Distortions

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    Sep 11, 2009 12:03 AM GMT


    Cognitive distortions are incorrect thoughts/ideas which maintain negative thinking and help to maintain negative emotions.


    A friend of mine and myself were discussing this today while working. We got to discussing the various distortions that occur. It applies to every facet of life. Perceptions of people, perceptions of self. Personally, I hear them all the time; here in the posts, when other converse with me, and I see them within myself, Some people never give them credence, nor attempt to identify them and work on correcting them. Some do.

    Personally, my most significant distortion is that because of my weight, people ALWAYS judge me. It leads to feelings of shame, and guilt, amongst others, and I become very self conscious and self-critical. I correct this by repeating to myself that if someone is going to judge me on weight alone, especially since I am correcting it, that I should not care for their opinion. In the process of thinking rationally, I also keep in mind the things that I do need to correct. That thought helps me correct the distortion.

    What are yours? What do you do? Ignore, submit to it, or correct? What do you tell yourself?

    If you feel comfortable revealing them, please do so. I was curious as to how often people fight with them, and how they deal.

    This one can possibly ask a lot of you, so I am interested to see how many are brave enough to respond. icon_question.gificon_idea.gif
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    Sep 11, 2009 12:27 AM GMT
    Are you taking psychology classes? Because I've noticed a couple of threads of yours are psychologically oriented. And I like it.

    Cognitive distortions can be very self-fulfilling prophecies if you don't realize how to break the negative thought = negative feeling cycle. Happens to me all the time, although I can't think of an example right now because I'm brain dead from studying all day. icon_sad.gif
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    Sep 11, 2009 12:31 AM GMT
    Well, mine right now is I can't have coffee for a couple of weeks.. my negative thought is I want to kill everybody in the most gruesome fashion possible and then mush around in there gray matter without shoes, much like old fashioned wine producers used to do...

    I counter that with the positive thought of, if i did that, I'd have to clean up the gawd damned mess cause no one else would do it now would they...

    So I leave people alone and withdraw just a lil bit more...

    This to shall pass.
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    Sep 11, 2009 12:32 AM GMT

    Your post came at a very interesting time for me. Last week I was helping a friend of mine cope with some very serious distress, which he was suffering in large part because he was being made anxious by a set of automatic thoughts that were plaguing him. At first my attempts to get him to accept that thoughts are just thoughts; they're not necessarily reflections of reality got nowhere. He did, however, accept that his feelings of anxiety were being driven by a series of thoughts and was willing to work with me through the assumptions (i.e. distortions) that were fueling the thoughts. We were able to identify that his thoughts (and the feelings generated by the thoughts) were being fed by every one of the common cognitive distortions on the following (partial) list up to 'Making Should Statements'. Once the distortions were evident to him and the thoughts restructured his distress more or less evaporated.

    Then two days ago I got myself worked into something close to panic over (what was, in fact) a relatively minor development in a legal dispute. It wasn't until I took a deep breath and forced myself to figure out where my thoughts had fallen prey to distortions and then re-think them, that I was able to file away the episode under 'merely annoying' instead of 'existentially threatening'.

    My training as an applied behavioral analyst initially has proved very useful in working with most situations involving non verbal animals. But I was amazed a few years ago when I took some time to study cognitive behavioral therapy and saw its effectiveness is treating even moderately severe cases of depression and anxiety in people (myself included).

    Here's a list of common cognitive distortions. It is by no means exhaustive. And a single thought may be fed by more than one distortion.


    All-or-nothing thinking - Thinking of things in absolute terms, like "always", "every" or "never". Few aspects of human behavior are so absolute.

    Overgeneralization - Taking isolated cases and using them to make wide generalizations.

    Mental filter - Focusing exclusively on certain, usually negative or upsetting, aspects of something while ignoring the rest. For example, focusing on a tiny imperfection in a piece of otherwise useful clothing.

    Disqualifying the positive - Continually "shooting down" positive experiences for arbitrary, ad hoc reasons.

