Emotional and Mental Health

Problem Magnifiers

Written by Dr. Mehwish Mursaleen and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Image: Problem Magnifiers

All of us have problems. An interesting thing about the problem is that everyone thinks that his or her problem is the biggest one. For example, a person admitted to an orthopedic surgical ward with an ankle injury sees his problem bigger than a person who has injured his knee. We as an observer can see that the problem is bigger for the person who injured his knee because he cannot move his leg and one side of his body would be paralyzed due to it. Whereas, the person in the next bed would not be able to recognize this as he would be totally involved with his own sufferings. This will make him unable to see what is going on in his surroundings.

We get entangled in our day to day petty issues, and the problems look big to us as we do not know how to handle them. Most of us do not get problems solved. This is because we are not consciously aware of the cause. If we want to overcome our problems, then we need to understand the dynamics that exaggerate our problems.

Here, we shall discuss the factors which make our problems get settled inside us.

  1. Denial.
  2. Wrong initial assumption or false beliefs.
  3. Fear.
  4. Deceptive masking.
  5. Behavioral choices.


When a person denies the existence of a problem, how can he or she find any solution to the problem? Beware, this denial is an unconscious process that drives a person to reduce his anxieties and thus, throws threatening facts into the unconscious to feel safe on the surface level. The problem with denial lies in the fact that it actually does not reduce anxiety, but results in the form of psychological disturbance.

For example, a girl who is a survivor of a rape may deny the fact, but her unconscious processes would result in psychosis. Similarly, a woman who denies the existence of breast cancer would never seek help, and she would not go for a checkup, and this would ultimately drive into end-stage where the tumor gets untreatable. These days, we can observe many such cases who get examined in the last stages of cancer. These people actually deny the warning signs of illness because it is threatening for a person to get such a terminal illness. Another example is that of smoking. Smokers deny the fact that they can have cancer while watching or hearing many smokers dying of throat or lung cancer.

Wrong Initial Assumptions or False Beliefs

Another thing which does not help in the solution of problems is, we making incorrect assumptions regarding things. For example, we can assume that we must not be betrayed, must not experience any corruption or must be dealt with respect. These initial assumptions will hurt the person whenever he experiences a situation of dishonesty or disrespect. Because the person has high expectations from people, he will be hurt by even minor immoral experiences which we normally go through in daily life. This is why having high expectations of people or having high standards for yourself or others do not always work.

Here, I shall explain a scenario to get a better understanding of how false assumptions work. A successful businesswoman gets attacked by conspirators and has a lawsuit on her. She gets deeply hurt by this fact because she had done nothing wrong and she had a belief that others should treat her with loyalty since she is loyal to everyone. While keeping this expectation, she became depressed, and nothing worked out for her. When she consulted her psychologist, she was suggested to work on her initial assumptions. She developed healthy beliefs. Every successful person gets hurdles and challenges in his or her way to victory. Since she is a popular businesswoman, this was a challenge for her to face and overcome. After realizing the fact, she not only started working to overcome the lawsuit but also learned more and more about similar cases, gathered useful information, presented herself in front of the judges and then defeated her enemies who tried to let her down in the business world.


When fear is at a normal level, it can be helpful and work as a survival instinct. For example, if you see a snake creeping towards you, you must be fearful and then run away to find a safer place. This is a normal response, but if you are fearful enough that you cannot move from the place, your legs get paralyzed and you feel numb, this is the excessive level of fear, which will not work for you to overcome the problem.

Imagine a scenario where a pilot faces an emergency while far up in the clouds; the engine stops working. Think about the possible solutions. Should the pilot freeze and do nothing in this situation? Should he deny the fact, as it is too threatening? Should he make initial assumptions that this crisis is unlikely because he is an excellent pilot and has never been in such a situation ever? Will such kind of solutions work? You are right. None of these is a workable solution. Then, what do you suggest that the pilot should think about? The pilot should realize the emergency case and keep confidence in his ability to handle the emergency. He should take a step to contact his flight station, consult with the supervisor and take necessary precautions for the survival of the passengers.

