Top 10 Signs of Catastrophizing

24 Oct 2011

How can you tell if you’re catastrophizing when it’s something you’ve been doing for so long that it feels absolutely normal to you?  And why should it matter anyway?

First, let’s look at the Top 10 Signs of Catastrophizing.

1)     Catastrophizing takes you straight into Doom-and-Gloom mode.  Something happens and before you know it you are in full worst case scenario thinking.

2)     It doesn’t just feel very real, it feels like the only possible scenario.

3)     You go into full back-against-the-wall mode.  YOU feel frightened, defensive, and powerless.

4)     You recall your previous disappointments and/or failures.  You serve them all up to yourself as ‘proof’ of how hard life is for you.

5)     You feel very, very sorry for yourself.

6)     You remind yourself that nobody has ever really loved you, listened to you, or valued you.  You’ve given, while other people have just taken without appreciating you at all.

7)     You make dire predictions for your future.  The sun will never shine again; you will be friendless, loveless, and joyless for the next 1,000 years, and your life will be a living hell.

8)     You forget about the good things that you have in your life.  Everything looks black.

9)     Physically, you feel sluggish, and heavy.  Your body is just another weight to drag around.

10) You slip into the victim mind-set.  Your mantra could be: “It’s different for me.  It’s harder for me.” 

An Olympic talent for catastrophizing is one of the hallmarks of abused women – but not just abused women.  The bad things that have happened to you – and may still be happening to you – are undoubtedly real.  But they are NOT the whole picture.  However hard your life may be, there are still good things happening.

Catastrophizing makes you blind to the good things.

Catastrophizing paralyzes you.  It’s guaranteed to produce the worst possible outcome: more of the same.

In reality, ‘more of the same’ is only a foregone conclusion if you keep on doing what you’ve always done.  Once you stop the ball game changes.

It’s easy, when you’re feeling down, to say: “Everything always turns out badly in my life”.  But is that really true?

And how does it help you to look on the dark side of life?

Catastrophizing is not a self-limiting activity.  It’s actually a deep-rooted habit that will only go away when you take steps to uproot it.

If you weren’t consuming precious time and energy catastrophizing, how might you be spending your time more productively?

If you don’t have a clear answer to that, it might be something worth spending some time thinking about.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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