Cognitive distortions series: personalising
This is part of a series looking at the most common cognitive distortions, how they show up, and what you can do to start becoming more aware of them in a personal, career and team context that I originally posted on Instagram. You can read more about cognitive distortions and find links to other posts here.
What is personalising?
Personalising is taking responsibility for things that are out of your control. It's seeing yourself as the cause of events or other people's feelings.
How personalising shows up
Because personalisation can mean that you blame yourself for things that you can do nothing about, it may lead to low self-esteem and crippling guilt. People may tell you to stop being a doormat or a pushover because you'll rarely tell someone that did something wrong in an argument, and instead will assume it must have been something you said or did that caused the problem.
How it might show up for you:
In your life
"If I'd made my other half leave on time for dinner, we wouldn't have been late and the night wouldn't have been ruined."
In your career
"It's my fault that my co-worker was made redundant and I wasn't."
In your team
"Our leader doesn't give us clear instructions, it's our fault for not asking for more information."
Challenge your thinking by
The responsibility pie chart:
- - Write a list of all the people or things that have any responsibility or played a part - however small - for what's going on. Put yourself last on the list.
- - Draw a circle and divide it up in line with the amount or percentage of responsibility that each has. Leave yourself until last. How much responsibility is left? How responsible are you really?