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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

How an atheist became one of my human heroes

"Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them."  - From the Enchiridion of Epictetus  

Along with the immensely important philosophy taught to me by my father, "One Truth doesn't negate another.", my favorite graduate professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville Ohio, Dr. Milo Milburn daily said to us, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.".  Meaning, don't negate the Truth someone is speaking or writing, just because they are also saying or writing parts that are false. This has never been more true for me than in the case of psychologist Albert Ellis. Thanks be to God, originally I had no idea how sexually obsessed, morally depraved (equal to secular western society), and vulgar minded (and mouthed as reported by his listening audience) self-proclaimed atheist Albert Ellis was throughout his life on earth, as proven by the plethora and variety of published works he has on sexual subjects, including those written for the demonic Playboy magazine.  The two psychological facts I learned from the two short items I knew of and read from Ellis' works: a few pages of a small out-of-print booklet about the causes of emotions, and his basic list of 10 irrational core beliefs, were for me revolutionary as parts of the Truth to free me from a lifetime of prideful selfish blaming helpless misery. In gratitude, he is one of my human heroes and I pray and sacrifice in hindsight and in paying it forward for his conversion at death (he moved on from this life in 2007).  

Thanks be to Christ Jesus and His Mercy, after my second reversion back to Catholicism I began asking Jesus to teach me how He wants me to pray.  One of the first prayers Jesus taught me was "Jesus please show me and send me what you want me to read."...And guess what the very first book was?...Nope, not the Bible...It was a rational view of emotions by the atheist and humanist Albert Ellis. And the second book?...Nope, not the Bible, yet..."Boundaries" by proclaimed evangelical protestant anti-religion psychologists Cloud  and Townsend. None of these authors has all the Truth and Cloud and Townsend still to this day contradict themselves with blaming feelings and exposing their ignorance of religion and projecting their bad experiences with sinners onto God as excuses to reject religion; just as I did (takes one to know one). And because none of these authors are approved Catholic literature, most Catholics, especially leadership, have never heard of them, and are still ignorant of these two most important subjects. Ignorance which causes sins and prevents virtuous behaviors in relationships to each other, ourselves, and God. 

Along with directly speaking to us, if we are willing to learn how to listen, God meets us where we are and generally uses basic goods, that He knows we are willing to utilize and are available to us, in order to lead us to and teach us His Truth. Whether or not we choose to accept and live the Truth, on a detailed Truth by Truth case basis, is our free will to choose. When a human being, regardless of religious beliefs, rejects absolute Truth, such as but not limited to: 'external facts do not cause internal emotions and feelings', God will give the Truth to he or she who is open to the Truth and to whom He deems as the most appropriate messengers, for both their own sake, as well as that of others. In this case, it was Albert Ellis a self-proclaimed atheist and humanist.  Unfortunately, Ellis chose to believe that any Truths he believed did not come from God. But as Ellis rightly chose to believe, be it contradictory to the lies he believed, just because we feel, think, believe, and expect something, that doesn't make it objectively true, and when it's not true, we are the ones who need to change. This latter belief is an aspect of humility that most human beings, especially those who claim to be Christian, fail to have. 

After finishing my graduate studies in counseling at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, one of the most Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States, I had often wondered as a passing thought, why the religious world, particularly the Catholic leadership and laity, had never seemed to learn the Truth about how no one makes us have our psychological emotions and feelings, but ourselves, and how to recognize which ones are sins. Ellis' work regarding REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) was not taught as necessary, if taught at all, at FUS, in either the graduate or undergraduate psychological programs. After recently stumbling across Ellis' literary history, which includes multiple articles for "Playboy", "Penthouse", and "Cosmopolitan" magazines, I have my answer...He's a perverted sexual deviant; what good Christian is going to want to read him?!   

