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LynnS Profile
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FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


The most requested topic on the recent Focus On Ourselves poll is Thought Stopping.

It's not surprising that this is a topic of interest. The obsessive thoughts about the N relationship can often intrude upon our peace of mind. Sometimes a certain amount of guilt arises out of this obsession resulting in questions like, "Why can't I let go of this?" or "How do I shut this off?

There are a couple of things to take into account in regard to thought stopping. Repressing thoughts and feelings isn't always a helpful thing. Guilt about the amount of focus on the N in the beginning is sometimes misplaced. It's natural to try and make sense of something as illogical as an N's behavior. The mind seeks to reframe it in a logical way, so in that sense, obsessive thinking serves a purpose. You have to think about it, learn about it, and talk about it to process the experience.

See the page on Our Obsessive Thinking from the Narcissist and Psychopath site at synthasite for more on this topic:

[sign in to see URL]

Excerpt:
quote:

I had people tell me to stop thinking about, but I had to think about it until I was comfortable. The better I understood it, the less stress I had.



Now, on the other side of the coin, Obsessive Thinking can be extremely anxiety producing if it takes on a life of its own and starts interfering with your daily activities to the point of causing physical, mental, and emotional distress. When the thinking snowballs, Thought Stopping can be very helpful. There are several techniques for doing this. I will link a couple of articles with tips for Thought Stopping. The first is from the old [sign in to see URL] site written by James Messina which can now be found on [sign in to see URL].

Thought Stopping in Recovery:

[sign in to see URL]

quote:

What is thought stopping?
Thought stopping is the:
* Process by which you are able to cease dwelling on a thought bothersome to you.
* Procedure used to stop thoughts that are cues to acting impulsively or compulsively.
* Process by which you are able to break the power of the cues that lead you into addictive or binge-like behavior.
* Substitution of a healthy thought for an unhealthy thought.
* Act of deliberately turning to cues that break unhealthy patterns or habits.
* Ability to discontinue obsessing on an idea, image, thought, fear or stimuli that is a cue for unhealthy behavior.
* Practice of using mental energy in a positive way.
* Technique used to reduce the negative impact of stress, unhealthy emotional cues and fears.
* Stress-reduction technique that eliminates the overwhelming impact of stress and/or crisis events.


There are tips for stopping thoughts in the full length of the article. Click on the above link to read them.


A second helpful article is here:

The Five R's--a Negative Thought Stopping Procedure

[sign in to see URL]

Excerpt:

quote:

"You can't NOT think about what's on your mind". In fact, the harder you try to 'not think about' something that is negative, the more powerful and entrenched in your mind that negative thought becomes, and the greater the negative influence it has on your performance. The only way to stop negative thoughts is to shift your thinking to thoughts and images that are both positive and productive with regard to your personal performance. Since the human mind can only process one thought at a time (Rule #1), you must actively choose to direct your mind toward (i.e. focus on) a Dominant Thought that is positive, productive, and directly related to how you want to perform. By doing so, you will deny the mind the processor "capacity" required to dwell on the negative.


Now, there are some great tips in those articles, so they're worth a read if you're struggling with a lot of anxiety or distress over constantly replaying the details of the N experience.


The last article I want to link for now, though I have more I may add later if appropriate, is from the writer of [sign in to see URL]. I believe this is the site with the article that brought to our forum the concept of N's being azzclowns. This is a 'reality check' article written from the target's perspective.

Coping With and Moving On After a Break Up Commandment 2: Thou Shalt Not Obsess
[sign in to see URL]
Excerpt:
quote:

So what do I mean by obsessing:

Constantly wondering where he is, what he’s doing, who he’s doing it with, or even worse, who he is doing.

Constantly trying to outthink the situation - Trying to work out when he’ll call. Preparing yourself every day for a possible call or an email. Trying to predict his every last damn move.

Fantasising about what you think you would do if your ex were to turn up.

As I explained to a reader yesterday, much of the obsessing is about rendering yourself as hopeless. Shooting yourself down before even giving yourself a chance to grieve, heal, and reassess the situation from a distanced, positive perspective.

Instead, a common situation I come across, is cutting off contact with a guy, thinking about him constantly even though you think he’s a complete assclown, obsessing about when he’ll make contact, fantasising about when the moment happens, and then deciding that you just WON’T be able to resist!

Oh hell no!

This is called writing yourself off and negative thinking.




Ok everyone, there's some food for thought and a few tips on Thought Stopping. Please share on this thread your own thoughts about the value of or issues with Obsessive Thinking, your own feelings about the need to get a grip on your thoughts, what you've struggled with in this regard, any questions you might have for your fellow members about how to deal with it, and also, of course, I would ask members that if you have some of your own tips for handling those 'hamster on a wheel' thoughts and stop them from overtaking you, please do share them on this thread.

Let's get started Focusing On Ourselves.

Lynn

Last edited by LynnS, Feb/16/2009, 5:19 pm


---
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Feb/16/2009, 4:11 pm Link to this post  
 
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Re: FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


Lynn thanks for posting. I've read through two of them.

