Identifying Irrational Rules

When you are thinking
irrational thoughts about particular events and circumstances, these
thoughts are usually based on underlying beliefs or attitudes or
“rules.” This exercise is designed to help you learn how to identify the
underlying rules on which your irrational thoughts are based.

For each of the Beliefs below, decide which of the 12 Underlying Rules that belief seems to reflect. The first two are
completed as examples.

 

BELIEFS

UNDERLYING RULES

a

Because I was put down as a
child, I can never be really self-confident.

__#9_

1

I need love and approval
from those significant to me. I must avoid disapproval from any
source.

b

He’s a real bastard for
doing that. He should be put away for good.

__#3_

2

To be worthwhile as a
person, I must succeed at whatever I do, and not make any mistakes.

c

I’m not getting the
encouragement and support I need to survive in my job, much less do
a proper job.

_____

3

People should always act
correctly. They deserve to be blamed and punished for any obnoxious,
unfair, or selfish behavior.

d

How can I be happy with a
wife like mine?

_____

4

Things must be the way I
want them to be — and it’s intolerable when they’re not.

e

I’ve got a pain in the
stomach from worrying about the way my son may turn out. But I can’t
just ignore his behavior.

_____

5

My unhappiness is caused by
factors outside my control. There’s nothing I can do about it

f

This sell-help stuff is just
too hard. I must find an easier way. Why can’t my doctor give me
some pills?

_____

6

I must worry about things
that might be dangerous, unpleasant or frightening.

g

I can’t stand the way my
girlfriend handles her money. Why can’t she let me show her how to
do it properly?

_____

7

It is easier to avoid than
to face up to life’s difficulties, unpleasantness and
responsibilities.

h

When he hurts, I have
to hurt. That’s what love’s all about.

_____

8

Everyone needs someone
stronger than him- or herself on whom to depend.

i

I can’t see the point in
doing all this sell-analysis. All it does is make me feel worse — so
why bother?

_____

9

Events in my past are the
cause of my problems and must continue to influence my feelings and
behaviors now.

j

I’d end up feeling terrible
about myself if I started this course and then failed. So I just
won’t take it.

_____

10

I have to become upset when
other people have problems or are disturbed

k

We missed the house that was
our first choice. I can never be happy anywhere else.

_____

11

I shouldn’t have to
experience discomfort and pain. I can’t stand it — it must be
avoided at all costs.

l

I’ll never survive now that
Mike’s left me. I’ll have to find another

_____

12

Every problem must
have an ideal solution. And it’s intolerable when I can’t find one.


Related Links

Core Beliefs – 12 Irrational Ideas

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