Thought Traps That Perpetuate Heartache in Relationships
Being in a relationship has its challenges, especially when it comes to communication. When partners are unwilling to be open about how they feel or maybe do not know how to put their feelings into words, this type of situation can leave a lot of room for assumptions. Not getting the answers you are looking for and feeling anxious about the success of your relationship can perpetuate the concept of thought traps, also known as cognitive distortions. These distorted thoughts wreak havoc in relationships because they are seldom either logical or based in truth, however believable they may appear. Becoming aware of these thought traps may help you to improve your relationship and increase communication. We all end up in a thought trap at some point but we know it doesn’t feel good when we play the fool, so here are some red flags to look out for.
MIND READING: What do they think about me?
Most people are left to wonder what others think about them, especially when they experience a breakdown of communication, and rarely do they imagine that the other person’s thoughts are positive. But rather than forming assumptions that may prove to be incorrect, it is always better to bravely ask others for their honest opinion. Negative thinking about oneself worsens when one presumes to know what others are thinking; eventually these ideas only lower one's self-esteem and bruise one's confidence. Don’t punish yourself by falling into this trap. Remember that you cannot read another person’s thoughts so open up and ask.
PERSONALIZATION: It’s all my fault.
When you decide that everything bad in your relationship is your fault, consider this to be a big red flag. Just because your partner is upset about something, that doesn't make you responsible for their feelings. If you do not agree on something, this does not make you wrong. Relationships are about balance and healthy boundaries. When one person takes responsibility for all the feelings in a relationship, it destroys any opportunity for the other person to grow emotionally. Don't play the Blame Game.
CATASTROPHIZING: Everything is terrible and nothing is ever going to work out.
This type of thinking occurs when we imagine that everything is worse than it really is. Blowing things out of proportion can be really damaging to a relationship, especially when one partner is able to realistically see a situation for what it is. It is never a good idea to assume that the outcome of a problem is going to be the worst case scenario because no one has psychic capabilities and therefore our predictions are rarely going to be accurate.
EMOTIONAL REASONING: I don’t feel like my partner cares, therefore they don’t.
It is good to be aware of how you feel but it is not okay to let your emotions dictate your decisions. Emotional decision making can make matters worse because generally, logic and reasoning go out the window. Keep in mind that your feelings are valid but unless your partner has validated these feelings to be true, it is best not to dwell on these thoughts.
When it comes to your relationship, making assumptions about what your partner’s thoughts or feelings are can ruin a good thing... and fast! It is important to remember that you cannot pretend to always know what someone else feels, so steer clear of making up your own reasons for your partner’s actions. Best practice is to open the lines of communication and to talk to your partner about what is going on. Let them tell you what they are thinking and how they are feeling. This will help you to approach your relationship with trust and will increase overall satisfaction for you both.