Faulty Beliefs and Intrusive Thoughts
Most intrusive thoughts stem from some kind of faulty belief or faulty way of thinking. Oftentimes the individual puts unrealistic emphasis on the fact that the thought might be true. For example, someone with OCD may have a thought about accidentally running over someone in the road on the way home from work. The thought can become intrusive if it causes the person to believe that this may have actually happened. The anxiety behind the thought can become so strong that the person may retrace their route home to make sure that they did not run someone over. Chances are the individual will feel temporary anxiety relief from the fact that they did not find anyone on the side of the road. This is only temporary, however, and often the same thought will reappear and cause the person to go back and do the same thing again. It is a vicious cycle.
Here are some of the most common types of intrusive thoughts:
What if __________ really does happen to me?
What if ____________ is really true?
What if _______________ really happened?
What if I have no control over the situation?
What if I go crazy?
What if I cause harm to myself or someone else?
If I don't....
If I don't do ___________________ then this will happen ____________________.
If I don't make sure that I get to the daycare on time then my child will be kidnapped.
If I don't wash my hands every 10 minutes, then I will contract a disease.
Black and White thinking (all or none)
If I do not do __________________ perfectly, then it is ruined and I failed.
If I do not get all of the answers right on the test then I am a failure.
If I'm not going to do all of the housework then I shouldn't even try.