Aside from Ellis' immoral life style, rejection of God, and selfish using philosophies, since no one is an innocent victim, the Catholics are also at fault for "throwing the baby out with the bath water" and failing to search for the Truth on the subject of blaming emotions and which ones are sins. But Why? Not wanting particular Truths and failure to know how to properly discern Truth directly with Jesus the Christ are the reasons. As a result, if the work is not published by a certified Catholic with the right credentials and publishing connections, not a canonized saint, or fails to have the "Imprimatur" and "Nihil Obstat" stamps of approval by any Catholic Bishop (regardless of the Bishop's level of obedience to Christ and His Church or disobedience as the case unfortunately frequently has been), most laity in good standing won't even look at the literature or recommend it. Due to their failure to properly discern with Jesus the Christ, Catholics throw the baby out with the bath water and negate one Truth with another, which is exactly what most people, regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof, tend to do. 

I was in one of my practicum review session with another one of my professors, "Dr. D" (Mary DeAngelis), as we called her, when a paperback book on her bookshelf caught my eye (with the help of my guardian angel). I took down the book and as I was not an active reader, I was attracted to the small size of the book, prominent use of unique cartoon images, and the very few words used to describe what was happening in the drawings. It was a small out-of-print booklet written by Albert Ellis, of whom I had heard within my undergraduate education, but was unfortunately never required to study. The book was about the rational view of emotions and their real causes, taught through a character named Ralph. I asked Dr. D. if I could borrow and read the booklet and she said yes, but to please return it because she had bought the book a long time ago while she attended one of Ellis's lectures...and then chuckled as she recalled his aggressive character and frequent use of very vulgar vocabulary.  I photo copied a few pages of the book about Ralph and his chocolate cake, (which I have since scanned into the computer), before returning the book. (Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the book and have yet been able to find used copies even after extensive research.) 

After learning the basic psychological facts, from briefly reading this writing of Ellis, that human's cause their own psychological emotions and feelings by what we intellectually freely choose to: think, believe, and expect, and that many primary causes of bad emotions and feelings are from what Ellis called "irrational core beliefs", I began working to control and change mine. Already trying to implement these "mind control" techniques, from my early '90s reading of a famous book on the subject, I knew that alone they would not work and pursued directly with Jesus in contemplative (listening) prayer (I learned from reading St. Faustina's Diary) to show me how He wanted me to use this Truth about the causes of emotions and what other information was missing on the subject. In the limited work of Ellis, he uses what he calls the "ABC Model" to explain the causes of emotions and other psychological problems:    

When an Activating event (A) occurs, it is the beliefs (B) that cause emotional consequences (C).  Therefore, rather than an external situation (A) causing emotional distress (C), it is the beliefs (B) that are the true sources of distress (C).  

An example Ellis used is the following: If your friend does not call you back for a few days (A), this may trigger the interpretation (I call assumption) that she is not calling you back because she does not value your friendship which may be connected to the belief that you MUST be loved by EVERYONE in your life [the way you want] or else you are WORTHLESS (B), which in turn leads to feelings of overwhelming sadness (C) [among other emotions].  

Below are 10 common core irrational philosophical beliefs from the writings of Ellis, of which #8 I have clarified:  

 1. It is an absolute necessity to be loved or approved of by every significant person in one's life.   

2. To be worthwhile, a person must be thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving in all possible respects.   

3. Some people are bad, wicked, or villainous and therefore should be severely punished [rather than trying to understand them, forgive them and show mercy].  Furthermore, you should be extremely upset over other people’s wrongdoings.

4. It is awful, terrible, and catastrophic if things are not the way you want them to be. 

5. Unhappiness is the result of external events, and therefore a person has little or no control over unpleasant feelings and emotions.   

6. Something potentially dangerous or harmful should be cause for great concern (fear) and should always be kept in mind (worry).   

7. Running away from and avoiding difficulties and responsibilities is easier than facing them. Avoiding difficulties is more likely to lead to happiness than facing them.  

8. A person must rely on others [human beings] to meet their [physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational] needs, [rather than a Superior Perfectly Loving, All-Knowing, All-Powerful Divine Creator who is real and present].  

9.  Past history is the most important determinant of present behavior and therefore there is no way to change its effect on present behavior.  

