Chapter 7 - Uncovering Your Self-Defeating Beliefs - Coggle Diagram
Chapter 7 - Uncovering Your Self-Defeating Beliefs
Is based on the idea
that depression, anxiety and anger
result from distorted thoughts in the here and now
Explains why we feel the way we do
But doesn't address important questions
Why are some people so vulnerable to painful mood swings?
while others seem to be naturally happy and confident all the time?
Why are different people vulnerable to different kinds of problems?
Some fall apart when they're criticised
Others fly into a rage whenever someone cuts them off in traffic
What explains the timing of episodes of depression, anxiety, or anger
and what triggers these problems in the first place?
This is where Self-Defeating Beliefs come in
Your attitudes and personal values explain your psychological vulnerabilities
Once you've pin-pointed your Self-Defeating Beliefs
You'll know exactly why you get upset
and when you're likely to get upset in the future
Two basic types of Self-Defeating Beliefs
Usually self-esteem equations that ttell you what you need to be or do
in order to become a worthwhile human being
in order to feel happy and fulfilled."
You believe you should always try to be perfect
Whenever you fail or fall short, you beat yourself up relentlessly
and tell yourself you're not as good as you should be
You think you have to impress everyone with your talent or accomplishments
to get them to like and accept you
You believe that your friends and colleagues won't respect you
if they discover that you're flawed or vulnerable
You base your self-esteem on your
You think you needs everyone's approval in order to be worthwhile
You get defensive and feel threatened whenever anyone criticises or disapproves of you
Lead to conflicts with other people
Usually expectations about what happens in close, intimate relationships
They shape our understanding of what we have to do to be loved and respected and how other people will treat us
You believe you're innocent and the person you're not getting along with is to blame for the problems in your relationship
You feel convinced you're right and the other person is wrong
You believe that people should think, feel, and behave the way you expect them to
When they don't, you get angry and frustrated
You believe that the only true happiness comes from being loved by someone you care about
You think you'll be doomed to feelings of emptiness and worthlessness if you're ever rejected or alone
You believe that you have to meet everyone else's needs and expectations
Even if you make yourself miserable in the process.
Love becomes a form of slavery because you feel you always have to give, give, give in order to be loved
You believe that the people who care about you will be self-centered, exploitative, and fragile
You feel that you can never be open and spontaneous or tell them how you really feel inside because they'll fly off the handle and reject you.
You believe that anger, conflict, and disagreements with other people are dangerous
and should be avoided at all costs
Differences with negative thoughts
Self-Defeating Beliefs are
But negative thoughts surface only when you're upset
Identifying your SDBs is more than just an exercise in self-awareness
When you modify these beliefs
You'll be far less vulnerable to painful mood swings in the future
You'll enjoy greater
If you have an
This means that you base your self-esteem on your
As long as things are going well in your studies or career
You'll feel reasonably happy and contented
But should you fail or fall short of your goals
You'll be vulnerable to painful mood swings
Your mind will be flooded with negative thoughts
"I'm such a loser"
"Why did I screw up like that?"
"I shouldn't have made that mistake!"
If you have a
As long as you're involved in a loving relationship with someone you care about
You'll feel reasonably happy and fulfilled
But if you feel alone, rejected, or unloved
you may fall into a severe depression because you'll feel worthless
Pinpoint your own Self-Defeating Beliefs
You can use the
Downward Arrow Technique
The arrow is a form of shorthand for the questions:
"If this thought were true, why would it be upsetting to me?"
"What would it mean for me?"
When you ask yourself these questions, a new negative thought will pop into your mind
new negative thought
directly under the arrow
new downward arrow
underneath this thought
this asking the same questions for each negative thought until
You're generally done when you end up with a thought like:
"That would mean I was worthless"
"That would mean life was not worth living"
"Then I could never feel happy again"
Daily Mood Log
You can record this on the
section of a (possibly new)
Daily Mood Log
Rate how much you believe each thought in
To focus on the initial negative thought you're investigating
Review these thoughts
And see if you can identify any self-defeating beliefs
Refer to the list of 23
Common Self-Defeating Beliefs
If you repeat this process several times
You'll generate a
of negative thoughts
When you review these thoughts
You can easily pinpoint your Self-Defeating Beliefs
From original negative thought 1.
I might fail the test
Then I'll look bad in front of my classmates
Then they'll lose respect for me
That would mean I'd wasted all my time and money studying
Then everything I've lived and worked for will go down the drain.
That would mean I was a failure
That would mean I was worthless
For this example, the following SDBs were identified
These beliefs are extremely common in people who suffer from performance anxiety
Self-esteem is based on achievements and getting everyone's approval
Assumes everyone else is just as critical of them as they are of themselves
Feels like they're performing under a bright spotlight
Having to impress people to get them to like them
Assumes everyone will react in exactly the same way
So if one person looks down on them, they all will
Although Self-Defeating Beliefs always
contain a grain of truth
There may be catastrophic thinking which isn't realistic
They tend to be pretty misleading
The Downward Arrow Technique
Is easy to learn
Can quickly provide you with a wealth of valuable information
About your own attitudes and beliefs
It doesn't make any difference what thought you choose to work on
So choose one that's
interesting to you
For each thought, ask yourself the questions:
"If that were true, what would it mean to me? Why would it be upsetting to me?
A new thought will pop into your head
And you can jot it down under the arrow
This exercise will help you understand why you're vulnerable to the kinds of mood problems that have been bothering you
into your problems will not be enough on it's own
The next chapter will explain how to develop a more rewarding personal value system