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Catastrophic thinking

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musiclovingmom posted 1/22/2014 12:01 PM

A few days ago, someone mentioned the idea of catastrophic thinking. I've been pondering this, and I'm realizing that I'm often very guilty of it. Take right now, for example. I'm in the bedroom, curled up, wiping tears and trying to figure out how I'm going to make it through the day (or week, or month). Why? Because I can't find my wedding ring. I took it off to knead play dough for my two-year old. I laid it on the top of the can of formula. When I came back for it, it was gone. I have searched everywhere - including through the trashcan. Reality is, it's just a ring. But, my head keeps running through everything else - I'm a horrible wife, not worth my family; losing it was symbolic of how my marriage is going to disappear; subconsciously I must not care enough or I wouldn't have lost it and and and. It's awful. Some part of me knows that none of it is true, but I can't stop it. Today it's my wedding ring. A while back, I had the same kind of meltdown over spilling a glass of tea when trying to be flirty with my H. On Sunday, it was because of a last minute change in plans. Anybody else do this? How do you change your thought patterns?

bionicgal posted 1/22/2014 12:50 PM

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help a lot with this kind of thinking. The first step is to notice it and not get carried away by it. Then, there are worksheets you can use to help you identify the underlying thoughts that are causing you problems.

Jrazz posted 1/22/2014 16:24 PM

I agree with bionicgal. Positive self-talk, even if I don't believe it in the moment, has helped me a lot.

My IC taught me to look at that voice that we use to be down on ourselves unnecessarily as the "inner critic."

When my Inner Critic takes the stage, I tell her that she may say her piece and then leave. Then I banish those thoughts to a box in the corner of my mind. I can't help them from forming, but I can give them much less weight when I make an effort to hush them.

Inner Critic: "I'm so lazy - I don't get half the things done I intend to."

Positive Redirect: "Ok lazy thoughts - you've had your moment. I did x, y, and z well today and that's a good thing."


authenticnow posted 1/22/2014 17:53 PM

I do that. I used to do it a lot more. Not to oversimplify, but what I do to stop myself is simply, stop myself. I've gotten to recognize it and realize the harm it causes. It helps that I recognize it most of the time because when I do I will be having my moment, and feel myself getting to that point and I just stop myself, take a breath, take a moment to feel the feelings, and then stop the catastrophizing.

Awareness is key.

Scubachick posted 1/22/2014 18:51 PM

I use to be like this. I broke the habit by asking myself, what if it was my best friend or my mom that spilled the tea..what would I say to them? I wouldn't say you're so stupid and you can't do anything right. I'd say opps! Let me grab a towel. Don't's only tea.

Flatlined123 posted 1/23/2014 04:42 AM

I hope your ring shows up soon.

overandone posted 1/23/2014 06:09 AM

I think you have to realise that finding your SO has had an affair is not just an emotional shock to you, but it affects you physically as well. How many of us here have admitted to our house being a complete tip after d-day, when it wasn't before? No energy or desire to fix it. How many of us struggle with sleep and nightmares? How many of us complain about memory loss, being 'all over the place', indecisive etc.? Be gentle with yourself. You've suffered a severe shock and your body needs time to recover. I realised I needed to treat the shock of infidelity as recovering from a long physical illness. I take day-time naps or rests when I need to. Only essential jobs get done. I do things I enjoy rather than what needs doing. I need to heal me, and you need to do the same for you. You're not the same person you were before d-day, and the new you needs molly-coddling and not too many expectations placed on you. Go gently...

musiclovingmom posted 1/23/2014 09:51 AM

I spent some time searching yesterday for counselors in my area who use cognitive behavioral therapy. There don't seem to be any (there are some with an out of state area code that could be about an hour drive one way - I'll have to think about that since it means a minimum 3 hour time commitment including a babysitter).
I did find my ring. On the living room floor. My husband was already charging the drill battery and had plans to take the sink apart and remove the cabinets. He also called our jeweler to discuss loss insurance to help ease my fears should this happen again.
I wish this was just a post-A problem. Seems like it would be easier to kick that way. Unfortunately, I'm seeing this as a life long pattern. I remember having a total meltdown as a 5 year old when my first tooth started getting loose. I was determined to not lose that tooth because I was so afraid of what would happen if I did (name calling, no new tooth, a curly tooth - mom had a permanent in her hair, etc). I remember thinking my life was going to end in 5th grade because I got a C on a test. I actually passed out in an audition room as an 8th grader when I made a playing error and realized it (I didn't make that ensemble and almost quit music all together because of it).
I am aware now that this is a changeable pattern. For as long as I can remember I've hated it, but resigned myself to that just being the way I am. I've never been good at positive self-talk. Guess I need to really start working on that.

hopefullromantic posted 1/23/2014 16:05 PM

Have you always been like this, or is this just recent, since finding out about the A? If it's a recent thing, I would give yourself a little slack. When we are under unusual stress everything seems catastrophic.

I lost the stone from my ring shortly after dday and I was convinced it meant the marriage was over. We turned the metaphor around by replacing the old stone with a new and bigger one.

Jrazz posted 1/24/2014 12:01 PM

I've never been good at positive self-talk. Guess I need to really start working on that.

Something that I also struggle with is dropping a process if I'm not immediately perfect at it or it doesn't go the way I anticipated.

With positive self talk, I DID feel a little silly at first. It's like trying to sell yourself something you're not even sure exists. I've learned that it takes a lot of practice when it comes to changing a behavior, and that just trying it is what really gives you a boost down the path.

Give it a try. Kindly say the things to yourself that you know you need to hear, and don't pressure yourself to subscribe right away. Just treating yourself in a gentle manner may help you open up to the idea that things can be ok even when they seem to get out of hand.

I'm glad you found your ring, btw.

Rebreather posted 1/24/2014 12:08 PM

I think any counselor could help you with the basics, if you can't find someone to specifically do CBT with you.

I agree SO MUCH with Jrazz. You really can change this about yourself and you will be so much happier when you do.

My personal battle was perfectionism and my IC helped me get a handle on it. I was watching a rerun of Modern Family yesterday and Clair was all freaked out about a family picture and OMG, the whole episode was me. My FHW was all, "gee, I have no idea what that might be like." Sigh. I am still a work in progress, but so.much.better. Now it's quirky, not devastating.

musiclovingmom posted 1/24/2014 20:34 PM

Thanks guys. I'm trying. I tried really hard today. I seem to have caught my kids' cold - which means I'm extra sensitive to almost everything. We went into town to pick up a few things. At lunch, the pizza I ordered just wasn't tasting good. And, my 2 year old wouldn't eat anything. Normally, that would have been it. The day would have been a total loss. I reminded myself that everything tastes different when you are congested, left over half my food and didn't beat myself up over the waste. I also gave some thought as to what I could actually eat and asked my H to make an additional stop so I could grab it to take home (normally, I would never ask for something I specifically wanted if it caused such an inconvenience). I still managed a pretty decent afternoon with my family - even though the boys were grumpy and I'm exhausted. Now, they're in bed and I'm not far behind. Hoping I continue to keep my positive outlook tomorrow for my daughter's game (my exH and his new wife will be there also - he's ok, she makes everyone miserable).

hopingforhappy posted 1/25/2014 16:00 PM

There are lots of on-line resources that can help you get started (not as good as a real, live IC, but better than nothing!) Google Tara Brach. She does a lot on mindfulness and radical acceptance. She has podcasts you can listen to as well. Hope this might help.

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