10. A person should be extremely upset over other people’s problems and difficulties. 

[Ellis, A. (1991). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy.  New York: Carol.]  

Ellis was given the knowledge of how to recognize the most basic and important major psychological problem of humanity, the erroneous blaming of emotions and feelings, what are their real intellectual causes, and that these causes need to and can be permanently changed. Just as, on that fateful day, "Adman and Eve" rejected going to The Divine Creator for help with everything and blamed their interior intellectual and exterior physical choices of rejection of The Divine: Truth/Love/Virtues Himself onto externals (The Divine Himself, the other human being, the Tempter, the temptation, etc), while trying to use material means (represented as "the forbidden fruit") for immaterial intellectual gain in order to try to be independent of The Divine Creator, humanity in general continues to do so all day every day in every way.   

And after hundreds of thousands of years, our psychological emotional effects; i.e. consequences, of our false/wrong/bad intellectual free will choices of our immaterial soul and their resulting external actions are still being blamed on everything and everyone else, (including the brain, genetics, the pet, and the weather), rather than our intellectual free will to choose, and are being repressed and avoided with material psychotropic medications and a host of other material bad coping. Will we ever learn?!  Unfortunately, Ellis failed to know how to take the valuable information he had been given, even deeper to its ultimate conclusions, due to his rejection of The Divine Superior Source of Truth/Love/Virtues, including the objective Truth regarding morality and immorality, and what is the human psyche (intellect of the soul). 

Ellis failed to show how the real causes of our emotions and feelings is also the primary direct cause of not only depression, anxiety, and addictions, as Ellis taught, but also all labeled psychological disorders including schizophrenia and bipolar. Ellis explained thoughts, beliefs, and expectations, but failed to recognize that all of a person's wants/desires (including likes and dislikes and attractions) are an even more important cause in both the problem and solution of psychological disorders and all bad psychological emotions and feelings. And ultimately, Ellis failed to show how to completely and permanently solve these problems, including developing complete self-awareness, proper discernment in how to recognize objective Truth regarding all irrational (aka false, wrong, bad) intellectual acts and external acts, and how to be completely free forever of every single one of them. By which Ellis kept people dependent on their psychotherapist, who were treated as a "god".   

[As of today, 3/22/2023, I just found out directly from a recorded interview with Ellis that he completely contradicted himself because he believed that only anger and what he deemed irrational emotions (psychologically disordered) are self-caused, while all other emotions and feelings are caused by others.]

A few other extremely important psychological details, among others, that eluded Ellis are:  

1. We cannot become sufficiently self-aware of our false/wrong/bad/irrational intellectual acts: thoughts, beliefs, expectations, wants/desires, likes, dislikes, attractions, and their resulting emotions and feelings, without the direct assistance of The Divine Original and Ultimate Source of Truth/Love/Virtues Himself. 

2. Truth, Love and Virtues does not originate from human beings, and therefore cannot be sufficiently recognized and obtained by oneself from oneself, nor be sufficiently learned or obtained through any human being, but rather only originally and fully obtained from The Divine Original and Ultimate Source of Truth/Love/Virtues. 

3. With no final authority, other than oneself or another human, on what is objectively irrational vs rational thinking, believing, expecting, wanting/desiring, liking, disliking, being attracted to, and feeling, one will, more often than not, believe, be and do what is irrational (false, wrong, bad) and fail to believe, be, and do what is rational (true, right, good). 

4. All intellectual acts (abstract: thoughts, beliefs, expectations, wants/desires, likes, dislikes, attractions, and their resulting emotions and feelings) are of the free will and intellect of the immaterial soul of human beings...NOT the brain; proven by scientific natural law of the intellectual abilities between brute animals and human persons. 

5. The fact that we want/desire what are irrational/false/wrong/bad: thoughts, beliefs, expectations, wants/desires, likes, dislikes, attractions, and their resulting emotions and feelings, and we fail to know how to recognize when the desire to want something or not want something is irrational, are key factors in both the problem and solution of bad emotions and attractions, and irrational core: thoughts, beliefs, expectations, likes, and dislikes, and all psychological disorders, including addictions, and attraction and gender confusion. 

