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Extreme Emotions and Extreme Thoughts: Avoiding the Negativity Trap
OWL (Offer of Wise-Minded Learning): Extreme Emotions, Extreme Thoughts
- All-or-nothing thinking. Black and white thinking patterns. (I’m right/you’re wrong. I’m going to ace the test/flunk the test.).
- Overgeneralization. A negative feeling or event colors your entire assessment (My son’s birthday party was ruined by his rude reactions to me.).
- Mental filter. You screen out everything outside of the preoccupying negative threat (My daughter is not college material with her math grades.).
- Jumping to conclusions. The negative threat mushrooms to assumptions that lack support. Negative forecasting. You presume that something will be terrible in the future.
- Catastrophizing or minimizing. Blowing things up to a worst-case scenario and dismissing good things.
- Feelings altar. Assuming that because you feel it, it must be true.
- “Should” statements. You try to motivate or punish yourself or others with expectations that things “should” be a certain way. This can result in a guilt trip, and more anger, frustration, shame and resentment--and it doesn’t motivate.
- Personalization. Assuming that you have primary responsibility for something bad (My daughter’s social problems are my fault.).
- Labeling/name calling. Attaching a label to yourself or another that encourages overly negative assessments (She’s a brat. I’m a bad mother).
Read more about negativity traps and the “The Importance of Positive Emotions” in Wise-Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens, in chapter 5: Emotional Flourishing.