Debilitative Emotions and Irrational Thinking

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Debilitative Emotions:

Debilitative emotions are harmful and difficult emotions that detract from effective functioning. The level, or intensity, of the emotion we're feeling, determines our response to the emotion. There is a difference between "a little upset" and "irate". Debilitative emotions can affect the ability to interpret emotions and most involve commuication that has lead to conflict. Some intensity in emotion can be constructive but too much intensity makes the situation worse. The other part to debilitative emotions is their duration. Again, there is a difference between "momentarily" feeling a certain way and "forever" feeling a certain way. This is yet another challenge I personally face. When something happens, sometimes you feel like your whole life has crashed down on you and that there's no way to pick up the pieces. I have to remind myself that one unexpected, disappointing situation does not have to completely change the core of your being. This is the trick I use: If something bad does happen, I try to give myself a few days to sulk over it. Because it's still important to recognize your feelings, as well as understand them, instead of completely brushing them off. After those few days are over, I do things to pick myself back up and remember that there's much more out there; I remind myself of what makes me happy and remind myself of goals I need to accomplish. Some debilitative emotions take long time to recover from, but allow yourself to let go of grudges so that they don't affect your future communication traits and interpersonal relationships.


Most emotions are the result of our way of thinking. Debilitative emotions arise from accepting a number of irrational thoughts that are called fallacies. These fallacies lead to illogical and false conclusions that turn to be debilitative emotions. we usually, are not aware of these thoughts, which makes them very powerful. Here are some fallacies that lead to the arousal of debilitative emotions.

Fallacy of Perfection:

The fallacy of perfection is when one does not confess his mistake or say “I don’t know”, instead he thinks that he is perfect. It's like tempting to try to appear perfect, but the costs of such deception are very high. If others ever find you out, they'll see u as phony. Moreover, this illusion will lower your self-confidence and hinders others form liking you. Like everyone else, you make mistakes from time to time, and there is no reason to hide this.

Fallacy of helplessness:

The fallacy of helplessness is when people are convinced that powers beyond their control can determine their satisfaction or happiness. For example, when people say "I don’t know how" or "I can’t do anything about it". It’s similar to being helpless or undesirable to change. The many can'ts are really rationalizations to justify not wanting to change. For instance, lonely people tend to attribute their poor interpersonal relationships to uncontrollable causes. This irrational thinking increases debilitative emotions and empowers them.

Fallacy of catastrophic expectations:

The fallacy of catastrophic expectations is when people work on the assumption that if something bad can possibly happen, it will; by which they imagine the worst possible catastrophic consequences. For example, “If I speak regarding this issue, they will laugh at me”. This in turn creates harmful debilitative emotions and a self-fulfilling prophecy will begin to build. For instance, a study revealed that people who believed that their romantic partners would not change for the better were likely to behave in ways that contributed to the breakup of the relationship.

Fallacy of over-generalization:

The fallacy of over-generalization comprises two types. The first occurs when we base a belief on a limited amount evidence. For instance, when we say: "I'm so stupid, I can't even figure out how to download music on my iPod." The second type takes place when we exaggerate shortcomings. For example, when we say: "you never listen to me or you are always late."

These statements are always false and they lead to nothing other than anger and debilitative emotions.

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