6. "You have the power inside you."; aka "Think it to be it"; aka "Repetitive self-talk", outside of brief relief due solely to temporary distraction, has never worked to bring Lasting Psychological Healing to anyone in the history of mankind and never will. This is proven by the fact that human beings who don't know how to correctly go to and cooperate with The Divine Original and Ultimate Source of Truth/Love/Virtues Himself in order to recognize and permanently change their intellectual acts, are dependent (addicted) to using a plethora of "bad coping" instant physical / material gratification to try to maintain the repression and distraction of their irrational intellectual acts, including bad emotions and psychological disorders. This is why Albert Ellis, was at the very least, a pornography and orgasm addict. 

After Albert Ellis' list of "irrational core beliefs", I was also handed by Lynette Hawrot, my Catholic Counselor at the time at FUS, another compilation of "irrational core beliefs" titled "cognitive distortions", by Aaron T. Beck through the writings of Dr. David Burn's, of which I have added to and further explained. Most of this list people choose to do at the same time. As with Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck, the originator of "cognitive therapy", fails to address and resolve the same limitations and failure to achieve Lasting Psychological Healing as Ellis. Recognizing only one part of understanding the problem (e.g. of faulty thinking), and only a part of the solution (e.g. recognize and correct the faulty thinking), while negating all other parts of the problem and solution, is why NO ONE receives Lasting Psychological Healing through only the psychological theories of Ellis and Beck.   

ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING OR BLACK AND WHITE THINKING: You see all things in black-and-white categories. For example, If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure. Believing that there is no objective truth but only subjective truth is an example of all-or-nothing thinking. Failing to see the both/and. If you have only one part of the truth about a particular subject you believe that truth should be applied to that entire subject in all situations without facts to prove it. Believing that if you know one or more truths about a subject that you have all the truth or know enough about that subject. If you hear a person say one thing, you generalize their point to everything you can think of and project this onto them by claiming that they are making incorrect statements that they didn't say or think. Thoughts and beliefs such as, “I ALWAYS mess up,” or “NOBODY likes me,” or “I’ll NEVER get better.” (see OVER GENERALIZATION) 

OVER GENERALIZATION OR EXAGGERATING: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. You inaccurately use words such as always and never. You believe that if you don't get 100% of your way in a particular situation, or you don't get your way 100% all the time in everything, then there is a problem. You use dramatic vocabulary to describe situations, especially extreme sounding adjectives. This is done to either manipulate for selfish reasons, appear entertaining to others, seek attention, or play the victim. 

NEGATING ONE TRUTH WITH ANOTHER: When someone knows something you don't, or you hear something for the first time that you don't want to be true, you immediately try to negate the possibility of it being true without proper analysis or investigation (i.e. discernment) by declaring a truth you already know which may or may not have anything to do with the actual point or subject of the initial discussion. Assuming and projecting onto the other person an interpretation of what was said and reason(s) why it was said, while believing you are right without checking or seeking any clarification, thereby disagreeing with what another says that you either don't know anything about or don't fully understand. The person is in constant competition with others to always appear right, appear like he or she knows it all, and/or appear smarter than others. Used to avoid learning a particular subject or avoid learning from another altogether. Used to try to avoid admitting to yourself that you didn't know something that you are hearing, or trying to maintain the false belief that you are never wrong. 

RELATIVISM: Biggest example of "black and white" / "all-or-nothing" thinking. Everything is a gray area. If I don't want something to be true or don't think something is true, then it's not. Believing there is no Objective Truth; including absolute right or wrong. Making up any belief I want when I want to. Changing the original definition of a word and believing "language is fluid". What is true for me is not true for you. There are no rules for me. It's okay to break the rules as long as I don’t get caught; as if no harm comes unless I get caught. The belief that rules are bad or evil. The belief that rules and laws mean "no freedom". Whatever feels good do it, no matter what the known or unknown consequences. I can do anything I want, but you can’t do anything you want to me. I can do whatever I want as long as I “think” I am only harming myself. I can do whatever I want as long as it doesn’t “look like” or “you can’t see how” I am harming myself or anyone else. You have to do for me whatever I want you to do or I'm going to blame you for my feelings. Etc. 

