Okay, welcome back to the podcast. I'm Dr. Amanda Dinsmore. I'm Dr. Laura Cazier. And I'm Dr. Kendra Morrison.
A: Today we are on number three of five in the series on cognitive distortions, also known as thought errors. So in episode three, if you go back, we taught you how to identify what the thought is that is making you feel a certain sort of way. So say you're anxious or nervous or stressed, how to identify the thought that you're having. And so the next step after you figured that out- if it's not serving you and not a thought that you want to keep, is it even true? We're looking at ways that you can start poking holes in that thought if it's not serving you and see if it might not be a thought error. So Laura's going to start us out.
L: Okay. So this one is a super-duper common one: BLAMING. And it's really interesting because the way we are raised, a lot of us, it just kind of comes naturally to blame other people for the way we feel. Surprisingly other people don't create feelings in us. We create them by the way we think, so in this thought error, we are blaming other people for our problems.
So an example might be that you're frustrated and irritated at somebody that maybe you live with. Maybe your spouse leaves a pile of socks on the floor or something, and you blame them for making you feel angry and frustrated. It can be anything- you're blaming someone that you work with. You're blaming one of your patients for ruining your night because they screamed at you, or they did something that was rude or unpleasant to you. And you are now feeling angry, sad, frustrated, and you blame that other person for that. When in reality, you don't have to let anyone else's behavior affect the way you feel.
So that is blaming. The antidote for that, when we have a negative feeling, is to really turn it on ourselves and say, “okay, where's this coming from? And why am I feeling this way? And if it's a relationship issue, what is my part in this?”
If we're arguing with our partner, it takes two people to do that. So there is something that while we are blaming them for an issue, there is something that we are contributing as well. And so it's helpful to really kind of examine that and see where we really have power to make change. That's blaming. Do you guys ever blame anyone for anything?
A: Yeah. I also like that it goes over like the victim mentality where “my partner never does whatever.” Okay. But that didn't have any effect on you. You could have still done whatever it was that you wanted to do, but you're acting like the victim, at the affect of somebody else and not taking your own agency to do what it is that you need to do.
L: Yeah. That is huge. The victim; this is a common one from when we're kids. Like when they're tattling on their siblings or whatever, they're like, “I can't do anything because they're doing such and such,” and we carry that into adulthood a lot of times. But we can do whatever we choose to do. We are adults. We do not need to be victims, as that definitely is blocking our progress and enjoying life.
A: It's giving your power away.
A: It's completely abdicating any sort of responsibility. And that is a big one. Can you really not do the thing because of somebody else? Or are you just choosing not to, you know, and also assuming the position of a victim.
Next up is Kendra.
K: Yes. So just in that way that we feel like we want to dump the responsibility on someone else, I will be talking about LABELING. Labeling is another very common thought disorder. It's what www.mindmypeelings.com calls extreme form of overgeneralization.
So basically when you over-generalize, so one of the examples I think of is my daughter is so good at this, because when we go through days where we have the study from home days. So she'll have the school from home, and she will reach out to her teachers, and she expects a very prompt response. So if she does not get an email back by the end of the day, whether it was a question about the assignment or what's coming up, or what do we need to have to due by the time we show back up at school, all the things. She expects something by the end of that school day. And I tried to tell her that they are not dismissing you. They may have 35 other questions. They have two sections of biology that they have to answer everybody's questions, you know, trying to take the setbacks.
So it is kind of a negative thing because you start to over-generalize like, well, they're just not answering me. They don't care. They must not want me to succeed in biology because my teacher’s, you know, not emailing me back or getting back to me with a prompt response… And either assume the worst (this is what I tell her). We can think that we're assuming the worst: she's not getting back to you because she doesn't care. OR out of all the thoughts and feelings that are available to you, maybe we choose the one that says, “oh, let me take a step back, and my entire class is also emailing questions because they also want to succeed in biology.” Then maybe we try to not over-generalize or label the teacher as lazy and non-responsive.
But anyways, so I think we can also apply this to, you know, our colleagues, if at some point you go to someone, ask for help, either with a patient, maybe they're bogged down in their own patient load and they kind of dismiss you or whatever. And then you just say, “well, just needing a little help here.” And you can over-generalize that they're just ignoring you and in a bad mood and don't like you, and you just go down that spiral. Or you could say, wow, I didn't see the patient load you had. Sorry to bother you, and I'll figure it out or whatever.
But I think it also applies to many other areas of her life. Not just work. But I can see where it's applicable to all the areas and where I've done it in multiple areas of my life without realizing that I was overgeneralizing or labeling.
L: Yeah. I totally have been guilty of overgeneralizing towards patients. I think probably a lot of us are.
A: Yeah. It says assign judgment to yourself or others based on one negative incident. So it'd almost be a first impression, but you just take that to mean that's how that person is. In my mind that made it a little easier to understand. “That's that person who's rude.” You know, and you've only met them one time. Well, you can't generalize the whole, you can't label them a rude person based on one incident.
K: In my household, we like to call those situations, “Now let's not be a Judge Judy, nobody likes to judge Judy.” You know, so don’t pass judgment, you know, let's give it a chance.
A: Yeah. Maybe give him a second or third impression and then, you know, then you can start. But yeah, the whole labeling is based on the one event. You somehow make that person into that one whole event.
Okay. So I'm going to wrap up this session with the ninth common cognitive distortion. It is called ALWAYS BEING RIGHT. This one's perfect for my family.
We got this from www.mindmypeelings.com. He just has such a good blog going over all of this. We're going over his 15 most common cognitive distortions.
So the always being right, he says, they always have the need to be right. They internalize their own opinions as facts, despite evidence to the contrary sometimes. They are willing to go to great lengths to demonstrate their belief in spite of all of the evidence. And this is funny to me because sometimes I'll get in arguments with people in my household, and when their nitial argument isn't really holding up any more, then the goalpost will move. And there is a relentless commitment to needing to win the argument.
My youngest and I tend to not have the strength to, we just stop. But the other two people in my family feel like if they make it to the end, then they win. Even if the information and the argument really doesn't hold up very well.
K: Preach it, sister. I live with two people sort of in that same realm. I'm not sure…
A: For people that are so committed, you know, there tends to be tendencies in two of the four family members in my household. Something that's curious to me is what are they making it mean if they didn't win the argument? And it's almost like, it must mean something very traumatic to them that if they weren't right, that would mean something about them, as a person.
You know what I mean? And that kind of gives me a little bit of compassion, but the example that somebody used on the internet was: a perfect example of this are people that get into internet fights. And they can't stop themselves. They have to win the argument. And it said well beyond where most would agree to disagree.
K: I like the use of well beyond well beyond.
A: Yes. That's what this would be.
So just to recap in this Episode three of five for the thought errors, we went over blaming, we went over labeling, and then we went over the cognitive thought error of needing to always be right.
So next one, we'll go over three more, but until then..
K: Yes, we have been so grateful to have this fun time with you and kind of laugh at these things because really, they are funny sometimes in the midst of all of these debates or arguments, we lose the humor. But sometimes it's just best to find something funny, but we learned from it.
So thank you for your time. We look forward to sharing more time with you. You are so amazing and brilliant and have so much to offer. We love you and we cherish your beautiful soul. So until next time you are whole, you are a gift to medicine, and what you do matters.
L: Bye guys!