Mind Reading (Meta-Model)

Mind reading is an irritating distortion. This happens when someone decides they know what you are thinking. For some reason, it’s usually something pretty bad. If you tell them they are projecting, they probably won’t understand. If you tell them what you are really thinking, they may actually argue with you, as if they know what you’re thinking and you don’t. If they think you’re lying, what more can you say? So you see how irritating this distortion is. If your boss tells you that you asked for the day off so you could sell company secrets to the competition, that’s a pretty extreme example. You might want to look for another job, or get his boss to look at your boss’ mental health. But most examples are subtler.

Let’s say you have a friend that you have seen a good deal, and you have done some nice favors for. It’s someone you care about quite a bit, and really enjoy. But let’s say you didn’t come to their party, and now he’s upset that you don’t really care about him. You know that he is wrong, and you know that when he feels better, he’ll realize that he’s wrong. This means you don’t have to take it personally. 

If he hasn’t been drinking, you might say something like: “Exactly, if I cared about you, I wouldn’t have let that bus crash into my car, or I would at least have left the hospital against doctors’ orders to get to your party. The IV bag would have been a good conversation piece.” But really, as a good friend, you want him to know that you had something that you couldn’t reschedule, whether it was an accident, a final exam, or anything else.