Twisted Beliefs: Distorting The Lines Between Fantasy and Reality by Barry K. Weinhold, Ph.D, Licensed Psychologist

Twisted Beliefs: Distorting The Lines Between Fantasy and Reality is the first book in a series of four books titled the Twisted Beliefs Series. This first book is about the power of your personal and collective beliefs to control and distort your life and relationships. Most people form their core beliefs before the age of 10 and they persist into adulthood, unless we examine them and change them. If your beliefs are twisted in any way, they can lead you to make poor decisions and engage in self-defeating behaviors.

You need to know under what circumstances you formed your beliefs, what caused them to possibly become twisted or distorted, and how you can change any beliefs that no longer serve you. These are beliefs you hold about who you are and what motivates you, who all those other people are and what motivates them and how the world works. This includes your religious, political and social beliefs. They are what is behind all the ways you use to get your needs met, for better or worse.

If your behaviors turn out to be self-defeating or do not get you what you want or need, in order to change the outcome. You will have to examine your beliefs and change those beliefs that you find are causing your self-defeating or dysfunctional behaviors. Most people do not connect their behaviors to their beliefs. So if their behaviors are self-defeating or don’t result in them getting their needs met, most people just try harder to get their behaviors to produce better results.

This strategy rarely works because every twisted or distorted belief produces a distorted and self-defeating behavior. This only leads to more frustration and perhaps a confirmation of a deep-seated fundamental twisted belief that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. Below are some common self-defeating and destructive behaviors and the possible underlying twisted beliefs that drive these behaviors:

  1. Repeatedly picking a relationship or marriage partners that end up with you getting abused and then going back to the same person or similar people over and over again for the same abuse.
  • I hate myself.
  • There is something wrong with me that I cannot fix.
  • It is too risky to ask others directly to help me get my needs met, I might get rejected.
  • I don’t measure up; I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, etc. to succeed.
  • People take advantage of me.
  • I don’t know why, but everybody always seems to pick on me.
  • I have to avoid conflict at all costs.
  • If I give them enough love, they will love me back.
  1. Voting for the same political candidates repeatedly whose stated agenda is clearly counter to protecting and advancing your needs.
  • Other people are much smarter than I am, therefore I need to listen to what they tell me to do.
  • I trust that politicians will do what they say they will do.
  • You just have to be lucky or know somebody in order to get ahead.
  • I don’t measure up; I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, etc. to succeed.
  • The richest and most successful in our society are the fittest to survive and therefore are the ones who should be allowed to make decisions for others.
  1. Living far beyond your means, believing there will never be a time you will have to pay for anything.
  • I am so much smarter than everybody, so I don’t have to listen to anything others tell me.
  • You just have to be lucky or know somebody in order to get ahead.
  • When I became an adult, I left behind me all the bad things that happened to me when I was a child.
  • The richest and most successful in our society are the fittest to survive and therefore should make the best decisions for others.
  • You have to beat others to the punch in order to get ahead.
  • If you don’t get them first, they will get you instead.
  1. Never letting others really get to know you and putting up barriers to intimacy in relationships.
  • I have to avoid conflict at all costs.
  • If people really got to know me they would reject me.
  • When I became an adult, I left behind me all the bad things that happened to me when I was a child.
  • I have to tell others what I think they want to hear or they will reject me.
  • I am so much smarter than everybody else that I don’t have to listen to anything others tell me.
  • Deep down I hate myself
  • People are lazy and stupid and are motivated solely by fear.
  1. Repeating the same mistakes over and over in your life without knowing how to change your actions.
  • I can’t ask directly for help from other in getting my needs me, I might get rejected.
  • I don’t measure up; I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, etc. to succeed.
  • Other people know more than I do and therefore I have to do what they tell to do.
  • I am just unlucky; others get all the breaks and I never do.
  • People take advantage of me.
  • Deep down I hate myself.
  • There is something wrong with me that I cannot fix.
  1. Acting like you are smarter than everybody else and therefore always trying to manipulate and trick them into giving you things that you want or need.
  • I am so much smarter than everybody else that I don’t have to listen to anything others tell me.
  • The richest and most successful in our society are the fittest to survive and therefore are the ones who should be allowed to make decisions for others.
  • You have to beat others to the punch in order to get ahead.
  • If you don’t get them first, they will get you instead.
  • When I became an adult, I left behind me all the bad things that happened to me when I was a child.
  • People are lazy and stupid and are motivated solely by fear.

These are powerful beliefs that can get you in a lot of trouble. The problem is that if you do not know that the source of your troubles is some twisted belief, you can’t change your behaviors. You get caught in the tangled web of twisted beliefs and self-defeating behaviors. You may also hang around other people who hold similar twisted beliefs, so you may conclude that this is the only way to think about yourself, other people and the world around you. Even though you see others doing similar self-defeating things, you also may believe that “misery loves company” and you are content to just suffer along with them.

Table Of Contents

Preface

Introduction

Chapter One: Premature Hardening Of The Categories

Chapter Two: What Causes Your Beliefs To Get Twisted?

Chapter Three: What Causes Your Beliefs To Get Twisted

Chapter Four: What Causes Beliefs To Get Twisted in Human Predators

Chapter Five: The Role of Hidden Developmental Trauma in Causing Twisted Beliefs

Chapter Six: Healing Developmental Traumas

Chapter Seven: Twisted Consciousness

Chapter Eight: The Beliefs of the Cultural Creatives

Chapter Nine: Twisted Beliefs and The Revival of Social Darwinism

Chapter Ten: How I Healed My Twisted Religious and Spiritual Beliefs

About The Author

Here is some background about my personal and a professional experience that makes me uniquely qualified to write about “Twisted Beliefs.” In 1987, I co-founded the Colorado Institute For Conflict Resolution and Creative Leadership. I wanted to learn as much as I could about how people resolve their conflicts. When we opened our Institute in 1987, we held an International Conference on conflict resolution. We used this gathering of experts to pick their brain. We asked them what worked well and what didn’t and needed more study. They told us that others had developed effective ways of resolving conflicts of wants and needs, but no one had developed effective ways to resolve conflicts of values and beliefs. They also told us that when people express strong feelings during a conflict, they often didn’t know what to do.

We immediately began researching and developing tools for resolving conflicts of values and beliefs or intractable conflicts where strong feelings were involved. I also began using these tools to better understand how I formed my core beliefs and how they impacted my life.

Here are six things I learned from my research about how people form their core beliefs:

  1. Their beliefs are formed early in life, usually before the age of ten.
  2. Core beliefs are often passed from one generation to another unchanged
  3. Most people did not freely choose their beliefs.
  4. Their beliefs often are transmitted to them by seeing or hearing their parents or others holding and behaving according to these beliefs.
  5. There was trauma involved in how these beliefs were taught to them.
  6. Beliefs that people formed in childhood often are carried into adulthood without reexamining them as to their usefulness. People tend to stay with what is “familiar” (family).

This study has led to the publication of these books designed to help readers to better understand the current explosion of twisted beliefs that are causing a distortion of the lines between fantasy and reality. In addition, I share quite a bit about how I learned to identify and change my twisted beliefs. My hope is that this book help you better understand where your beliefs may have originated and how they might have gotten twisted and how you can change them.

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