Problem Thinking
That I must have love or approval from all the people I find significant.
In order to be worthwhile, one should be competent in almost all respects.
Things should always be exactly the way we want them to be (that is, it is terrible when they are not.)
Some people are intrinsically bad and deserve punishment.
Individuals have little control over their personal happiness and misery.
If there is some possibility that something may be dangerous (or go wrong) one should worry about it a great deal.
It is easier to avoid rather than face difficulties and responsibilities inherent in living.
A person's presnet and future behavior is irreversibly dependent upon significant past events.
A person should be extremely upset over problems of others.
Every problem has (should have, must have) an ideal solution and it is catastrophic when this solution is not found.
Life must be fair. ~ The world is often unfair and good guys sometimes do die young. It is better to accept this fact and concentrate on enjoying oneself despite it.
Emotional misery comes from external pressures and I have little ability to conrol or chantge my feelings. ~ Emotional disturbance is largely caused by the view one takes of condition. One has enormous control over one's destructive emotions if one chooses to work at changing the unscientific hypotheses employed to create them.

Thinking Errors
Part of this section may have originated from from "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David D. Burns, M.D.
© 1989 by David D. Burns, M.D. but I have found it in multiple places on the web without credits.

All-or None Thinking: You see things in black-and-white categories. if a situation or your performance falls short of perfect, you see it as a total failure. When a young woman on a diet ate a spoonful of ice cream, she told herself, "I've blown my diet completely." This thought upset her so much that she gobbled down an entire quart of ice cream! Change: begin to think in percentages.

Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as "always" or "never." Change: avoid words like always, never, none. Try mabe, sometimes, etc.

Mental Filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of all of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors a beaker of water. For example, you receive many positive comments about your presentation to a group of associates at work, but one of them says something mildly critical. You obsess about his reaction for days and ignore all the positive feedback. Change: accept positive comments as true.

Discounting the Positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don’t count." If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn’t good enough or that anyone could have done as well. Discounting the positive takes the joy out of life and makes you feel inadequate and unrewarded.

Jumping to Conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no facts to support your conclusions.
- Mind Reading: You base your actions on what you assume someone else thinks or feels. Change: check it out!
- Fortune Telling: Expecting the worst, you act on it like it was fact. Before a test you may tell yourself, "I’m really going to blow it. What if I flunk?" If you’re depressed you may tell yourself, "I’ll never get better." Change: accept now.

Magnification: You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of your desirable qualities. This is also called the "binocular trick."

Emotional Reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reject the way things really are: "I feel terrified about going on airplanes. It must be dangerous to fly." Or "I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person." Or "I feel angry. This proves I’m being treated unfairly." Or "I feel so inferior. This means I’m a second-rate person." Or "I feel hopeless. I must really be hopeless."

Blaming: You hold other people responsible for your pain, or blame yourself for everything. Change: there is a difference between taking responsibility and turning blame on yourself. Taking responsibility means accepting the consequences of your own choices. Blaming yourself means attacking your own self-esteem and labeling your self bad if you make a mistake!

Shoulds: You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act. People who break the rules anger you and you feel guilty if you violate the rules.You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. After playing a difficult piece on the piano, a gifted pianist told herself, "I shouldn’t have made so many mistakes." This made her feel so disgusted that she quit practicing for several days. "Musts," "oughts" and "have tos" are similar offenders.

"Should statements" that are directed against yourself lead to guilt and frustration. Should statements that are directed against other people or the world in general lead to anger and frustration: "He shouldn’t be so stubborn and argumentative."

Many people try to motivate themselves with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if they were delinquents who had to be punished before they could be expected to do anything. "I shouldn’t eat that doughnut." This usually doesn’t work because all these shoulds and musts make you feel rebellious and you get the urge to do just the opposite.
Change: no one set of values and priorities apply to everyone! Learn to appreciate each person's uniqueness, and their needs, limitations, fears, and pleasures.

Personalization: You think that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. This is the tendency to relate everything around you to yourself. Personalization occurs when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn’t entirely under your control. When a woman received a note that her child was having difficulties at school, she told herself, "This shows what a bad mother I am," instead of trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem so that she could be helpful to her child. When another woman’s husband beat her, she told herself, "If only I were a better wife, he wouldn’t beat me." Personalization leads to guilt, shame, and feelings of inadequacy.

Some people do the opposite. They blame other people or their circumstances for their problems, and they overlook ways that they might be contributing to the problem: "The reason my marriage is so lousy is because my spouse is totally unreasonable." Blame usually doesn’t work very well because other people will resent being scapegoated and they will just toss the blame right back into your lap. It’s like the game of hot potato – no one wants to get stuck with it.
Change: check it out, look for proof.

Labeling and Mislabeling: Labeling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you attach a negative label to yourself: "I’m a loser." You might also label yourself "a fool" or "a failure" or "a jerk." Labeling is quite irrational because you are not the same as what you do. Human beings exist, but "fools," "losers," and "jerks" do not. These labels are just useless abstractions that lead to anger, anxiety, frustration, and low self-esteem.

You also label others. When someone does something that rubs you the wrong way, you may tell yourself: "He’s a jerk." Then you feel that the problem is with that person’s "character" or "essence" instead of with their thinking or behavior. You see them as totally bad. This makes you feel hostile and hopeless about improving things and leaves little room for constructive communication.
Change: be specific. Ask yourself if a case is always true, or only true now, or only true some of the time.

Ten Ways to Untwist Your Thinking -- please note that Abby does not necissarily endorse the rest of the site where this article is located.

Magical Thinking Statements
"If only I had someone..."
"If only he/she would change, then..."
"When he/she has more time, then..."
"After the kids are grown, then..."
"If I love just a little bit more, then..."
"Next year, things will be better."
"After he/she is gone, then I'll be happy..."
"Until he/she shapes up..."
"Something is bound to happen soon."
"He/she can't stay this way forever."
"I'm waiting for him/her to hit bottom."
"I'm waiting for him/her to see the light."
"This isn't the real him/her."
"I don't have a problem; he/she does."
"I wish he/she would hurry up and change."
"I hope he/she sees me for what I really am."
"If only I had done more, he/she wouldn't have left."

Common Power Plays
Giving advice, but not accepting it
Having difficulty in reaching out and asking for support and love
Giving orders, demanding and expecting too much from others
Being judgmental, put-downs that sabotage other's success, fault-finding, persecuting, punishing
Holding out on others, not giving what others want or need
Making, then breaking promises, causing others to trust us and then breaking the trust
Smothering or over-nurturing the other
Patronizing, condescending treatment of the other that sets one partner up as superior and the other as inferior, intimidation
Making decisions for the other, discounting the other's ability to solve problems
Putting the other in "no-win" situations
Attempting to change the other, but unwilling to change the self
Attacking the other when he/she is the most vulnerable
Showing an anti-dependent attitude -- "I don't need you"
Using bullying, bribing behavior, using threats
Showing bitterness, grudge-holding, or self-righteous anger
Abusing others verbally or physically
Being agressive and defining it as assertiveness
Needing to win or be right
Resisting stubbornly or being set in one's own way
Having difficulty admitting mistakes or saying "I'm sorry"
Giving indirect, evasive answers to questions
Defending any of the above behaviors

Ask the Lord to show you which of these things you have problems with. Put a dot next to each one that the Lord points out to you.

Ask the Lord what He wants you to work on now. What did He say?


How did this problem in your thinking develop?




What does He want you to do to correct this problem thinking?




As you get a handle on one problem with thinking move on to another.

Be sure to discuss each one with your mentor.

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