Posts Tagged ‘catastrophizing’

We tend to think negatively more than thinking and finding the positives in our lives, we are quick to think negatively and tell ourselves we are bad and shouldn’t do things, we can talk ourselves out of doing things, we judge ourselves and therefore our self worth suffers, we don’t think we can do certain things so put ourselves down, when in reality we are more than capable of doing things we just choose not to. The result is that opportunities are missed and choices get chosen for us.

We change and influence our lives by our feelings and when we are stuck in negative thinking, it can cause further damage to our self esteem and our confidence. Here are a few ways we put ourselves down and talk ourselves out of doing what we are capable of doing:

Repeating past experiences

People sometimes find that if they do something and get a certain result then there is nothing they can do to change that result should they find themselves in the same situation again. The outcome however can be changed by looking at the result with a different perception, you and only you can change the future. By thinking more positively and ignoring and avoiding negative thinking, the outcomes will become more positive.

Self Talk

Self talk plays a big part in our lives whether this be negative or positive, it helps us to make decisions, and it influences our lives a lot. Negative self talk can result in a negative outcome.

Reflecting

We sometimes spend too long looking at the past, mostly in a negative manner, but it doesn’t mean that you are back to square one. It means you have taken an option and gone a different route, however if you want to get back to the route you where on then you have to realise where you went wrong and think of positive ways you can get back there.

Practising positive thinking

If you have spent years thinking negatively at yourself, the world around you, your life etc, then these conditioning’s will make thinking and acting positively harder but not impossible, its about changing your habits and thinking more positively, unfortunately this wont happen overnight and may take some time. Its about changing your habits.

By paying more attention and persevering with your thoughts you can change your thinking. By visualising yourself as a confident, happy person you can begin to see yourself as this person. Now unfortunately you will have days where you feel down and cant be bothered, but see this day as a blip, one that can be forgotten about and you can try again tomorrow.

Catastrophizing – Exaggerating the situation, making it seem more catastrophic than it actually is.

This can be a scary experience for someone with BPD. Believing situations are worse than they are can cause anxiety. But also thinking that things like conversations are going to go terribly wrong and that the situation is going to result in an argument or that things are going to be said. Imagining the situation to go many ways, but focusing on the worst way.

An over reaction of the situation can cause those around you to react saying things such as “yeah what ever” “your looking too deep into it” “don’t be so stupid” “stop being so negative all the time” “gosh be positive will you”. Catastrophizing can take a lot of energy and time, as focusing on the worst means there isn’t any time to see the best case scenarios. This is exhausting for the person with BPD and the people around them.

The loved ones and those close to the person with bpd are often most attacked. Situations that arise that normally wouldn’t cause any reactions are blown out of proportion. Loved ones can be told that they are cheating even without any evidence, or just because their loved one spoke to someone of the other sex. Friends can be accused of ignoring the person with BPD and can come under attack because the person started off thinking that they are ignoring them, then that they don’t want to talk to them, then start texting said friend, without thinking of the consequences then thinking of what could happen in result of the text, then thinking oh god what if I’ve just ruined the friendship, and start thinking about rejection.

Catastrophizing can also come from small thoughts. For example, watching the news and someone got raped in a daylight attack, this can cause a person with BPD to then start thinking, one thought can lead to another which leads to another and before you know it, they believe that they are going to be raped, all within a few minutes. This can lead to fear and paranoia. Should I go out every again, and start judging every man around them. Even leading to shouting to all men, I know what you are and if you come near me I will scream.

Recognising a person with BPD that they are catastrophizing events and situations, that they are coming to conclusions that are very unlikely and quite possibly will not happen, is vital in helping them to deal with it with the support of those around them. Listening to their concerns and helping them work through what they are thinking, is it justified? If so then fine, but if not, work through the thought process without judgement.

Black and White thinking – This is all or nothing thinking, there are no grey areas. If something doesn’t meet the borderlines expectations then they see it as a complete failure.

Negative Conclusions– A borderline will come to a negative conclusion despite there are not being any facts to support the conclusion. This is usually done in two forms:
Mind Reading: This is where a borderline will assume what a person is thinking and that they are thinking negatively about them.
Prediction: A borderline will negatively predict they will fail at something or an event is going to turn out badly. They set themselves up for a bad time rather than going with the flow.

Catastrophizing – This is where a borderline will make everything seem a lot worse and will think and think about an event making it seem worse and worse in their minds. They will make out something is the worst thing ever more to convince themselves that they aren’t able to do something and to withdraw. This usually happens when a borderline is forced to step outside of their comfort zone.

Resisting Positive Experiences – A borderline will resist positive experiences by insisting that they weren’t as good as they actually are, they invalidate themselves by saying they could have done better and that it wasn’t good enough. This then leads to feelings of being inadequate and worthless and a secondary distorted thinking process of generalising everything.

Generalising Everything – This is when a borderline sees one single negative event as a continuous repeating cycle of defeat. A borderline will use words such as always or never when describing negative events. Example – being turned down for a job, a borderline will think they are never going to get a job, they are always going to be turned down.

Negative Filtering of Events – This is when a borderline will take a small negative detail and dwell on it so much that they will forget all the positives that happened at the same time. Example – passing a driving test but having 1 minor. The borderline will focus on that minor and will obsess about it for days, seeming to forget that they passed their driving test and positive factors that that brings for them.

Emotions are Facts – A borderline has unstable emotions and will spend a lot of their time in emotional mind. They tend to believe and think that the emotions they are feeling are true for the situation.

Shoulda Coulda Woulda statements – A borderline can be very pessimistic and with a lot of events they believe that events “shoulda, coulda or woulda” been better. They are never happy with the results of events and will often use these statements to justify their pessimistic view.

Self Blame/Blaming others – A borderline will hold themselves responsible for events that are beyond their control. Example – recently there has been an incident with my niece and I blamed myself for her actions despite not having any control over her actions. On the opposite a borderline may blame others for situations they are responsible for, this is because some borderlines are unable to take responsibility of their actions and want someone else to take the blame, they will try and make someone their scapegoat.

Paranoid Thinking – Borderlines can experience brief psychosis and as a part of this they can experience paranoia. They will believe that people are out to get them, sometimes this paranoid thinking can come as a secondary result from another distorted thinking and the paranoia will feed from that thinking.

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