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See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
1. MIND-READING (M-R)
a. OFFICIAL Meaning
This is one of the many Cognitive Distortions (CDs) that plague ACoA & alcoholic thinking: “… an arbitrary conclusion that someone is thinking or reacting negatively to you, without any real evidence… often going contrary to what the other person actually says or does, almost always pessimistic…”
• This CD is a projection of our WIC’s self-hate or the critical voice of our Negative Introject (PP). It is a form of narcissism, which makes the WIC conclude we are the same as the other person, so — if I think & feel a certain way, so will you!
Wikipedia: Psychological projection** is a defense mechanism whereby a person unconsciously denies their own attributes, thoughts & emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world (the weather, other people….)
It reduces anxiety by allowing a way to express unwanted / unacceptable unconscious impulses or desires, without the conscious mind recognizing those needs & wishes
**NOTE: It’s not the same as Projecting
🦠 Mind-reading is completely about us – not
about the person or group we’re referring to.
Because of that, we insure staying disconnected from the rest of humanity, which reinforces our sense of alienation. ACoAs are notorious for believing ‘We don’t belong anywhere’, even when in a room full of other ACoAs!
M-R comes from:
• knowing from experience that our parents did not love us unconditionally & so assume everyone else will feel the same towards us
• growing up in families where emotional & mental honesty was missing, so we had to guess at what others were thinking or feeling
• our fear of separateness – if we ‘know’ what someone is thinking then we’re permanently joined (symbiotic), to stave off the bitter loneliness of the WIC
• needing to protect ourselves at all times from the ‘dangerous’ world
• not being taught how to gather info correctly, we make up things. We’re not allowed to ask AND assume we won’t get the truth anyway
• trying to figure out how to behave (if I “know” what you’re thinking I can adjust my actions accordingly)
✧ S-H becomes “Nobody likes me”
✧ FoA becomes “She would never spend time with me”
✧ paranoia becomes “I know they’re talking about me”
✧ fear of rejection becomes “She’ll too busy to help me”
✧ perfectionism becomes “They all thought my _____ was awful”
✧ lack of boundaries becomes “The boss expects me to be just like her!”
Me, me, me! It completely erases others, as if they didn’t have separate identities, minds of their own OR had other things to think about besides us!
EXP: Paul sits anxiously in a 12-step meeting, raising his hand but not getting called on. He’s convinced the speaker is deliberately avoiding him – “he must not want to hear what I have to say… he doesn’t like me… he thinks he’s better than me…”, so Paul sits & fumes.
Reality: If Paul had asked the speaker about this, he would have been told: “I’m sorry, I saw your hand, but just didn’t get to you. It’s so hard to pick – you want to include everyone, but there’s just not enough time.”
EXP: If your therapist yawns or seems distracted – you assume he / she is bored with you.
Or if you get invited to a dinner party, you’re sure they only invited you along to make up the seating numbers.
Reality: you’re therapist was up all nite with a sick child or writing their blog! & you were invited to dinner because the hostess likes you & knows you’ll be a great addition!
NEXT: MIND-READING vs Intuition – 1b