Mind Reading
January 5, 2021
January 20, 2021


We are half way through our list of cognitive distortions from Key Four: Feel Your Feelings, Challenge Your Thoughts in the 8 Keys to Recovery From an Eating Disorder Workbook. 

Personalising - a cognitive distortion whereby you entirely blame yourself, or someone else, for a situation that in reality involved many factors and was out of your control.

This week, Kristie shares a standout memory from her recovery where she experienced the destructive nature of this thought pattern, and a simple strategy we can all use to challenge it.

6. Personalising 

Was there a reason you skipped me?

A standout memory I have of this ‘thinking error’ is when I was in group therapy.  It was a relaxed group of women in strong recovery, we would meet once a week for several hours and the focus was more on life and living than the minute details of eating disorder recovery.

The group opened with the person closest ‘Beth’ - the group facilitator - sharing how her week had unfolded.  The person next to her followed and it continued in that pattern.  After several people had shared, Beth called on 'Tammy', a participant on the other side of the room, to speak.

Immediately, the woman who had been next in line to share spoke up.  

‘Was there a reason you skipped me?’

I understood in a heartbeat what had happened.  If I had been the next ‘in line’ to go and Beth had called on someone else my brain would have had a fit with the following thoughts:

  • 'She skipped me because she doesn’t like me.'
  • 'She skipped me because I’m not important.'
  • 'She skipped me because someone else is more important.'
  • 'I don’t belong here.'
  • 'No one likes me.'
  • 'I’m nothing.'
  • 'I’m worthless.'

Beth paused, ‘Thank you for asking that question.  I went to Tammy because her current situation is so relevant to what was just shared.  I wanted to go there while the energy was hot.’

In that moment my brain had another fit.  ‘It’s that easy?  All I have to do is ask?

I began to use asking all the time.  The more I checked out my automatic reaction to people’s behaviour the more I learned that I was not the problem... my belief about me being a problem, was the problem.

I encourage you to lean into the magic of asking – you might just be surprised at the results!

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