EMOTIONAL REASONING: My feelings and perspectives determine reality and truth rather than reality and truth are needed to determine if my feelings are rational/correct or irrational/wrong. If it feels good do it, if it feels bad don't do it. Only do what I feel like doing. You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel it, therefore it must be true.".  Failing to be self-aware about what you really think, believe, expect, and want/desire that is causing your emotions and feelings. Basing any decision primarily on feelings or on feelings alone. The self-defeating helpless false belief that your feelings control you; i.e. your free will to choose; rather than you learning how to and changing your feelings by changing how you: think, believe, expect, want/desire, like and dislike and are attracted to. Anytime you have a negative feeling, you dwell on the feeling and/or obsess about the feeling rather than choosing to do something helpful to change how you feel, including but not limited to seeking Truth from The Divine Original Source and choosing to move your body to do something. 

BLAMING: From young childhood to adulthood, believing that other people, demons, objects (e.g. pets, weather, brain, genetics, etc.) or situations and circumstances make/cause you to have your: emotions and feelings, thoughts, beliefs, expectations, wants/desires, likes, dislikes, attractions, words, and external actions; all of which are freely chosen by your intellectual soul. Blaming yourself and taking responsibility for others: emotions and feelings, thoughts, beliefs, expectations, wants/desires, likes, dislikes, attractions, words, and external actions; all of which are freely chosen by the intellectual soul of others. Blaming causes controlling behaviors, feeling upset, angry, offended, hurt, depressed, afraid/anxious/stressed, and embarrassment, among other bad psychological emotions and feelings. 

FEELINGS FIXING AND PEOPLE PLEASING: Fear of unpleasant feelings and fear of conflict which is due to either blaming of feelings, fear of suffering, and/or fear of rejection. Wanting and/or trying to prevent or stop another person’s feelings in any way for any reason, which is always only done to selfishly make yourself feel better. Done in a selfish attempt to avoid all suffering and/conflict. Blaming yourself for others' feelings and/or blaming others for your feelings. Trying to help “fix”; aka "stop"/"control" another person’s feelings as soon as possible, which is not primarily done for the good sake of the person whose feelings you are trying to fix. Giving a person what they want, doing things their way, not saying "no", or agreeing with them just so they will stop having their unpleasant feelings, will be happy (about you), will feel good (about you), and/or will like you and not reject you. Behaving in seemingly kind ways toward others for the primary reason of wanting everyone to like you or give you something you want. Trying to avoid feeling in myself, or avoid experiencing the unpleasant feelings of others by using bad coping (distractions and anything that doesn’t work toward permanently solving the real intellectual interior cause of the emotions and feelings). Wanting to avoid others’ unpleasant feelings even when the other person is NOT being emotionally abusive. Failure to set proper boundaries (self-control) or failure to give proper consequences out of fear of others' unpleasant feelings. 

PRIDE: You believe everything you feel, think, believe, expect, want/desire, don’t want/desire, like, dislike, or are attracted to is always correct, right, or good as if you are an all knowing perfect being, and/or you believe that your way is 100% God’s way with no information outside of what you believe, think or feel to prove it. You think all your opinions are valid without any facts outside of yourself. You don't search for truth outside of yourself or outside of your understanding of what you experience. You act like you are the final authority on truth and reality.  You don't want to learn from anyone who disagrees with you. You think no one can know more than you or be higher functioning than you. You believe your way is the only way. If you didn't think of something or come up with the information or solution yourself, then you immediately dismiss and reject what others say without investigating (properly discerning with Truth/Love/Virtues Himself) if what others say is good and true or not, in part or whole. You think you hear everyone perfectly and you perfectly understand what anyone says to you; as a result you refuse to ask questions to search for truth or seek clarification on what you think you hear. You are not open to learning anything new, because you think you already know enough or are already doing everything correctly. You will only check if your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, wants/desires, likes, dislikes, attractions, and opinions are right or wrong with someone who you think will agree with everything you say so you can still think you are always right and know it all. You refuse to accept constructive criticism. You always only try to “figure things out” or problem solve on your own and refuse any help. Believing that truth you know, or anything good that you are or can do comes solely of your own accord. Not caring about the Truth; just wanting to think you are right or look right and look good to others. 