    Jumping to conclusions - Assuming something negative where there is no evidence to support it. Two specific subtypes are also identified:
    * Mind reading - Assuming the intentions, judgments or motivations of
    others.
    * Fortune telling - Predicting how things will turn before they happen.

    Magnification and minimization - Inappropriately understating or exaggerating the way people or situations truly are. Often the positive characteristics of other people are exaggerated and negative characteristics are understated. There is one subtype of magnification:

    *Catastrophizing - Focusing on the worst possible outcome, however unlikely, or thinking that a situation is unbearable or impossible when it is really just uncomfortable.

    Emotional reasoning - Making decisions and arguments based on how you feel rather than objective reality.

    Making should statements - Concentrating on what you think "should" or ought to be rather than the actual situation you are faced with, or having rigid rules which you think should always apply no matter what the circumstances are. Albert Ellis termed this "Musturbation".

    Labeling and mislabeling - Explaining behaviors or events, merely by naming them; related to overgeneralization. Rather than describing the specific behavior, you assign a label to someone or yourself that puts them in absolute and unalterable terms. Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

    Personalization (or attribution) - Assuming you or others directly caused things when that may not have been the case. When applied to others, blame is an example.


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    Sep 11, 2009 12:48 AM GMT
    Epiphany1882 said

    Cognitive distortions are incorrect thoughts/ideas which maintain negative thinking and help to maintain negative emotions.


    Personally, my most significant distortion is that because of my weight, people ALWAYS judge me. It leads to feelings of shame, and guilt, amongst others, and I become very self conscious and self-critical. I correct this by repeating to myself that if someone is going to judge me on weight alone, especially since I am correcting it, that I should not care for their opinion. In the process of thinking rationally, I also keep in mind the things that I do need to correct. That thought helps me correct the distortion.



    Well, first you should get that image of yourself out of your head 'cause I think you are WAY WAY attractive (I've already met and dated you in my mind).

    It's interesting because the definition you give above is the root of homophobia. They are thinking of making homophobia a a mental disorder because it is negative thinking based on incorrect assumptions (like all gay men are the same, etc).

    Oh, by the way, our imaginery date was awesome. We kissed and horseplayed and had a terrific dinner out. icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:53 AM GMT
    wrestlervic said
    Epiphany1882 said

    Cognitive distortions are incorrect thoughts/ideas which maintain negative thinking and help to maintain negative emotions.


    Personally, my most significant distortion is that because of my weight, people ALWAYS judge me. It leads to feelings of shame, and guilt, amongst others, and I become very self conscious and self-critical. I correct this by repeating to myself that if someone is going to judge me on weight alone, especially since I am correcting it, that I should not care for their opinion. In the process of thinking rationally, I also keep in mind the things that I do need to correct. That thought helps me correct the distortion.



    Well, first you should get that image of yourself out of your head 'cause I think you are WAY WAY attractive (I've already met and dated you in my mind).

    It's interesting because the definition you give above is the root of homophobia. They are thinking of making homophobia a a mental disorder because it is negative thinking based on incorrect assumptions (like all gay men are the same, etc).

    Oh, by the way, our imaginery date was awesome. We kissed and horseplayed and had a terrific dinner out. icon_smile.gif


    First off, wrestlervic, he's with me, and I will open a can on you if you have anymore imaginary dates with him. lol. icon_razz.gif

    Second, I suffered from internalized homophobia and it really took a toll on my self esteem for sometime. I was depressed and was in a viscous cycle of destructive thoughts. I unfortunately grew up being taught that gay people were mentally perverted and its an immoral "lifestyle". I finally realized that I wasn't going to change and I was finally able to accept it. Going through this mental torture was what inspired me to become a psychologist, as I really want to help people comprehend and cope with their own mental anguish.

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    Sep 11, 2009 2:01 AM GMT
    spacinjasin said
    wrestlervic said
    Epiphany1882 said



    First off, wrestlervic, he's with me, and I will open a can on you if you have anymore imaginary dates with him. lol. icon_razz.gif

    Second, I suffered from internalized homophobia and it really took a toll on my self esteem for sometime. I was depressed and was in a viscous cycle of destructive thoughts. I unfortunately grew up being taught that gay people were mentally perverted and its an immoral "lifestyle". I finally realized that I wasn't going to change and I was finally able to accept it. Going through this mental torture was what inspired me to become a psychologist, as I really want to help people comprehend and cope with their own mental anguish.



