Constructive and Destructive Thoughts 2

How can you “reprogram” your mind to remove destructive thoughts and improve your married relationship?

In our last article, we focused on “retracing the steps” of your mind as it deals with different situations that involve your spouse. Again, this can be accomplished through regular journaling.

A week’s worth of journaling will reveal to you the exact thought patterns that occur regularly when you are lonely, frustrated, angry or stressed.

Put Life Back In Your Marriage

How much control do you have over your emotions?

Emotions are powerful organic impulses that can influence almost every aspect of a person’s life. This is the main reason why we have to make a conscious effort to be aware of the raw emotions that accompany our thoughts especially during times of stress.

If you let your emotions rule your life simply because you feel that they reflect how you “truly feel”, you’re going to have a very rough time trying to maintain a harmonious relationship.

Your emotions are actually complex reactions based on your general perception and unique interpretation of events. People experience different emotions because they use different sets of mental filters or frames of reference when interpreting events.

In some cases, a person’s mental filters can actually prevent a person from accomplishing positive goals in life such as re-establishing a clear line of communication with an alienated spouse.

How can you solve this problem?

Mental filters, like our other mental creations, can be transformed to serve a person’s present goals. If you want to transform mental filters that are harming your relationship you have to know what they look like first. Below are some of the most destructive frames of mind that a married person can have:

1. Chronic Tunnel Vision – When a person has tunnel vision, he sees only a very narrow and limited version of reality.

Often, people with tunnel vision attribute purely negative traits and experiences to their spouses while blindly associating positive ones to anything outside the actual relationship. Below are some statements that show telltale signs of chronic tunnel vision:

“I’ve given up trying to depend on her; she’s always too busy with herself.” (Husband forgets all the times that his wife was dependable and instead he is focusing on all the times when she wasn’t able to give the type of response or support that he wanted or was expecting)

“He never spends time with me and the kids – all that matters to him is his new job.” (Wife forgets the totality of the relationship and how much her husband has invested in it, time-wise.)

2. Toxic Assumptions – A person makes toxic assumptions when he always thinks that there is a hidden motive or secret reason why another person is saying or doing something.

For example, a man might think that his wife is being extra attentive to him because she has been spending too much time with her friends and is trying to distract him from this development.

In reality, the wife feels nurturing because she’s noticed that he’s always tired and fatigued when he comes home from work. A person’s true intentions are disregarded in favor of poorly substantiated assumptions that may sometimes be malicious in nature.

3. Illogical Intensification – Illogical intensification occurs when a person habitually makes a situation far worse than it actually is in reality.

This behavior has 2 common patterns. The 1st pattern is when a person exaggerates the negative impact of another person’s behavior. For example, a wife may say something like “our whole vacation was a horrible waste of time and money!” after getting into an argument with her husband.

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When illogical intensification occurs, she may fail to take into account that the argument took place on the last day of the vacation and they enjoyed five days of peace and enjoyment while vacationing together. The 2nd pattern of illogical intensification is creating catastrophic, future scenarios out of thin air.

For example, a husband may exclaim something like “we’re going to be bankrupt and homeless!” after seeing his wife buy new draperies, simply because deep down, he feels that his wife is not allowed to make independent spending decisions because he brings in a much bigger and substantial monthly paycheck.

4. Negative Categories – Placing a person in negative categories such as “selfish” or “insane” is one of the most harmful things you can do in a relationship because it sullies not just your spouse’s behavior but also his entire identity.

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