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Your Deceptive Brain - Cognitive Distortions

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

Everybody ascribes to the possibility of success, however it’s estimated that eight percent of people actually achieve their goals, while only about one percent actually succeed with their intentions. How do we recognize a failure mentality as compared to the mind of a high achiever? Psychologists have identified approximately twenty different cognitive distortions that disrupt human potential. Some of these distortions are characteristic of specific mental health disorders, others may be fleeting depending on one’s awareness.

The truth is our perceptions are false, or a better way to explain it may be to say, our brain lies to our consciousness, however, we are not at fault because we are conditioned to think in certain ways depending on our experience in early development. A cognitive distortion is considered an irrational thought pattern developed through survival mechanism while living in precarious circumstances during development. The irrational thought pattern developed perpetuates psychological states of depression, and anxiety that proceed after traumatic emotional experience, for example, feelings that are described as numbness, may be the emotion of sadness resultant from the experience of violence. The emotion of sadness correlates to the diagnosis of depression.

While distorted thoughts can contribute to an overall negative outlook of the world that stems from feelings of hopelessness, negative thinking perpetuates negative emotions. Negative emotions exist on a scale of very low vibrational frequency, we could say closer to the infra-red zone depicted in religious culture as the darkness of hell. A person who suffers irrational thoughts may be considered to have a distorted perception of reality. Cognitive distortions are difficult to recognize because they are habitual automatic thoughts developed during our earliest developmental experiences. These distortions take tole on one’s mental health leading to stress, depression, anxiety, and some are characteristic of specific mental health pathologies.

Black and white thinking, known by mental health professionals as “splitting” is commonly associated with the mental health diagnosis of Borderline Personality disorder, and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but does not relate to all cases. A person with polarized thinking sees situations in terms of all, or nothing. People are either all good, or all bad, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground, or neutral position taken with this type of thinking. This type of thinking causes rash decisions like breaking off relationships, quitting jobs, firing employees, or being overly harsh with disciplining children. Splitting occurs as a result of trauma during early development, particularly a trauma that causes an individual to view their caretaker as all bad, or all good. Once this perception is created, a person’s worldview projects from this window.

Adults of parent’s with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are frequently diagnosed with illness within the Cluster B grouping of the DSM-lV, (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders). This Cluster B grouping includes Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders. Narcissistic parents see their children as good or evil, when they project this thinking onto their children via their behaviour and communications, children may experience trauma, as well as adopt polarized thinking. When children develop cognitive distortion they are at risk of developing mental illness in later years. While narcissistic parenting is not the cause of splitting, or polarized thinking, trauma is the cause, and trauma can occur with any caregiver children are involved with.

But don't get hung up on this one cognitive distortion, experts in the field of mental health recognize about nineteen other distortions that degrade relationships and impact mental health. While some of these other distortions are characteristic of specific mental health diagnosis, some are distortions mentally healthy individuals get caught up with. Awareness is the first step towards restructuring cognitive health. Seek Bindu - the point of creation.


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