    Hey, keep your hands off my imaginery date! Unless you want to come along.

    Internalized homophobia I have seen in many guys, and it does look like it is very self-destructive. My family and town and church never instilled that gay was bad cause I never even heard it mentioned at all growing up.

    So when I realized that, "hey, I look at guy's legs a lot" I was old enough to not feel shame. I was more curious as to what it meant and if that did mean I was gay.
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:06 AM GMT
    lilTanker saidWell, mine right now is I can't have coffee for a couple of weeks.. my negative thought is I want to kill everybody in the most gruesome fashion possible and then mush around in there gray matter without shoes, much like old fashioned wine producers used to do...

    I counter that with the positive thought of, if i did that, I'd have to clean up the gawd damned mess cause no one else would do it now would they...

    So I leave people alone and withdraw just a lil bit more...

    This to shall pass.


    OH MY!icon_eek.gif
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:10 AM GMT
    wrestlervic said
    spacinjasin said
    wrestlervic said
    Epiphany1882 said



    First off, wrestlervic, he's with me, and I will open a can on you if you have anymore imaginary dates with him. lol. icon_razz.gif

    Second, I suffered from internalized homophobia and it really took a toll on my self esteem for sometime. I was depressed and was in a viscous cycle of destructive thoughts. I unfortunately grew up being taught that gay people were mentally perverted and its an immoral "lifestyle". I finally realized that I wasn't going to change and I was finally able to accept it. Going through this mental torture was what inspired me to become a psychologist, as I really want to help people comprehend and cope with their own mental anguish.



    Hey, keep your hands off my imaginery date! Unless you want to come along.

    Internalized homophobia I have seen in many guys, and it does look like it is very self-destructive. My family and town and church never instilled that gay was bad cause I never even heard it mentioned at all growing up.

    So when I realized that, "hey, I look at guy's legs a lot" I was old enough to not feel shame. I was more curious as to what it meant and if that did mean I was gay.


    Ok, Im going to reply to others, but this;

    *Grabs popcorn and a chair, and watches you two wrestle it out*


    Thanks for the compliments guys icon_smile.gif And yes, spacin and I are continuously flirting. He has a HELL of a lead. There is competition! icon_redface.gificon_redface.gif It makes me smile. icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 11, 2009 4:04 AM GMT
    jakebenson- I understand about the brain being overwhelmed. I appreciate the feedback while your mentally exhausted!

    I took psych 101, and loved it! The mind mystifies me. Mainly because it is the most powerful tool in our body, it is the hub for everything that functions, how we breath, our heart pumps, we take a step and our brain tells this muscle to move that muscle, to increase blood flow to all areas, increased so to the first leg, maneuver the leg AND foot in the exact position, coordinating the muscles and the tendons, to take that one perfect step (If you dont know, the mechanics of us walking upright is almost a miracle, considering how close we are to falling over with every step.).. And thats the simplified version of what happens. lol. And at the same time that this happens, we are thinking, conversing with ourselves about a million thoughts (exaggerated) about our life; "what we are doing tonight?", "Are we happy?", heading to work, and this is what we do and where we go to get there,or talking to someone else and thinking thoughts. Through all of this, there is dysfunction. Yet we still live. ( You would swear I'm high while I'm typing this, but no.) icon_lol.gif

    I love hearing how people overcome it. Even with medications to help with chemical imbalances, its still a personal will that gets you through the day. I want to know what that is.

    I realized over the years, and from several friends, that I have the wonderful capacity for empathy and understanding. I have startled many doing it (with the accuracy of an "assessment"). I like to help people, but it gets emotionally exhausting very quickly.

    For me the cost is sometimes I cant keep myself as a "outside observer". I literally put myself in their shoes, and feel everything. Too much for me to handle while still fighting the issues with adult ADHD. It is improved with medication, but I have learned over the years to know when to connect and disconnect from a situation. It's still a work in progress. I guess that's why I can be considered a "bleeding liberal".

