Mental Health

Mental Myths That Get in our Way

Mental Health @ Home - list of common mental myths

We tend to create a lot of rules about how we should think, feel, and act.  We may believe that there is some sort of objective truth to these rules, but the reality is they’re really just mental myths.  These examples come from Dialectical Behavioural Therapy:

  • I don’t deserve to get the things that I want/need
  • Asking for help makes me a weak person
  • I should only ask for something if I know ahead of time that the person will say yes
  • Making requests of others is selfish
  • Saying no to others is selfish
  • Others’ needs are more important than my own
  • If I can’t fix this myself there must be something wrong with me
  • In a given situation there is a certain way I should feel
  • If I let others know I’m feeling badly then I am weak
  • Negative feelings are harmful
  • Some emotions are wrong or stupid
  • If others don’t approve of my feelings, then there must be something wrong with them
  • Painful emotions should be ignored
  • My emotions define who I am
  • I can always trust my emotions

Do you have any thinking/feeling rules or mental myths that you commonly get trapped in?

Source:  adapted from Marsha Linehan’s DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, 2nd ed.

DBT Skills for Mood Disorders from Mental Health @ Home

DBT Skills for Mood Disorders mini-ebook is available on the MH@H Store, focusing on how dialectical behaviour therapy skills can be useful for people who don’t have borderline personality disorder. It’s also available as part of the Therapy Mini-Ebook Collection.

23 thoughts on “Mental Myths That Get in our Way”

  1. Dear Ashley

    I learn something new every time in your posts. Thank you for writing.

    I was wondering if we can communicate via email or WhatsApp

  2. A big one for me has always been “I am who/what/how others judge me to be.” It can be quite liberating to recognize that people usually make important judgments of others on the flimsiest evidence, and that I needn’t take these superficial judgments as being especially veridical.

  3. “If others don’t approve of my feelings, then there must be something wrong with them” –》 that is a huge one for people with trauma histories to unlearn. We’re taught that our own wants and needs are selfish, that we’re too stupid to accomplish our dreams, and that it’s always our fault. Unlearning those early messages and not feeling like we’re automatically what others said we were if we do set boundaries, leave bullying situations (Well, if and when we find a new job. Rent is a thing!) or practice self-care is the work of a lifetime.

  4. I get trapped in the thought that I’m not worthy of feeling upset/ down because there is people in worse situations than I am! I know we are all fighting our own battles and shouldn’t compare. X

  5. I’m getting out of the habit of saying “it’s just James” when I introduce myself on the phone, especially at work. I’m me, not “just James”. I tend to slip back into the old habit when i’m feeling a bit meh!

  6. Wow I have all of these unfortunately 😭 I learnt to say no more often and remember that my feelings are valid even though if not everyone understand them.

  7. I use to feel all these feelings before I learned of my mental illness. I would never ask for help, I was trapped in my own head for so long until I had my therapist and caseworkers that use to help me understand that it was alright to ask for help.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m still stubborn at times but nothing compared to what I used to be like.

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