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malign
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I thought I'd take on the challenge of that "Last Post: Never" sign on this new forum ...

I feel worthless when someone cuts me off driving in traffic.

I imagine them saying "My time is more valuable," "I don't care if I am putting your life in danger," and "It serves you right." Now, they may be saying such things, but why do I have to agree with them?

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Thanks for getting this started Malign!

I'll try to set the stage for this exercise, but I do hope that everyone will join in and help. Also - I've not done this sort of thing in some time so I hope people will bear with me as i scrape some rust off my skillz

I feel worthless

What we're trying to do is to get more conscious of the stream of thoughts - what are called automatic thoughts. Specifically, we're looking for thoughts that carry judgmental themes - as these thoughts are the sorts of thoughts that can most easily affect our moods. It is a foundational assumption of cognitive therapy that thoughts affect mood.

Ultimately we want to relate these thoughts back to unspoken beliefs about ourselves, others or the nature of the world. We are looking for ways to get at these beliefs and examine their objective accuracy.

One of the first things we want to do is to relate the thought to any change in how you felt. When you were last cut off in traffic and this thought occurred to you, how was your mood affected?

"I feel worthless" could be a simple description of how you feel, but to the extent that it points at something just a little deeper -> a belief about yourself -> "I am worthless" then this maybe starts to be something that affects mood. If you merely feel worthless, that could be a temporary thing. However, if you are worthless, well then, that could be a permanent thing. It's much more depressing when it points to something permanent vs. something temporary.

My time is more valuable

... than yours.

What does this imagining that you do maybe suggest about what you believe in that moment about yourself and specifically about your worthiness? My guess would be something like - I'm not worthy" or "I'm less worthy than this other aggressive person". Can you comment on this please?

why do I have to agree with them?

Excellent question. What sort of belief sits underneath this observation do you think that results in you agreeing with statements suggesting that you are not worthy? ???

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Sadly, about all I'm conscious of at that point is the resulting rage.

It certainly points to some pretty serious beliefs about being unworthy ...

See how hard this is, for me? I just drown it in words.

I feel like, okay, even believe that I am, crap, at that point. I often emphasize that by doing something stupid, risking my life even further, because that belief isn't even conscious, much less examined. Probably trying to make them feel like crap, instead.

It's difficult for me to get inside all the self-protection; maybe even harder when I have to type out my responses.

I put a pretty significant amount of effort to try to nice to people when I drive. When I'm taken advantage of, I feel like it reflects on my entire life choices, not just on who gets to go first.

I sense that I'm not really getting this. ;-) Not that I want to stop trying ...

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“Cognitive Reframing help” sounds like a really cool thread, or at least the potential to be very helpful. Thus far it sounds a bit clinical and confusing. I think it will get better once it gets going.

It’s amazing how getting behind a wheel can change people. I have a friend who’s the nicest person but has terrible road rage. I can get like that at times also. On a good day I try to sympathize with the other person thinking they must be having a really bad day. Usually I feel threatened by them in some way like they are trying to control me or telling me that they are more important then me. Those times I try to remind myself that I am in control of not only my actions but also my reactions. I try to be proactive more then reactive. Sometimes it works.

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I wonder why someone cutting you off makes you feel like you're worthless. I guess what you're saying is that must be how the person who cut you off felt about you but why do you believe them. They don't know anything about you to make an assumption about your worth. Maybe you already have feelings of worthlessness so when you get cut off it's like this person is verifying that for you, like it's now a fact, you are worthless. Maybe you already feel that your life is less valuable than others in general, not just when driving. If these are beliefs you already have about your life than maybe being cutoff just amplifies them for you. The beliefs that you are worthless, and that your time is not valuable might be the negative thoughts you need to realize are not true. That was my try at this, I probably did it wrong but those are my thoughts on it.

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I feel like, okay, even believe that I am, crap, at that point. I often emphasize that by doing something stupid, risking my life even further, because that belief isn't even conscious, much less examined. Probably trying to make them feel like crap, instead.

So - my idea for this particular forum is that it will be a place where people can examine particular thoughts (which point to beliefs) they have which seem to be associated with particular uncomfortable moods. The idea in cognitive therapy is that you have a particular thought and that leads to a mood. Thoughts (and the beliefs that thoughts sit upon and reflect) cause moods.

To state it in the most simple terms, the way to examine the thoughts is to answer this question: "what is the evidence that supports this thought being true?" So - if you'd like to, please answer that question with regard to your thought, "I am crap". What is the evidence that you are crap?

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I would like to try and support Malign but I don't know how to add in on this I can try but I'm not sure I'm doing things right

The whole thinking of being worthless feels confermed when feeling worthless and when people disregard your worth by being rude and cutting you off in traffic it makes you think ok even they see I'm not worth being curtious too.

there is know way to know what those people were actually thinking and some do have some road rage, but I see how the deep set self thoughts are working to lead the way here. If you are feeling so worthless anyways it is almost like going through the day silently searching for ways to conferm what you are already thinking. Like what you said "why do I have to agree with them" Really you don't but mabe you are aready thinking this stuff anyways and so it is like they are agreeing with you?

:confused:wow this is hard- I think this is my try to help?

take care

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Guest ASchwartz

If I could add to the process of cognitive restructuring:

I feel worthless when someone cuts me off driving in traffic.

I imagine them saying "My time is more valuable," "I don't care if I am putting your life in danger," and "It serves you right." Now, they may be saying such things, but why do I have to agree with them?

Malign, you imagine that that the person who cut you off is saying those things. But, you have no evidence for that. Your automatic thought that you are worthless is not supported by what this driver said because you only imagined it.

As Mark, asks, do you have any hard evidence for the automatic thought "I feel worthless," and therefore, I am worthless??

Allan

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Well, this is where I run into trouble.

Obviously, there is no objective evidence (or any other kind) that I am literally fecal matter. For one thing, manure can't type. At best, it has to hunt and peck.

But "worthless" is much harder. When I try to answer, many examples run through my head, most of them similar to the driving encounter, in which I concluded that people were telling me that I was not worth as much as they were. Then I use this barely-examined mass as "evidence" that I must be worth significantly less than most.

Of course, when each incident is examined more closely, the conclusion is at best debatable. Furthermore, there is no reason to aggregate the incidents together: they represent the input of random people I don't know, based on unrelated and different situations. For example, for all I know, these people might cut everyone off in traffic.

So, objectively, I recognize multiple errors of logic in my response. It just doesn't seem to help me; I can't hold that in consciousness very long, because as you said, the logical layer over top of the emotions isn't very thick. I discard the input that doesn't seem to agree, and unfortunately, that's the new, logical input, not all that historical garbage.

But I'm still listening. :-)

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