    Your absolutely right about cognitive distortions being a self fulfilling prophecy. Not by themselves, but with the energy we can give them, and the actions brought forth by the negative thinking can fulfill it. We can get to the point of making sure it happens because we get to stay in the comfort zone of that thought, and the distorted security we feel it provides. It's absolutely destructive.

    I had those thoughts all the time. (Still have a few, and fighting them like a drag queen fighting for the last of the foundation in Walmart.) icon_rolleyes.gificon_lol.gif

    lilTanker - Love it. I know what your going through. (I'm currently starting to cut off my last vice; Smoking ciggs. >.< Let me know when you have that "break". I'll Join you. icon_twisted.gif

    Flieslikeabeagel - Awesome relation! Its sad how it catches us off guard. I recently had a discussion with someone about how in a position such as yours, and for those of us who understand it, it is easier to identify it in someone else than it is ourselves. It's because we think we have over come it. The reality is if any of us have been to a psychological point, we can always get back there again. This is the same for addicts of any kind. (Gambling, alcohol, drugs, sex addicts, etc). Its addictive thinking (simply explained). Awesome list of cognitive distortions. I have different names for a few, but they are all the same.

    Wrestlervic You are correct. Many of the distortions listed by Flieslikeabeagel are done with what your speaking of. Sad really. If someones experience is always dating someone who is "flamboyant" *and* dramatic, then their overgeneralization of the fact is that "everyone who is flamboyant is dramatic.". Not true. I know plenty of "flamboyant" persona's that don't go for drama. They have none of those attributes in their life. And that's just one example.

    Thus far, I appreciate the feedback and comments! The compliments as well, I am very flattered! icon_biggrin.gif

    P.S. jprichva *Hugs* icon_razz.gif
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    Sep 11, 2009 4:09 AM GMT
    mmm, hot chocolate.
    mmm, hug.
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    Sep 11, 2009 5:16 AM GMT
    Ciarsolo7 saidmmm, hot chocolate.
    mmm, hug.

    Agreed icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 11, 2009 5:19 AM GMT
    Epiphany1882 saidlilTanker - Love it. I know what your going through. (I'm currently starting to cut off my last vice; Smoking ciggs. >.< Let me know when you have that "break". I'll Join you. icon_twisted.gif

    Oooers I gave up smoking in december 28th 07, it was difficult but I got there outta pure irritating.. almost two years later and I still get the occasional cravings heh icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 11, 2009 6:16 AM GMT
    lilTanker said
    Epiphany1882 saidlilTanker - Love it. I know what your going through. (I'm currently starting to cut off my last vice; Smoking ciggs. >.< Let me know when you have that "break". I'll Join you. icon_twisted.gif

    Oooers I gave up smoking in december 28th 07, it was difficult but I got there outta pure irritating.. almost two years later and I still get the occasional cravings heh icon_smile.gif


    I cant wait to only have occasional cravings >.< I want it (quitting), but I worried that I dont want it enough.
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    Sep 11, 2009 6:30 AM GMT
    Epiphany1882 said
    lilTanker said
    Epiphany1882 saidlilTanker - Love it. I know what your going through. (I'm currently starting to cut off my last vice; Smoking ciggs. >.< Let me know when you have that "break". I'll Join you. icon_twisted.gif

    Oooers I gave up smoking in december 28th 07, it was difficult but I got there outta pure irritating.. almost two years later and I still get the occasional cravings heh icon_smile.gif


    I cant wait to only have occasional cravings >.< I want it (quitting), but I worried that I dont want it enough.

    thats a problem that one, you gotta really want it, you wont give in then, but if you don't make it this time, don't beat your self up, you've accomplished so freakin much, you can just try again and eventually you'll get there icon_smile.gif

    and those occasional cravings are like rip someone to bits worthy cravings hahaha but its kewl, I've actually given in about 4 times and had one, then not had a craving for a few months, I haven't had a craving in about two months though but I am finding the smell of them irritating right now.
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    Sep 11, 2009 7:01 AM GMT
    Thought provoking for sure.