THROWING THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER: Just because at least one thing in a group of information is false, you throw out and reject the entire group of information; including the Truth. Trying to use one truth to negate another truth. Failing to seek the parts of the Truth in what you are hearing or reading. Failing to look for common ground where you can agree with others. 

MISLABELING: (NAME CALLING) This is a form of overgeneralization.  Instead of describing your or the other's error, you attach a negative label to yourself or others. For example, "I'm a loser." or "I'm ugly".  When someone else's behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: "He's a jerk."  or "He's selfish". Mislabeling also involves describing an entire person or event with only one word or phrase where the language is highly colored and emotionally loaded with or without feelings of hurt, offended, and/or anger. Labeling is used to negate the whole person and make one characteristic their entire "identity"; thereby minimizing their value and worth. People will label themselves or others (but hypocritically don't want anyone to do it to them). Sometimes labeling is done in order to try to feel accepted as part of a group because the person either hates themselves in some other aspects, or hates themselves as the uniquely wonderful individual they are. The person labels themselves or others in order to either feel self-righteous, morally superior, or like a savior, and/or in order to feel like a helpless victim. Mislabeling is also used to put people in "boxes", create a divisive "us vs. them" mentality, and support the dysfunctional relational triangle of: Savior, Persecutor, Victim. Commonly used labels in society are: stupid, idiot, fascist, racist, sexist, chauvinist, macho, feminist, bigot, bully, homophobe, homo, tranny, gay, straight, lesbian, dike, LGBTQ, nigger, white-supremacist, bitch, slut, whore, retard, crazy, mentally ill, addict, etc. And new ones are added every year. 

SHOULD STATEMENTS: You have unrealistic expectations of perfection with yourself and others and you misapply words such as should and shouldn't. "Musts" and "oughts" are also misused. The emotional consequences are shaming yourself and others. When you direct should statements toward others, you cause yourself feelings of anger, frustration, impatience, and resentment. These beliefs are caused by and reinforced by “PERFECTIONISM”. 

PERFECTIONISM: Having any unrealistic expectations of yourself, others, and situations. The beliefs, attitudes, and external behaviors that nothing is ever good enough. Refusal to accept reality when it's not the way you want or think it "should" be. "Should" beliefs are used most frequently. Believing that your way is always the right way, only way, and best way for everyone in every compatible situation, no matter what. Failing to allow and accept imperfection in yourself or others at any time and in any situation. Perfectionism causes controlling behaviors, feelings of being offended, anger, hurt, fear/anxiety, embarrassment, depression, and is a key factor in insecurity.  Expecting that what you want will happen and expecting to get your way with anything at any time. Refusing to believe that a perfectly Loving Superior Being with personhood will bring good out of everything; including your mistakes and what you cannot control. Refusing to accept everything that you did not choose as Divine Providence. Thinking you are intellectually or morally superior to all others. 

FEAR FILTER: (OBSESSING) (PESSIMISM) You pick out a single negative or unpleasant detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water. Making your decisions based on fear or worry and trying to avoid whatever it is that you fear, while believing that your afraid or scared feelings are reality and truth with no present absolute facts outside of your perspective to prove it. This belief system causes failure to seek solutions/problem solve, and feelings of anxiety (fear and worry) and depression (hopelessness, helplessness, false victim, and self-pity) and failure to be thankful and grateful. Immediately and primarily looking for and focusing only on the negative. Based on a complete rejection of suffering as good and necessary. 

