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Therapy Homework – Cognitive Distortions

I took last week off from work. I had to burn some time-off before the end of the year, and there’s a big project coming up that won’t allow us to take time off for a month or two, so I didn’t want it to go to waste. Also, I had some guys come over to redo the rotten bathroom floor, and felt like sitting ten feet away from them as they made all kinds of racket cutting out the entire bathtub and subflooring. It turns out work sent us all back to working remotely, so apparently I wasted my time off after all. So now I’m back to spending most of my time alone again, and after last week I can say that it’s not good for me.

My mother called almost every day, until I finally told her to stop. She really wants me to go and spend some time at the lake house they just bought, but I think I’ll put that off for a time when neither of them is there. It’s just too frustrating to deal with her right now. I wonder if all mothers are meddlers like this, or if mine just got some extra meddling genes.

My back is still fucked up, more than it was last time I mentioned it. Every time I bend over to pick something up or overexert myself, I can hear my wife telling me not to hurt myself, or that I’m stubborn. At least now I have the excuse of not having someone else around to pick up something I’ve dropped, or lift something that’s too heavy.

I wrote a little bit, but I did it in private mode because I didn’t feel like everyone needed to read the things I wanted to say to her. On that note, I wrote her an actual letter, and left it for her to pick up with some of her mail. I don’t think she’ll reply to it, and I’m starting to think she’s never really going to talk to me again, that after we sign the divorce papers that’s the last time I’ll see her. That hurts my heart more than I can put into words, but I can’t blame her because this is my fault. All I can do is hope that one day I’m able to say that without crying so much that I can’t read the letters on the screen.

In therapy yesterday, we talked a good bit about cognitive distortions. Part of my “homework packet” included a list of ten forms of “twisted thinking” and it is literally a checklist for me. I’m guilty of almost everything on the list, and my homework is to keep checking myself when I have a negative thought, to challenge those thoughts to see if they’re really true, or just me twisting my perception of reality to only see the negative or to see it in a negative light.

One of the things on the list is ‘Personalization and blame.’ This is when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn’t entirely under your control, or perhaps do the opposite and blame someone else for something that isn’t their fault. I challenged myself in the above paragraph when I said ‘this is all my fault.’ I believe that statement is true. It might be possible that some of the blame can fall on her, but I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think that it’s a result of cognitive distortion. I was complacent in our relationship for two years, unable unwilling to do the simplest things like compliment her outfit, unwilling to talk to her about my problems, unwilling to bring up my insecurities, which led to my betrayal of her trust. That unwillingness to talk about things… that was due to cognitive distortions. Knowing that now, though, doesn’t really fix the whole relationship.

Now I’m going to go sit on the couch, watch tv, and eat a pint of ice cream.

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