenarios that is one of the most one of the best places to practice mindfulness because there isn't anything you can do about that traffic jam. So at that point, look at your hands on the steering wheel, listen to music, roll the window down, feel the air and just try to be as present as you can. The number five cognitive distortion that she mentions is jumping to conclusions. And I find that I'm guilty of many of these. I don't know if you're having that same experience as you hear these.

[00:21:13] But number five, jumping to conclusions is defined as making interpretations without actual evidence. So she says in this case, the individual often make those interpretations negative. So one might claim without cause. I know my co-worker doesn't like me because of the way he looks at me or I just know that I'm going to have a bad day. So she issues a challenge to think before you leap to a conclusion. That is, if you find yourself engaging in this type of thinking, take a step back and ask yourself, do I really know this to be true? And if the answer is no, then focus on the things that you know to be true. And it's also important to remember to try your best to not negatively predict the future. I will so often think and sometimes I will say in my practice in my office that I did not know that you owned a crystal ball, as someone would say. And I know that this negative thing is going to happen. So if you are going to predict the future, I might recommend predict if you're going to predict the negative ending, if you can just do me a favor. And just for the sake of allowing yourself or training your brain, think of a positive outcome as well. So if you say, I know I am going to have a bad day to day, then we can reframe that today might have some obstacles, but I'm going to overcome them.

[00:22:26] And I hope that will lead to a good day or I know that will lead to a good day. And that is one of the ways that you can train your brain. The No.6 cognitive distortion, and this is the one that I referred to in the opening, all or nothing thinking. And this is it might be number six on the list, but I think it's number one in our hearts. It's the always never every. So this distortion is described as thinking in things, in absolute terms, these all or nothing thoughts. So they contain these words always. Never. And an example. I never get picked. They always make bad decisions. Every time I try, I fail. So this is one of the things that I want you to do today is just your goal today is just to recognize when you say an all or nothing statement and then just even if you aren't in a position or don't feel like you can say, I guess that's not always the case or I know that me isn't never going to happen, then just bring some awareness to that. If you can verbalize it, say it out loud. If you think if you catch yourself doing that, just make note of it in your mind. And she said, just try. The challenge here is don't put yourself in a never always every box. These words are not only negative when used in this type of thinking, but they can do a number on your self-esteem.

[00:23:44] And here's my marriage therapist intervention or putting my two cents in here. I want you to hear this example and think of what you would say if this was your spouse saying this to you. If your spouse said, hey, I can never count on you because you're always late, you're never on time. And I think that if we're being honest with ourselves, maybe you've said that or maybe you've heard of your spouse say that. I hear it in my office often. And here's the problem. If we're talking about I would like for you to be earlier when someone says you never are on time, you're always late. What's the first thing that you would think of? It's not, oh, wow. I hear them. It's all I will point out ten different times where I was on time or I will point out five times that you were actually late. And so now we're having this argument about when I was early, when you were late, and maybe you can see where I'm going here. That's certainly not productive. So the all or nothing or black or white thinking can really be a challenge because it puts the other person on the defensive. You never are there for me.

[00:24:45] Then the person is going to say, what about the time when this or what about the time when that? And that's where you see conversations devolve. That's why these cognitive distortions can be such a challenge, because they cause people to even if you are diminishing the positive. One of those ones we talked about earlier, if you say I, I passed this test today and I got a raise and but I got really sick when I ate lunch, and so that ruined my day. Then if somebody finds himself listening to you say that and they say, OK, but it sounds like the situation at work went well, it's not often the case that the person that just described this getting sick at lunch is going to say, you know what, you're right. No, they're going to they feel like we didn't just hear me told you I got sick at lunch. So cognitive distortions will really just throw the conversation off track. Let me get to number seven, which is labeling and with labeling. An individual with this distortion labels themselves based on mistakes or shortcomings, and they often use negative language. And this. You can just suck the energy out of a room, they use words such as, I'm a failure, I'm a loser, I will never be good at anything.

