10 Cognitive Distortions that Can Ruin Relationships
There is a term in psychology known as “cognitive distortion.” This is when your mind convinces you that something is true, when it really isn’t.
These thoughts are inaccurate and reinforce negative thinking. This is a problem because there is a direct link between what we think and how we feel.
Which means — you may be dooming yourself and your relationship without even realizing it.
Of course, we all have an internal dialogue and, at times, misread our partner. This can set the tone for conflict in your relationship.
Here are ten “cognitive distortions” you definitely want to avoid:
1. Assuming the Worst
This is overestimating the likelihood that an action will have a negative outcome. Maybe your partner doesn’t do things exactly like you, but that doesn’t mean it is negative or wrong. Deciding something will go wrong before it does, or that your partner’s intention was unkind from the start will never help love grow in your relationship.
2. Making Your Partner Responsible for Your Feelings
You are capable of self-soothing when you are in a relationship. It’s certainly nice when your partner helps soothe you, but it’s alright for you to soothe yourself, too. For example, take a bath, read a book or write in your journal.
3. Making a Big Deal of Something Small
Believing an absence of a smiley-face in an email means there is a problem. Interpreting, “You did a good job” as negative if you were expecting “You did a great job.” This is not the same as being taken for granted. Sometimes, the small things really are small things.
4. Acting Entitled
Believing the same rules that apply to others don’t apply to you is a recipe for disaster. For example, believing that because you worked all day means you can come home, make a mess in the kitchen, and leave it for your spouse to clean up. Not OK.
5. Expecting Everything to be “Fair” (As You Define It)
Believing everything in your relationship must be fair at all times is unrealistic. For example, “I watched our child all day on Saturday, now you can watch our child all day on Sunday.” This will eventually cause resentment.
6. Clinging to Your Own Point of View
Failing to look at a topic of tension from your partner’s perspective. For example, ignoring your partner’s emotional needs or complaining that he (or she) is too needy.
7. Having Overly High, Unrealistic Expectations
Don’t “should” on yourself, or your partner. For example, “I should always give 100 percent,” or “You should know what I am thinking.”
8. Labeling at First Sight
For example, mentally labeling your partner’s best friend a “loser,” and not being open to evidence that he/she isn’t a loser. This will also make your partner feel defensive and cause emotional distance in the relationship.
9. Blaming Others
Every time something goes wrong in the relationship, you blame your partner. It’s important to take responsibility for your own behavior. Remember, when you are in a relationship, it’s about “we” not “I.”
10. Refusing to Just Enjoy Yourself
For example, seeing having fun together as a waste of time. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
Try not to beat yourself up for using these cognitive distortions.
We’ve all used them at one time or another. It’s not too late to change your thinking patterns and have a happy relationship.
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: 10 Negative Thoughts (We ALL Have) That Destroy Relationships.
Guest Author, P. (2018). 10 Cognitive Distortions that Can Ruin Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 7, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/10-cognitive-distortions-that-can-ruin-relationships/