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Sport Psych


Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles

Cognitive Diary Example


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The following is an example to help learn how to identify and change irrational thinking. It is best to read the articles defining the irrational styles of thinking prior to trying to identifying the styles in the example. It uses the format of the COGNITIVE DIARY CBT SELF-HELP app. Read: Understanding and Using the Cognitive Diary.

Responsible for Others' Feelings

EVENT: Upset with a friend

EMOTIONS: irritation, trepidation, hurt

DISTRESS RATING: 7--Feeling distressed, less in control

THOUGHTS: “My friend didn't ask me to join her when she went out with other friends. I feel hurt. I probably couldn't have gone anyway because I'm busy with the kids, but it would have been nice to be asked. Maybe she doesn't like me as much. I'm probably not very much fun. But I can't tell her what I feel because I don't want to hurt her feelings.”

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE IRRATIONAL THINKING IN THIS EXAMPLE? There are at least 3 irrational beliefs.

HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THE THINKING? What is another way of thinking about the situation that won't cause the feelings of irritation, trepidation, and hurt?

The Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help app helps you to determine some ways to challenge the irrational thinking. Once you have done that, it is important to read the rational challenges frequently until they automatically come to mind rather than the irrational thinking.


Irrational Beliefs:
1) Internal Control. The statement "I don't want to hurt her feelings" indicates that this person feels responsible for others' feelings which is an over-responsibility for others. She believes that: 1) negative emotions are bad, and 2) since they are bad, to cause someone to have negative feelings is bad. However, she is wrong on both these counts. First, emotions aren't bad. Emotions are information. If someone feels something, it is providing them with valuable information about themselves or about the situation. Second, we can't CAUSE someone to feel anything. Feelings are based on the individual's reaction to a situation. Other people don't necessarily react in the same way we would. They react based on their own way of thinking whether it is rational or irrational. Because of this, others may not view an emotional reaction in the same way. However, even if they do have the irrational belief that she shouldn't express her feelings because she is causing hurt, then that is their responsibility, not hers. Others are responsible for their own reactions, especially the irrational reactions. She shouldn't have to walk on eggshels due to fear of how someone might react.

To combat this thinking, she needs to recognize the importance of expressing her concerns and desires in a relationship. Only by discussing a problem can it be resolved. Otherwise, her friend may continue to unintentionally hurt her when it may be a problem that can be solved. However, she is unable to do this as long as she feels responsible for her friend's feelings so she needs tell herself that she cannot control other people's feelings and it is not her responsibility to try to do so.

2) Blaming. She is engaging in self-blame when she states that maybe her friend doesn't like her as much because she's not fun. People who tend to take too much responsibility are often highly critical of themselves. The internal control belief discussed above results in thinking that they are responsible for everything that happens, and therefore, if they are not happy with something, they are to blame. Whenever a problem occurs, they tend to think of it as their fault.

3) Mind-reading of Others. The biggest problem with mind-reading others is that it tends to result in an inaccurate interpretation of the situation. A clue here is that she indicates she probably would have been busy, anyway. Since this is a friend of hers, perhaps her friend knew that and didn't invite her for that reason. However, people who are overly responsible for others' feelings often think "That's what I would have done" and then they are hurt when others don't behave the same way. She is interpreting her friends behavior based on how she behaves rather than recognizing that there are other valid reasons for someone's behavior. People who are overly responsible often end up feeling resentful because they are not treated the same way in return.

One way to help challenge mind-reading is that if you (or someone else) can come up with any other valid interpretation of the person's behavior, then you have to recognize the possibility of being wrong in your interpretation. Therefore, it is important to either recognize and accept you are wrong or discuss the situation with the other person to determine their thinking about it.

How Can This Thinking Be Changed?
"I need to express my feelings to her in an assertive way. If she is hurt by that, then it is her responsibility, not mine. My responsibility is to communicate clearly in a friendship so that we can resolve problems. However, it is likely that this is a simple misunderstanding that I am interpreting wrong and by discussing it I can discover her reasoning. I can also choose to not discuss it if I can truly recognize that she didn't mean anything by it and I'm just inaccurately interpreting her behavior."

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