    Yet interestingly, when someone (anyone) begins to look down at me and try's to belittle me for some reason or another, I would take it as an opportunity to prove to my self....they where wrong!

    I took it and ran with it.

    It couldn't be done? Well I did it!!

    Being gay was and is the single biggest issue I have. So when I feel challenged with it and if someone is challenging me because of who I am, I usually set out to prove something and WIN at doing it!

    How do I do it?

    I find a big MOUNTAIN and I climb all the way up to the very top. When I get there I look down on all the small homes, cars and well everything else (people too). I then realize that I am the bigger one in the picture. Then I look up and realize I am still a piss ant.

    Happy to challenge the status quo. I have made it! I will continue to WIN!

    I am a rebel with a cause. I am the kinda guy that scares the cat burglars away! icon_cool.gif
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    Sep 12, 2009 6:35 PM GMT
    Mystic_Man saidThought provoking for sure.

    Yet interestingly, when someone (anyone) begins to look down at me and try's to belittle me for some reason or another, I would take it as an opportunity to prove to my self....they where wrong!

    I took it and ran with it.

    It couldn't be done? Well I did it!!

    Being gay was and is the single biggest issue I have. So when I feel challenged with it and if someone is challenging me because of who I am, I usually set out to prove something and WIN at doing it!

    How do I do it?

    I find a big MOUNTAIN and I climb all the way up to the very top. When I get there I look down on all the small homes, cars and well everything else (people too). I then realize that I am the bigger one in the picture. Then I look up and realize I am still a piss ant.

    Happy to challenge the status quo. I have made it! I will continue to WIN!

    I am a rebel with a cause. I am the kinda guy that scares the cat burglars away! icon_cool.gif


    LOL great mindset and excellent way to fight off the cognitive distortions!

    Cmon people! Comment! Challenge yourselves! icon_razz.gif
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    Sep 12, 2009 6:45 PM GMT
    I have 25 different personalities running around in my head. 23 of them do not wish to comment, 1 is mute so I never know what the hell he is thinking, and the other has a serious sugar vice. That vice is really getting in the way of my health and fitness objectives so I don't think he's gonna be around much longer. He's not making many friends around here.


    Seriously, I've loved loved loved candy since I was a kid so I battle with that all the time. I feel bad when I give in to the cravings. To couter the cravings I eat almonds and walnuts but those get boring sometimes. I'm sure I have many other issues icon_lol.gif but I can't think of them now.
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    Sep 12, 2009 6:49 PM GMT
    Epiphany1882 said

    Cognitive distortions are incorrect thoughts/ideas which maintain negative thinking and help to maintain negative emotions.

    Just curious, and not a criticism of the OP. Is this definition strictly accurate? I can understand and accept the concept of a cognitive distortion, but must it always maintain NEGATIVE thinking? Is not unrealistically POSITIVE thinking also a possible outcome of cognitive distortion?

    I actually don't know myself, and wonder if anyone here can comment authoritatively. Thanks.
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    Sep 12, 2009 6:59 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    Epiphany1882 said

    Cognitive distortions are incorrect thoughts/ideas which maintain negative thinking and help to maintain negative emotions.

    Just curious, and not a criticism of the OP. Is this definition strictly accurate? I can understand and accept the concept of a cognitive distortion, but must it always maintain NEGATIVE thinking? Is not unrealistically POSITIVE thinking also a possibility?

    I actually don't know myself, and wonder if anyone here can comment authoritatively. Thanks.


    I cant comment authoritatively as a psychologist, as I am not one.

    However to answer your question, yes, an unrealistically positive thought is still a cognitive distortion. It is an unhealthy thought process that can distort a persons thinking. So its still negative, but a different part of what is encompassed in the definition. .

    Hope that helps. icon_smile.gif
    P.S - Crtrainer: Great process there too. It does wonders to stop obsessing about others thinking. It does not matter ultimately. At that point, its no longer about them, but about yourself, and why it bothered you so much. I wish you continued success at beating them out!
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    Sep 12, 2009 7:16 PM GMT
    Epiphany1882 said

    Cognitive distortions are incorrect thoughts/ideas which maintain negative thinking and help to maintain negative emotions.


