UNDOING Thinking Errors
Because the brain assumes all completely new input is legitimate (“First Info”), it’s especially important for ACoAs to consciously double-check the value & ‘sanity’ of all new relationships & experiences, whenever possible, Looking back, we can see that incomplete or blatantly wrong info can have severe consequences for us – especially when making important decisions.
“Cognitive fusion” = taking thoughts very, very seriously. We believe them, buy into them, obey them & play them out.
“Cognitive defusion” = the opposite: stepping back from thoughts, to evaluate them objectively, holding them lightly. We only listen to them if they’re valuable or helpful. They’re simply bits of language passing through the brain.
☁︎ Identify your CDs
Write down recurring beliefs & upsetting thoughts. Match them to the list of CDs, & notice the ones you favor. This will help to identify your family’s beliefs
• Instead of automatically blaming yourself for difficulties you experience, take careful notice of external factors that may have caused or contributed to a problem.
Even of you did have something to do with the outcome, self-blame only keeps you from figuring out options, helpful ways of coping or solving the problem
• Do a cost-benefit analysis to identify the advantages & disadvantages of using CDs & nurturing your S-H. List any reasons you still hang on to harmful thinking (review Negative Benefits), as well as the ways they continue to damage you.
☁︎ Check the evidence
See if your own assumptions or any new info you recently got from someone else – is valid. ASK, read, think. Most of our inappropriate reactions to life are not just from our damage & inherent personality, but often because we don’t make the effort to search out readily available information that can supplement & correct our knowledge base
Re. YOU: As a counter-measure to negative thinking, list the times you’ve been successful, have reached a goal, accomplish a task….
— double check your thinking with people you trust, who have your best interest at heart & who have proven themselves consistently reliable & ‘sane’
Re. OTHERS: Gather as much info about ways to deal with a problematic or scary person / situation • that’s making you uncomfortable, or
• possibly, who is very important in your life
Go over what you already know & get help to NOT overlook something you may have originally assumed to be irrelevant, but which could actually be —
• the very thing that’s causing the most problem, OR
• what may provide a better or most useful solution
☁︎ Smart Listening
Develop a daily mental habit : Do not automatically accept as being legitimate – any important new info or experience – until you can check it out (“Don’t believe everything you hear & only half of what you see or read”!)
• Label each new unproven item with a tag: “My teachers says… / I recently read in…” – to indicate it’s not yet verified. Once you’ve confirmed it, you can own it without the tag. “I don’t like Sam because…”
• Insulting name-calling (inferior, loser, a fool, chicken, crazy….) is about our person-hood. If it happens to you, check what was going on just before, & most of the time the label is about an action or event, rather than about your identity.
☁︎ Smart Talking
Notice & then write down your harsh thoughts, or the ones you hear from others. Put them aside & read them again a few days later. If you heard a parents talk like that to a child in a store or in a bus – how would you feel?
• Emotionally: say nice things to yourself – the opposite of your usual habit. Be gentle, kind, patient, supportive, what you would’ve liked to hear as a kid
• Mentally: talk to yourself & others in ‘shades of grey’’. This is not a compromise – but allows for variations, options & possibilities you have not previously considered
ALSO – add a qualifier then sharing ‘helpful’ facts or personal beliefs, opinions, advice, knowledge: “I think you might…., I heard a rumor that…, In my experience…., I read somewhere that…., This is just my point of view….”
NEXT: CDs & the Unconscious (Part 1)