When we grow up in dysfunctional homes with negative thinking crowding the mind at all times, we tend to fall into that trap very often in later stages of life as well. “It is normal to fall into unhealthy thinking habits occasionally, especially when feeling down. However, when you have experienced childhood trauma, these thought patterns can be in their most extreme forms and can be harmful. Cognitive distortions are biased perspectives that we develop, often as a result of childhood trauma. These irrational thoughts and beliefs become ingrained over time, making it challenging to identify and change them,” explained Emmylou Antonieth Seaman.
Addressing the nature of the distorted thoughts and how they can negatively impact us, the Therapist further added, “Their subtle nature makes them particularly damaging, as we may not realize they need to be addressed in order to promote healing and growth. While it may initially be difficult, it can be beneficial to identify positive examples within situations where you tend to use cognitive distortions, especially when dealing with childhood trauma.”
Here’s how childhood negativity can impact our thoughts:
All or nothing thinking: We have a difficult time walking in the lines of grey. It is always either black or white for us. But this can also affect us and make us feel frustrated.
Overgeneralisation: We have a difficult time perceiving things as they are. When we know of something, we tend to generalise it for everything else, leaving no room for exceptions or knowing that things can also be unique in their own ways.
Mental filter: We somehow always filter the positive things away from the negative ones, focusing solely on the negative. This further distorts our perspective on certain things.
Personalisation: Childhood negativity makes us believe that we are responsible for everything that is going wrong. Be it conflicts at home or problems in adult relationships, we think we are the ones at fault always.
Catastrophising: We always jump to the worst possible scenario as the conclusion of a situation.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com