This term was coined by  Albert Ellis in 1955.

Emotions are often a response to thoughts. Harmful thoughts and beliefs produce sad and pessimistic emotions….To change the way you feel , change the way you think !

This is essentially one form of cognitive restructuring / cognitive behavior therapy .

According to Ellis there are 12 irrational beliefs that are universal . They are 

  • Everyone should love and approve of me for me to be lovable to all .
  • -Reality – none of us can be loved by all . Yet we are lovable too .
  • I should always succeed and be “on top of things” , if I am not I am a failure.
  • -Reality- nobody can always succeed in everything , yet we are not failures.
  • People who are bad should be made to pay the price
  • -Reality- Bad or Good is relative , there are no absolutes. Crimes also go unpunished at times , due to lack of evidence etc we need to let it go.
  • I can’t stand it when things do not go the way I planned 
  • -Murphy ‘slaw was coined to answer this fallacy.
  • External events cause most of my unhappiness and as I don’t have any control over these things I can’t do anything about my problems . 
  • -Perceived loss of control makes us give up too soon, and often causes untold misery when we give up control over our lives and give it to another. It leads to abuse. External events can be bad but internal reactions can be calm and rational.
  • When the situation is going badly I can’t help worrying all the time 
  • -Obsessive rumination , does not solve the problem. Too much thinking ceases action.
  • It is easier for me to avoid thinking about these situations
  • -Problems do not go away by avoidance, sometimes they increase in number.
  • I need someone to be with and lean on always.
  • -Solitude is precious, sometimes people deprive us of solitude, with out offering any company, stay away from those and others who black mail you with I am poor sod, I am a sad waif , stories. Stand up for your self , it gives you confidence.
  • Things have been this way for so long , I cant do anything about them now
  • -There is a story of a fool who was hungry , he ate one slice of bread , he was still hungry , he ate the second piece, then the third , fourth so on….when he ate the 7th slice he felt full.Then he lamented why did I not eat the seventh , at the beginning ? Sometimes we have too much patience, sometimes we felt paralyzed , however late , however long you may have lived with a problem , you need not live with it forever.
  • When my close friends and relatives have serious problems it is only natural that I get very upset too. 
  • Not really , they need you to be optimistic, be a part of their solution , not another part of their problem
  • I don’t like the way I’m feeling but I can’t help it . I must accept it.
  • -It is your feeling , if you can not change who else can ?
  • I know there is an answer to every problem and I must find it ! 
  • -Not always , some problems have to be lived , to find the solution, sometimes we need to outgrow the problem , not always answer is as simple as 2+2=4. Just because you have no solution , you need not choose to be miserable in the meanwhile.

The most persistent problems of faulty reasoning is

  1. Unwarranted conclusions
  2. Misattribution of cause
  3. Catastrophizing
  4. Selective abstraction
  5. Minimizing one’s merit / maximizing the other’s merit
  6. Minimizing one’s hurt / maximizing other’s hurt ( vice versa also is a problem if it is a distortion)
  7. Over generalization

Change your thoughts, Change your emotions 😉 



  1. Much of what is described here is immaturity. I was interested in reading theories from the 50’s as that was a time when socially domestic abuse was accepted, and homosexuality was considered a criminal act. In some ways we have progressed…..


  2. Most persons may just have what you call ” Immaturity ”
    Cognitive distortions occur at all stages , I have found this useful in handling several persons who are disturbed and are relating to each other …..Human relationships remain the same. Milestones are the same. Babies are born with out knowing how to walk or talk …….Immaturity is a reality of development.


    1. I think we go on maturing all through life, middle age is all about ” Generativity vs Stagnation” Basically we start connecting with groups and have greater need to contribute , help the growth of those younger than us or those in as much distress as we found ourselves in the past. It is a sort of inner growth. Psychological maturity is a process of a life time.
      Thank you for reading and your input.

      Liked by 1 person

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