[00:25:47] I'll never get what I want. And again, we've got this one's a little combo pack because we've got those we've got that all or nothing thinking, and then we have these labels as well. So the challenge that Donna says is for every negative, there's a positive. So many times after a disappointing moment or a failed attempt at something, then we label ourselves as failures are stupid and challenging these negative thoughts by replacing them with positives can be difficult. She's suggesting that is what we need to do. And I understand that. But I also feel like going back to some nice acceptance and commitment therapy techniques is if we find ourselves saying I'm a loser, that's one word that carries so much negative energy. So doing a little bit of self is context, kind of stepping back from the situation. And I notice that I am feeling like a loser is a little bit better than I'm a loser. But if it's me and I notice check this out. I notice that I'm feeling like a loser. What's the story that my brain's telling me? My brain's telling me the story that I didn't pass this test and so I'm never going to pass any tests.

[00:26:44] And so by just taking a step back and removing yourself from that situation, you can have a better perspective on that and kind of recognize, OK, I'm noticing that's a label. And so I'm going to just set that I'm a loser thing aside here and I'm going to bring it along with me maybe while I am trying to engage in something that is more productive or maybe a better value based goal of mine, we've got one more. So the eighth cognitive distortion is personalization. So personalization involves assuming responsibility for things that are outside of one's control. For example, without having anything to do with the situation, somebody might say it's my fault that my daughter had an accident or I'm the one to blame for his work being done incorrectly. And so the challenge can be using critical thinking skills. Think logically, when we personalize things, we take on the full responsibility and bless your heart. If you are one of these that your kid is struggling in math and then you say, OK, no, that's my bad. I didn't spend enough time with him in math three years ago when I had no idea that it would have this kind of impact down the road.

[00:27:51] We can't personalize or take that responsibility on everything, do not place unnecessary blame on yourself for the behaviors or for the actions or the responsibilities of others. And unfortunately, oftentimes, if you are the one who personalizes or takes responsibility for things that aren't truly under your control, we almost create this enmeshment or this co-dependency where someone around you is going to say, yeah, that is your fault. And so oftentimes they're not going to take ownership of their part as well. And I feel like this is one of those challenges when we talk about things like gaslighting or when we talk about things where people start to feel crazy, where if they've been told that this is your fault enough times, then they start to believe that unfortunately I hear situations a lot. I was going to say all the time I was going to use them all or nothing thinking. But I hear so many situations, especially through email, whenever I do a podcast about narcissism or gaslighting, that I get such feedback where people did not even know that was there was a name for what they were experiencing in their relationships where someone makes them feel absolutely crazy, where someone might lose something and they immediately blame it on their spouse so they can't find. This is when I just got a couple of days ago where they found out that their spouse lost their tie or it was a tie that they wanted.

[00:29:16] And so the guy couldn't just say, can't find my tie. He eventually said, OK, you've changed things in my closet. You've hung some clothes up here. What did you do with my tie? And she's saying, I didn't do anything with your tie. And he's saying, no, you did, because I know that I put it right here. And so, of course, she tells me that a few days later he finds his tie. Does he say anything about it? No, he does not. But in that moment, she started to think, gosh, that I move his tie. I don't think I moved. I'm confident I didn't move his tie. But so when someone is guest late or told so many times that it's your fault, they will tend to personalize everything oftentimes because they feel like that's the path of least resistance. If I do this, at least he'll move on from this conversation. But it's not healthy. It is not a healthy way to communicate with your spouse. All right. That is a list of cognitive distortions. I would love for you today to try to just make yourself aware of times where you might be engaging in one of these cognitive distortions. If there's somebody in your life that you recognize uses these cognitive distortions often, then forward on this this episode.

[00:30:21] I feel like this is not one of those episodes where somebody is going to be overly offended, because I feel like if you have a tiny bit of self-awareness when you hear about these cognitive distortions, I feel like we probably can all at me all or nothing. I feel that most of us will recognize times where we engage in one of these cognitive distortions. And so our goal now. Now is to be aware of them and just try to make a little change, try to be aware of the any of these that are your top two or three that you turn to often just do a little bit better, have a little bit more awareness today, and you'll start to feel like you're starting to make some change and some change for good, replacing these kind of distortions with more healthy or positive ways to interact or think. All right. Hey, I appreciate you taking the time to listen to the virtual couch. I am so grateful for that. And taking us out, as per usual, is the wonderful, the talented Aurora Florence with its wonderful.

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