Resource: Common Self-Defeating Beliefs

20 Oct


  1. Perfectionism.  I must never fail or make a mistake.
  2. Perceived Perfectionism.  People will not love and accept me as a flawed and vulnerable human being.
  3. Achievement Addiction.  My worthwhileness depends on my achievements, intelligence, talent, status, income, or looks.


  1. Approval Addiction.  I need everyone’s approval in order to be worthwhile.
  2. Love addiction. I can’t feel happy and fulfilled without being loved.  If I’m not loved, then life is not worth living.
  3. Fear of Rejection.  If you reject me, it proves that there is something wrong with me.  If I’m alone, I’m bound to feel miserable and worthless.


  1. Pleasing Others.  I should always try to please others, even if I make myself miserable in the process.
  2. Conflict Phobia.  People who love each other shouldn’t fight.
  3. Self-Blame.  The problems in my relationships are bound to be my fault.


  1. Other-Blame.  The problems in my relationships are bound to be the other person’s fault.
  2. Entitlement.  You should always treat me in the way I expect.
  3. Truth.  I’m right and you’re wrong.


  1. Hopelessness.  My problems could never be solved.  I could never feel truly happy or fulfilled.
  2. Worthlessness/Inferiority. I’m basically worthless, defective, and inferior to others.


  1. Emotional Perfectionism. I should always feel happy, confident, and in control.
  2. Anger Phobia.  Anger is dangerous and it should be avoided at all costs.
  3. Emotophobia. I should never feel sad, anxious, inadequate, jealous, or vulnerable.  I should sweep my feelings under the rug and not upset anyone.
  4. Perceived Narcissism.  The people I care about are demanding, manipulative, and powerful.
  5. Brush fire Fallacy.  People are clones who all think alike.  If one person looks down on me, the word will spread like brush fire and soon everyone will look down on me.
  6. Spotlight Fallacy.  Talking to people feels like having to perform under a bright spotlight on a stage.  If I don’t impress people by being sophisticated, witty, or interesting. they won’t like me.
  7. Magical Thinking.  If I worry enough, everything will turn out okay.


  1. Low Frustration Tolerance.  I should never be frustrated.  Life should be easy.
  2. Superman/Superwoman.  I should always be strong and never be weak.

Taken from When Panic Attacks by David Burns copyright 2001.

Notice how often the words never, always, and should occur in these self-defeating beliefs.  It’s unrealistic for someone to be always…  Also some of the belief systems are related to each other such as fear of rejection and other-blame, both are giving the control/power to the other person.  Also conflict phobia and anger phobia, since conflict usually causes anger or vice-versa.  I’ve bolded the beliefs I specifically struggle with.  This weeks homework is to pick 2 or three and write opposite statements of thoughts or beliefs to challenge them.

4 Responses to “Resource: Common Self-Defeating Beliefs”

  1. Andi October 21, 2015 at 7:48 AM #

    Wow I have a lot of these.

  2. manyofus1980 October 21, 2015 at 4:23 PM #

    Can relate to almost all of these…wow. XX

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