THE FORTUNETELLER ERROR: You anticipate (assume) that things will turn out badly, and you convince yourself that your prediction is an already-established fact. Of which you make your choices/decisions on, thereby frequently creating a self-fulfilling prophecy; while blaming everything and everyone but yourself. (also called PESSIMISM)  

DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE (UNGRATEFUL): You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count" for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences. You ignore or reject all of the good and blessings that occur daily in your life in various detailed ways. You either don't want to or fail to seek and see the positive lesson in every situation and good that comes out of everything we call “bad”. You either don't want to or fail to see the good that a perfectly Loving Superior Being with personhood brings out of everything that happens. You label something as bad just because you didn’t want it to happen; didn't get your way. This belief system causes feelings of depression (hopelessness, self-pity, and a false sense of helplessness and victimization) 

MAGNIFICATION (CATASTROPHIZING) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things or blow them up out of proportion, or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (such as your goof-up, someone else's achievement, your own desirable qualities, another fellow's major faults, or you not getting your way). Magnification is also called the “binocular trick”. These both cause and are used to justify your irrational feelings, arrogance, and insecurities as if they are reality.  

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make a negative interpretation and assumptions even though there are no definite present facts that convincingly support your conclusion. Making assumptions about a word or phrase you read or hear without asking clarifying questions to better understand what is being written or said. Failure to check the definitions of the words used with an author or speaker, and instead assuming your definitions and use of words are the same. 

NEGATIVE MIND READING: You arbitrarily conclude (assume) that someone is feeling, thinking, or reacting negatively toward you, and you don't bother to check this out by asking questions. Caused by worry and/or fear of what another thinks and feels about you, which is caused by the irrational belief that you always need love, respect, and acceptance from everyone, in order to feel loved, respected, and accepted; which is blaming of feelings and selfish using. Acting like the other person is always focused on or thinking about or relating everything to you; as if you are so important that their world should or does revolve around thinking about you. A sign of major insecurity (pride, selfishness, and fear). 

PERSONALIZATION: ALSO SEE "INSECURITY": Completely selfish self-centered perspective. You think others are thinking or feeling bad things about you or talking about you behind your back; as if you are so important that others' worlds revolve around you. You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event, which is beyond your control, so you can feel like you can be in control of something you cannot. You believe that when others do wrong, that they are purposefully doing wrong just to harm or hurt you, when in reality they are not thinking about you at all, they are only selfishly trying to make themselves feel better or get what they "think" are their "needs" met in the wrong ways. Personalization occurs when we unrealistically expect another human being to meet any of our emotional needs or always be perfect ("PERFECTIONISM"). This is an irrational core belief that causes feeling hurt, offended, fear, and/or anger. 

INSECURITY: (A combination of pride, selfishness, and fear) Basing how you feel about yourself (aka your degree of value and worth) on what you or others think and feel about you, and/or what you "think” (assume) others think and feel about you, including blaming your feelings on them. Comparing yourself to other human beings. Being in competition with other human beings. Thinking and feeling like others are a "better" person or "worse" person than you and feeling bad about this. Failure to believe you have unchanging high value and worth, simply because you exist and are created in the image and likeness of a perfectly Loving Superior Being with person hood. When you base your degree of value and worth on anything worldly, material, or your own limited abilities and experiences. Self-centeredness of constantly making assumptions, (but believing them as if fact), about what others are thinking, feeling, and the reasoning behind their behaviors, which are always negative about you as if you are so important that everyone's world revolves around thinking about you. The fear of what others think and feel about you because you believe and act like your value and worth is determined by their acceptance and approval, combined with the self-centeredness (selfishness) of only caring about yourself in how others see and treat you, while thinking your perspectives and attitudes (feelings) are always right (pride), which leads you to not want to accept proper help or change (stubbornness). This causes various amounts of fear in all situations. 

OVERREACTING: You verbally and/or emotionally overreact to a situation, by feeling any degree of mad or upset or depressed or anxious when things don’t go your way or as you think they should; caused by all of the previous types of distorted thinking listed above among others.  

[Parts taken from: Burns, David D., MD. 1989. The Feeling Good Handbook. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.]  (Adapted and Modified by L K Miller, LPC, 2009, edited 2021, L K Miller de Vences) 

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