Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cognitive Distortion #6a, The Fortune Teller Error

There are two cognitive distortions that fall into the category of "jumping to conclusions", ie: jumping to a negative assumption that is not justified by the facts of a situation..  One of these is the fortune teller error.   This is when you imagine something negative that might happen and you jump from imagining that it might happen to being pretty convinced that it will.  

For example, you leave a couple of messages for a parent of one of the children in your Sunday school class, asking her to call you back and let you know whether or not she can come help with the class the following Sunday.  Days go by and you don't hear from her.  You assume that she didn't call you back because she's avoiding you and hates helping in Sunday school (see mind reading, distortion #6b below) and when you start feeling bitter and disillusioned by what you perceive as her evasiveness and unwillingness to help you decide not to try to call her again because you are sure that she will only avoid and dislike you more and you will feel like a fool.  You believe this prognostication, which leaves you disappointed, disgusted and resentful and you don't call her.

A few days later you find out that she never got your messages.  You had done all that stewing over the yucky things that you predicted would happen if you tried to contact her again, for nothing.

Fortune telling.

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