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Thoughts that sabotage us: this is how they act in our minds

Thoughts that sabotage us: this is how they act in our minds

September 24, 2022

Who has not ever had a thought like "I'm not going to be able to pass that test", "I'm never going to get a good job", "I'm not worth anything", "I'm sure I fall ill table companion "or" I will not find a partner ever "? These kinds of thoughts are known, in psychology, under the name of irrational beliefs .

These thoughts may sometimes appear in isolation, but they become a problem when they are repeated and so constant that they limit and block the person in certain facets and activities of daily life. As for example: in the workplace, when establishing social relationships, speaking in public or even in the care of children.


Thus, the worst of these beliefs is not just the fact that they are irrational, but that they act as blockers, as thoughts that sabotage us and limit .

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The limiting thoughts

Since we came into the world, through receiving education and established relationships, we developed a way of thinking and we create some thought schemes in relation to the experiences and situations lived. Through these schemes we will interpret the information received from each situation we live, being for us an objective interpretation based on reality. However, the simple fact of devising certain thought patterns and not others makes us always experience what happens to us in a subjective way.


That does not mean that our way of thinking is totally "detached" from reality, of course. Some of our beliefs, although they do not correspond perfectly with reality, are realistic enough to work for us. However, others are largely irrational.

These irrational beliefs are misinterpretations of what happens around us. They are negative and automatic thoughts, which are beyond our control, it is as if our mind were boycotting us. It is these thoughts that can lead us to develop dysfunctional moods and generate great discomfort, without being aware of it, since for us our thoughts are reality.

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The magnetism of thoughts that sabotage

Interestingly, although the limiting thoughts are based on irrational beliefs, that does not mean that we end up rejecting them because they do not conform to reality. This is so because, by believing in them, they become, in part, a reality.


In fact, the discomfort generated by these beliefs, as well as the tendency to attribute success to luck and failures to our attributes, make Whatever happens, let's keep believing in these irrational ideas , which in turn makes us more likely to fail or fail to reach our goals because of fear and anxiety.

An example

From a specific stimulus a thought will be activated, and from this a chain of events will be generated. Thought is generator of emotion and emotion will lead to behavior.

For example, think of a person who goes by subway when suddenly the subway stops in the tunnel due to a breakdown and passengers spend more than thirty minutes locked in the car. Once past this episode, this person the next day will go up to the subway, again, to go to his work.

Once inside the car begin to shoot constant negative and automatic thoughts of the type "sure that the meter today is left standing", "as it comes back to stand up to me it gives me something", "I can not stand it here and over with so much people".

These thoughts begin to generate great discomfort in him, he begins to feel that the lack of air, that he can not breathe, the heart is accelerated, symptoms which make him worry more and that these "self-boosting thoughts" increase at times becoming a circle that is unstoppable for the person.

The man decides that the best idea will be to get off the car at the next stop, even if it is not his, once he is outside he finds himself much better and the thoughts diminish. This is avoidance behavior , seeing in this example to what extent these thoughts can be limiting.

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Learned helplessness

If we get used to feeding this type of irrational beliefs, we fall into the trap; the limiting thoughts end up dominating us , that is, we lose control over them and become a real time bomb for us. We let ourselves be totally carried away by them. Why? Because for us it is our reality, it is what we have learned to interpret from a certain situation.

And is that our brain always goes further to turn this situation into something catastrophic and unsolvable. When we are at this point we can act in a passive way, that is, we see that there is nothing to do. This in psychology is known as learned helplessness ; The person is inhibited in certain situations due to the feeling he has of not being able to do anything and does not respond even though there are opportunities to change the situation which he avoids.

This can happen for example before a type of cognitive error known as divination of thought, for example, someone will have thought more than once "so that I will study if I always suspend this subject". There is a real possibility that the person can do something in this situation, perhaps you need to study or try harder than with other subjects, but your thinking is that you will never get to approve it.

This idea will have appeared from previous experiences where it has been able to suspend several times, probably appearing the catastrophic type of cognitive distortion "I will never approve this subject, I will go to September, but in September I will not approve and finally I will never be able to get my degree". This passive position we adopted in the face of the situation can lead to a deep sadness and even to develop depressive feelings, so you can see the force that our thoughts can have on ourselves.

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What to do? Possible solutions

It is important that little by little learn to identify your own cognitive distortions and the emotions that are triggered by these thoughts. If you detect them you will have a greater capacity to control them and prevent them from limiting you and dominating in different areas of our lives.

Writing about these thoughts and feelings is also very beneficial. It helps us to externalize and put out of our discomfort, it allows us to give it a shape and a sense and for a moment we can cut that circle that feeds itself again and again.

If these types of thoughts constantly assail you, it is because something is not right inside you: maybe you have a damaged self-esteem or you have been going through a difficult situation that you do not know how to face. Pay attention to the signals and alarms that your mind and body put into operation and perhaps they are warning you that it is time to ask for help. We can help you.

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