    A friend of mine and myself were discussing this today while working. We got to discussing the various distortions that occur. It applies to every facet of life. Perceptions of people, perceptions of self. Personally, I hear them all the time; here in the posts, when other converse with me, and I see them within myself, Some people never give them credence, nor attempt to identify them and work on correcting them. Some do.

    Personally, my most significant distortion is that because of my weight, people ALWAYS judge me. It leads to feelings of shame, and guilt, amongst others, and I become very self conscious and self-critical. I correct this by repeating to myself that if someone is going to judge me on weight alone, especially since I am correcting it, that I should not care for their opinion. In the process of thinking rationally, I also keep in mind the things that I do need to correct. That thought helps me correct the distortion.

    What are yours? What do you do? Ignore, submit to it, or correct? What do you tell yourself?

    If you feel comfortable revealing them, please do so. I was curious as to how often people fight with them, and how they deal.

    This one can possibly ask a lot of you, so I am interested to see how many are brave enough to respond. icon_question.gificon_idea.gif
    icon_question.gif



    I don't see how the OP can connect or blame his weight problems with Cognitive Disorder!? in this case the real problem lies from a lack of self-discipline as far as maintaining a healthy and well balanced diet+exercise!! and the other culprit his own lack of self-esteem which could trigger a deep sense of self pity!?

    Epiphany1882 if you want to stop feeling shame, guilt, or be overly critical about your self image just work on loosing weight, not for the sake of others but most importantly for your health and overall well being!!


    ♥ Leandro ♥
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Sep 12, 2009 7:17 PM GMT

    I'm not of the mind atm to give my typical replies and will later, but for now:

    I am absolutely amazed at how psychology and sociology - and there terminology - are inverses ... back after this commercial break.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Sep 12, 2009 7:23 PM GMT

    E.g., Psych: felicific calculus ... Soc: hedonistic calculus.
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    Sep 12, 2009 7:40 PM GMT
    I'm fascinated by this topic of cognitive distortion, and thank you Epiphany for your response to my question. Now I have another question: is the following an example of a cognitive distortion? And is it related to the same distortions of perception associated with anorexia nervosa?

    I've always thought my wrists are very thin and spindly, almost unhealthy looking. My late partner had very stout wrists, a stout man overall.

    One evening we were dressing for some function, and I asked if he had a gold wristwatch he could spare, as I just discovered my own dress watch wasn't running, correctly assuming the battery had died since the last time I wore it. He offered me one of his.

    I went to buckle it, and it wouldn't fit me. I said to him, are you sure this is yours? He assured me it was. I asked him to put it on himself, and it fit him fine.

    I tried it on myself again, and it was still too small! I was confused, standing there in a quandary. I said OK, you try one of mine. It was big on him! Finally I said show me your wrist, and we compared them side by side.

    I swear, as I looked at our wrists, his was much bigger than mine! I tried the wristwatch "test" several times, unable to believe this disconnect between what my eyes seemed to be telling me, and what our watch bands proved.

    In the years since that happened, I've assumed that what I experienced is in a way related to people suffering from anorexia nervosa, whom I understand will stand in front of a mirror and declare themselves to be fat, when they are in fact dangerously emaciated. Are these all examples of cognitive distortions?
  • bottomline

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    Sep 12, 2009 8:14 PM GMT
    OHHHH... No, not again...
    Neighbors had barely forgotten my nightly screams from the days that i used to cry myself to sleep. I was being loved again... Until this post... Now i am back to bitch-slapping myself under the shower for eating that bucket of ice cream last night after reading this post. "i swear i will be a good boy mother, i promise" Ahhh.. the voices....

    All jock aside, I know exactly how you feel, been there done that. I would think the wrist could be an example... but i am no expert. I have the same feeling about my ankle. When i was a kid my big brother once told me that i had monstrous ankles. to date I am uncomfortable wearing shorts.
    And i am yet to hear someone else say the same about my ankles.