Stinking Thinking

     Adult Children and codependents often engage in self-defeating,
     negative thought patterns called “stinking thinking”.
             These patterns result in dysfunctional relationships with self and others.  

These are some traits of stinking thinking:

1. Black and White Thinking:
This self-defeating thinking comes from an absolute black and white; right/wrong; always and never,
perspective, for example:
I will always be alone.
I never get a break
  • A single negative thing gets turned into a sweeping generality.

2. Negative Focus:
Here, the focus tends to be on the half of the glass that is empty. This leads us to lament, rather than be
grateful, for what we have.
Even if the glass is 7/8ths full many people's distorted perspective will find something negative to focus on.
  • At the other extreme, however, are those people who focus only on the good, as a way of denying
    their negative feelings.

3. Magical Thinking:
This is characterized by mind reading, fortune telling, and assuming. We convince ourselves that we can
read other peoples minds and feelings, or foretell the future, and then we act as if what we assume is
  • In this way, we often create self-fulfilling prophecies.
Klaas Tuinman
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia - Rev: 2010
People who really want to heal, will find a way;
those who don't, will find an excuse.
Blowing things out of proportion, playing the king or queen of tragedy.

Many people are addicted to Trauma Dramas and want the excitement and intensity of dramatic scenes,
while others are terrified of conflict.
  • In codependent relationships, one partner is often over-indulgent and dramatic, and emotionally
    coupled with someone who strives to avoid conflict, connection and emotion at all costs.

5. Self-Discount:
Inability to receive, or to admit to our own positive qualities or accomplishments.
When we receive a compliment we minimize it (
Oh it was nothing), make a joke out of it,
or just ignore it altogether by changing the subject or turning the compliment back on the other person.
  • We fail to hear the praise that we deserve.

6. Emotional Reasoning:
Reasoning from feelings.  I feel like a failure therefore I am a failure.  Believing that what we feel is
who what we are, we do not separate our inner child’s feelings about what happened a long time ago
from our current adult feelings.
  • We write our past onto our present.

7. Shoulds:
Should, must, ought to, and have to, come from a parent or authority figure.
In this situation, “Should” means “
I don’t want to, but they are making me.”  
  • Adults don’t need to have shoulds -- adults have choices.

8.  Self-Labeling:
We self-label when we identify with our shortcomings and mistakes, with our human imperfections, and
when we label ourselves with names like
stupid, loser, jerk, or fool, instead of accepting our humanity
and learning from our mistakes and shortcomings.

9.  Personalizing and Blame:
We blame ourselves for things we weren’t entirely responsible for, or for the way someone else feels.  
Conversely, we may blame other people, external events, or fate, while overlooking how our own
attitudes and behavior may have contributed to a problem.

  • As children, we learned to blame others to keep ourselves from feeling the shame of being blamed.
  • As adults, we swing between blaming and self-blame--neither one is the Truth.  
     The answers lie in the gray area, in 2 through 9, not in the extremes.

~Unknown (adapted –with thanks to Gina R. Ottoboni) 2008
We all need a daily check up from the neck up to avoid stinkin' thinkin'
which ultimately leads to hardening of the attitudes.

~Zig Ziglar
Stinking Thinking: dysfunctional
Dawn Cove Abbey
Roadside Assistance For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman  © 2007-2017

Questions and comments welcomed.