There are 6 “core” unhealthy thinking patterns that we all fall into from time to time. I have already discussed, in a general sense, the first 4 in my first article. I have also already posted a short test you can take which can help you identify your unhealthy thinking patterns. This tool can enable you, if you will receive it as a helpful tool, to begin to self-evaluate and identify your own unhealthy thinking patterns SO THAT you can begin to take those thoughts captive unto Christ, and start thinking on things that are true.
I had, honestly, forgotten about continuing this article – but was reminded of it after such a long and emotionally draining week this last week. Long story. Another time maybe. I wanted to refresh my knowledge of these thinking patterns, and remembered I was only half-way through with blogging about it all!
So I will pick up where I left off…
5) Polarizing: “Seeing everything as black and white.” Polarizers are perfectionists. They see everything as all-or-nothing. They hold to rigid rules and judge their own (and others) performance based on their own impossible standards. They don’t have much satisfaction in genuine effort and there’s hardly any joy in success since it was expected in the beginning. But they do suffer great anger and despair when their idea of perfection can not be attained.
Example: Spouse drives a new way home
Self-Talk: “This isn’t the right way home!”
Consequences: Anger at your spouse for driving a different (not wrong) can esalate to rage, and then a fight ensues
Sidenote: Many Christians can fall into legalism because they are polarizers at heart and the legalistic mindset simply feeds the unhealthy thinking pattern already in place. I know. I’ve been there!
6) Minimizing: “It’ really doesn’t matter.” Minimizers deny or discount any feelings associated with significant events in life. They tend to verbalize few emotions themselves and expect the same from others – often leaving spouses lonely, frusturated, and feeling deeply wounded. They often come from homes where personal needs were ignored and neglected or overlooked. “In an effort to avoid the pain of unmet needs, children in these environments willl learn to deny their own needs, lose touhch with their feelings and reduce to a minimum their personal sharing.”
Example: “Jimmy, how do you feel about the problems threatening your marriage?”
Self-Talk: “What problems? Martha’s the one who thinkgs we’ve got problems. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.”
Consequences: Withdrawn from wife, emotionally cold, inability to meet wife’s emotional needs
To overcome these faulty thinking patterns in your life, you must learn to correctly identify them. One of the best ways is to begin a journal and record your life events, what you THINK about the events and your emotional response. Following the ABCDE method, as outlined below, will help you in this journey:
- A represents the Activating event that occurs (the “trigger” moment!)
- B represents your Belief system or self-talk: what’s REALLY going through your head!
- C represents the Circumstances – your emtional or behavioural responses
- D represents Disputing untruths with more rational, truthful thoughts wechoose to tell ourselves
- E represents Enjoying more positive or appropriate responses
Taking your thoughts captive and casting them down, and then thinking on things that are true is GOD’S plan for a healthy mind! The process is not easy, but it is one I believe is absolutely essential.