I thought further on this. Some of the most disturbing examples, aside from sexual malfeasance, are examples I don’t yet fully understand. I don’t know how to fit them into the cognitive distortion categories. I suspect there are many examples that I don’t recall at the moment. Here are a few that I do recall. I welcome advice on how to categorize these and how to address them.
My wife continually did a lot of research on a particular retirement question that worried me. Despite her thorough research, I questioned it and expressed continued doubts and fears. No matter what information she found, no matter what expert from my company affirmed what she was saying as accurate, I continued to express doubt and fear for many years. I have always had the highest respect for my wife’s intelligence, knowledge, logic, and research. Yet, I let my irrational fears do the talking for me instead of just accepting the facts as true.
My wife once said she would make a mural on the nursery wall. Instead of being supportive, I said something hurtful about doubting she would find the time to complete it. I also bitched and whined about moving furniture, buying paint, and other things that highlighted my laziness and my failure to be supportive. I really didn’t mean to hurt her. But, I see that it was my negativity speaking for me in a way that got the best of me, threatening my relationship on account of my skepticism about the future.
I used to say the glass is not just half empty, but it also is broken and someone pissed in it. I really meant that as a joke. But, I suspect it speaks to my inner negativity. I have stopped saying that joke, in any case.
I used to have unrealistic demands of my son in terms of sports. It may be similar to my never-ending expectations of work, giving, flattery, and attention from my wife. In short, I saw them in terms of what they could do for me, not in terms of just valuing them as individuals and valuing my relationship with them. I have been trying very hard to change that.
The examples of me not listening to logic and facts, and instead just listening to my fears, negativity, and belief in my own knowledge, were common. I have struggled to change that view and that behavior. I truly don’t want to be so negative and discouraging. And, I now try to remind myself that such a view often prevents me from learning, growing, and succeeding.
I also do a lot of black-and-white thinking. One example is my recent difficulty thinking through how I could fit both therapy and being a Leader in one of my son’s clubs. Faced with both, I initially panicked, thinking I would only be able to do one of those two things. Only later, after getting through the initial push of learning the Club system and doing the initial planning, did I find that I could manage both.
I’m sure there’s more I should say on this topic. For the moment, this is all I really understand about it. But, I do have one more post on this that I am still writing. I hope to work on that tomorrow.