Understanding Thought Mines

Thought Mines are social misreadings that get in the way of communicating clearly. They are thought stumbling blocks that allow us to misread, and often misjudge, the intention of others. By misreading others intentions, we can often get sidetracked from getting our needs met.

There are sixteen Thought Mines listed below. Each Thought Mine is followed by a definition and several examples. The example categories are:

 

  • Negative self-talk example
  • Couple example
  • Teen example
  • Work/school example

 

The examples are typical sentences that illustrate that particular Thought Mine. Negative self-talk is a thought, whereas the categories: couple, teen, or work/school, are representative sentences. These examples are not set in stone. It is common for a Thought Mine to be in more than one category at the same time. The important thing is that you notice it as a Thought Mine. The act of noticing the Thought Mine allows you to control it. We all have Thought Mines. If you do not control them, they will control you.

The order of the following Thought Mines is based on what I see in my office, ranked from most common to least common. Most Thought Mines occur without warning. As the stress in one’s life increases, the intensity and frequency of the Thought Mines increase, often to the point where the mere presence of the other person, or the situation, is revolting and painful. Please note, a situation (or a person) simply is. We interpret it as a positive or a negative. This will be discusses in more detail later in the section, Control your perceptions.

Each Thought Mine is followed by a definition and a list of examples. Please note that the following examples are representative statements. The same sentence may represent numerous Thought Mines. I list examples mainly to give you a starting point. Often individuals blend two or three “favorite” Thought Mines together into their own type of social misreading.

 

Thought Mines: Quick Reference Guide

If the following behaviors / words sound like you or a friend or family member...

~ Check these Thought Mines

  • Exaggerate ~ 1, 5, 12, 14, 16
  • Name calling ~ 2, 7
  • I’m always right ~ 3, 12
  • Situations are black or white, good or bad, positive or negative ~ 3, 12
  • Feeling hopeless ~ 4, 10, 13
  • Give up easily ~ 4, 10, 13, 16
  • Often use words like: never, nothing, everything, or always  ~ 5, 10
  • You don’t believe it when others say nice things about your skills 4, 13
  • The world is a half empty kind of place ~ 6, 9, 13
  • Life tends to suck ~ 6, 9, 10
  • Situations tend to be terrible, dreadful, shocking, awful ~ 1, 6
  • Overly worry about what others think of you ~ 7, 2
  • Worry about rumors  ~ 7, 13
  • Believe the future will suck ~ 8
  • Believe the future is dangerous ~ 8
  • Believe others are dumb, stupid or ill-informed ~ 1, 9, 12
  • Focus on the bad in life ~ 10
  • When arguing you tend to start with “I feel…” ~ 11
  • Believe that you have the ability to “feel” the right answer ~ 11
  • Psychic skills ~ 11
  • More emotional than most ~ 11
  • Often use: Should have, should not have, ought to, must, mustn’t, never, have to, could have or you better ~ 12
  • Unable to change your mind even with new information ~ 12, 3, 10
  • Rigid ~ 12, 3, 10
  • Always your fault ~ 13, 10
  • I need, I have to ~ 14
  • Feel out of control with money ~ 14
  • If I had _________ my life would finally be better ~ 14
  • History of not following own moral beliefs ~ 15, 11
  • If I lose/gained weight my life would be great ~ 16
  • Limit yourself do to size, amount or quantity ~ 16, 5, 6, 1
  • Often feel guilty ~ 15, 11, 7, 2