I just want to say that most of my obsessing is the why? I know I'll never understand how an n ticks, but I'm still in shock somewhat. Now that I know there's OW, I get upset when D is with him.

I don't really think about what they're doing and all that. I am just angry that he's been able to blind another one. I remember how great he acted and how loved I felt in the beginning. I still keep thinking that he's going to be different with her if she is not as tough as I was. I had his card for most of the r/s, I just believed those hokey SA recovery promises and thought he would work through it. I had no idea about narcissistic sex addicts.

I think about the situation daily. I just want some kind of validaton that what I think he is, is true. I'm looking for closure of sorts and that's my struggle.

I'll keep reading.

---
Accepting reality is the touchstone of mental health.

~ Anna Valerious
Feb/16/2009, 4:45 pm Link to this post  
 
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Re: FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


Thank you for these wondeful links
They are very timely for me!!
Feb/16/2009, 5:06 pm Link to this post  
 
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Re: FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


Lynn:

Thank you for this first installment in focusing on ourselves. I found the info. on the links helpful. I wondered where the term a**clown came from!

To help stop myself from obsessive thinking, I visualize a tiny me with a broom busily sweeping out a room that symbolizes my mind. Whenever the N comes into the room, I sweep him right out.

Thanks again and looking forward to further installments on focusing on me.

Feb/16/2009, 5:09 pm Link to this post  
 
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Re: FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


My obsessive thoughts are of being with him physically. I miss the hugging, touching, kissing, and then other pleasant memories. I don't really care about the why's anymore - I think I've got that down after years of denial. I don't even care that he never loved ME. I'm over all that. Just miss the intimacy. It felt too real, even if it wasn't. I'd sure like help in overcoming [sign in to see URL] I know I will be completely free. I won't go back, so my obsessive thoughts aren't going to lead me there. But they hurt. I'll be glued to this thread (thanks, Lynn!) and will read the articles.

Will say that I do tell myself immediately that it's just the addiction talking, that I have already resolved all my thoughts in my mind and don't need to go there AGAIN, and then switch to other [sign in to see URL] DOES [sign in to see URL] practice, but becomes easier and easier.
Feb/16/2009, 5:22 pm Link to this post  
 
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Re: FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


WICH, is the question WHY or is the question, 'What if?'

What if he's different with her?
What if he changes?
What if it was just that I made him do those things because I'm toooooo something or other?
What if he makes a family out of this situation with somebody else who doesn't make him do that stuff?

Translate that all [sign in to see URL] if it was me?

WICH, those are normal questions. He planted those poison, slow-release bombs in your head. They're haunting you. "It's your fault. You made me. If you had been XYZ, I'd not have had to hurt you like that."

Your daughter is YOUR daughter, WICH. Not hers. Always and for keeps. He can't change that no matter what he does nor can OW.

He is who he is. For always and for keeps. She can't change that. All she can do is ignore it but it will still be there.

This isn't your fault. His dissatisfaction is permanent. You didn't create it.

Maybe you could try an affirmation. "I didn't create it, I can't control it, and I can't cure it," is always a good one. In your situation another good one might be, "As hard as I try I will never be able to find a cute little pony in that pile of...." Well, you know.

Hugs,
Lynn


---
"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Feb/16/2009, 5:50 pm Link to this post  
 
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Re: FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


Thanks Lynn.

I have a folder of documents about this whole nightmare.I will print these out and add to it.

Maybe someday I will be okay....

Feb/16/2009, 5:52 pm Link to this post  
 
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Re: FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


Happynow, LOVE the sweeping the N out of your head with a broom! I love visualizations. Very effective and a great idea.

Happy Cat, if you're focusing on all the good things to the exclusion of the bad, it's going to be hard to let go. Maybe remembering the pain in the times you start getting wistful would help. Beyond that, the intimacy is something you value and miss, so I would question if there is a way for you to get that feeling of being valued and cherished that has nothing to do with the N.

Kimbo, is there some constant thing that's going through your head? What is it?

Lynn





---
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Feb/16/2009, 6:01 pm Link to this post  
 
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Re: FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


Lynn.

It is just a constant obsessive need to talk to him and where is he what is he doing. It drives me nuts. It is not that I love him or miss him. Just this crazy obsession. Then I force myself to think of when he called me FC and threw his computer at me and then wanted a 3 some. But sometimes it is scary before I can focus on those items, I almost pick up the phone to call him.

It is not that I think of him with OW.I know he is sleeping around.I am not jealous of that.I dont want him back.

Help! emoticon Thanks.



Last edited by itiskimbo, Feb/16/2009, 6:10 pm
Feb/16/2009, 6:02 pm Link to this post  
 
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Re: FOCUS ON OURSELVES: Thought Stopping


Kim, he can't take the pain away. You have to keep telling yourself that he is not the relief from the pain. He's the source.

You know he is. You know talking to him will hurt. I know you're hurting, but talking to him will not make it better. It will make it worse. Your mind is just trying to get you to think it will give you relief, but it won't. The drug is not the cure. The drug is the problem.

Lynn

---
"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Feb/16/2009, 6:13 pm Link to this post  
 
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