"Catastrophizing is telling yourself that things are likely to go wrong and tht if thy do, the results would be dire."
"Catastrophizing causes your heart to beat faster, your glands to dump adrenaliine into your bloodstream, your blood to flow away fronm your brain and increasingly toward your muscles, perparing your body to fight it out or run away. Catastrophizing causes your body to react as if you were in danger even though you're not, and the anxiety that results can be highly uncomfortable and debilitating."
"Catastrophizing" is one of two common types of irrational thinking that often become common patterns and vicious cycles for abuse survivors. The other is "demanding".
What these both have in common is that they are all-or-nothing, it's-got-to-be-this-way, fatalistic types of thinking.
In catastrophizing, we tell ourselves things have to go in the worst possible way, becuz they always do for us; and if they do, we will not be able to deal with it, to survive.
In demanding, we tell ourselves things have to go the way we want them to: or they will go in the worst possible way, becuz they always do for us; and if they do, we will not be able to deal with it, to survive.
But if things do always go in the worst possible way for us, how can we possibly expect our demands that things go differently become reality?
So you can see the vicious cycle when these two go together, as they usually do. [img]http://www.click-smilie.de/sammlung/alles_moegliche/allesmoegliche002
"Coupled with catastrophizing, demanding keeps you alone, rigid, alienated, paralyzed, and miserable."
Catastrophizing is something I've kinda thot about myself but, maybe becuz it is coupled with demanding, I couldn't really see.
When people would say "You're exaggerating," or "You get too carried away with things," or "Now you know that's not gonna happen," I used to get really PO'd
. Probably I still will, becuz who are they to tell me that?
Hey, logically I was trying to tell myself that too. I couldn't feel, grasp, experience it. But now I'll at least understand and try to be a bit more understanding. Becuz I'll know what they are saying is I'm catastrophizing, or at least that's the way I'll try to take it. Becuz chances are good they'd be right.
Catastrophizing is a vicious cycle of thinking I've been caught in and am just really seeing it for what it is.
Demanding, I've been well aware of in myself. "After all I've been thru, I'm 'entitled,'
I 'deserve' for things to go my way, they 'have' to go my way."
News flash to self: No, they don't!
And they won't.
OK, so I work on negotiating & modifying my demands to be more realistic. Ask why it has to be this way, my
way. Can I prove
has to be this way? What will happen if it doesn't
turn out this way?
Ah but there's the problem for the demanding catastrophist: what will happen is catastrophe, the worst possible thing, the thing I won't be able to handle, like my abuse...
But how often do our very worst case scenarios actually take place? I mean, if we go all the way with them, carry them to their logical end in our thot processes? And if they ever did/do/could, would we really not be able to cope, to survive?
In "Adult Children of Abusive Parents," Steven Farmer would have us answer those questions with the following exercise whenever we catastrophize, called "Escalating the Catastrophe," which we are to practice & journal for future reference:
"Ask yourself the simple question, 'What's the worst possible thing that could happen?' and imagine some potential disaster. Then ask yourself if you could survive such an outcome. If the answer is yes (it usually is), then consider some possibility even worse. Continue imagining worse things until you have escalated to the point where it becomes ludicrous."
It may sound like a ludicrous exercise--it did to me at first--but I've tried it and it helps enuf that I'm not gonna knock it until I give it more of a chance.
Escalating the catastrophe could well diffuse it, ease the stress in my body & mind, and thus help heal some physical & some psychic numbing & pain.
"If you look deeper, however, you will see that it is your beliefs about events, and not the events themselves, that make you feel the way you do."
(Quotations from "Adult Children of Abusive Parents" by Steven Farmer, pp 158-162.)