Deceptive Masking

Everyone wants to present himself in an acceptable way to get approval from others. This is actually right, but when you hide your problems from others, particularly the big ones, this is the case which worsens your problems.

For instance, if you have a sexual problem and you feel shy to tell your doctor, is it possible for the doctor to suggest an appropriate treatment? No way. When you do not get treatment for your problems, then it is inevitable that your problems will increase in intensity and then you will be helpless. When it becomes observable to others, they may take you to the doctor, but this will be quite late, and you will miss an opportunity to get treated at an initial stage.

Similarly, if you are suffering from a headache and you instantly get a knock from a guest. You greet the guest who observes you being unfit and asks about your health. You reply that you are perfectly all right. You do not want to tell the guest about your headache because she will not be comfortable. You try to be polite to your guest, but your gestures show unpleasant feeling. What will the guest think about this scenario? She might think that you do not like her arrival, or you are uncomfortable talking to her or anything else, but she cannot reach to the right guess until you tell about your actual feelings. She might become doubtful at you and may not like to meet you again. Thus, deceptive masking prevents you to get the right treatment you deserve from others. If you show your real feelings and the need for help, others will definitely offer you comfort at their best level.

Behavioral Choices

Sometimes, our choice of behavior leads us to problematic situations. For example, everyone knows that aggression is destructive and it always leads to negative consequence both for yourself and for others. But still, we get into arguments and choose aggression as we believe it will help us solve the problem. If you review your experiences of aggression and try to find out how many times it helped you to get things right in the long run, then you will definitely conclude that it always gets you into a disadvantage.

For example, if a mother being aggressive on a child gets short-term results from the child such as he acts obediently and gets his homework done because of the fear of punishment. Mother thinks that this is beneficial and therefore repeatedly uses aggression as a strategy to discipline her child. Do you know how this affects the long-term relationship between mother and child? The child will get distant from his mother, he will never share his feelings and might remain fearful of parents for the rest of his life. Is it beneficial in the long run? Now you can clearly understand how our choice of behavior mistakenly leads to unhealthy relationships. If we choose behavior which actually will work for healthy relationships, we will never get into relationship problems.

If we learn communication skills, talk assertively but not aggressively, deal problems through effective decision making and use problem-solving in our life, many of our daily hassles will get settled at the very initial level instead of piling up inside us and then bursting out in the form of psychological problems.

If you find any of these problems affecting your life and thus your problems are increasing day by day instead of getting solved, then you just talk to your psychologist about these issues

For further guidance regarding handling and solving problems, consult a psychiatrist online -->https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/psychiatrist

Last reviewed at: 10.Nov.2018



Do you have a question on Aggression Or Suspiciousness or Personal Problem?
* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Related Questions & Answers

What can be the reason for left-sided headache?
Query: Hi doctor, I have had a left-sided unilateral headache for the last four weeks. The pain varies in place, but it is always centered on my left temporal area. Pain can be on the top of my head, cheek, side of jaw and even chin at times. I have also had momentary ear pain, which is a brief one second ...  Read Full »
Dr. Sadaf Mustafa
Internal Medicine Physician

Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com. Thank you for such a detailed query. Let us break down your symptoms one by one: Regarding left sided temporal headache, broadly it is a little unlikely for a benign tension headache to be unilateral: mostly it is bilateral and band like. My big differential would be ...  Read Full »
My dad passed away. How to make sure my mom is happy?
Query: Hello doctor,My dad expired one year back. My brother is elder and not interested to look after my mom. So, she stays with me. I am trying hard to make her happy, but it goes in vain. I need a suggestion on how to behave.  Read Full »
Dr. Rahul Narayanrao Rathod
Internal Medicine Physician

Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com. Firstly, I would like to congratulate you for your dedication towards your mother. I really appreciate that you are looking after your mother. As you are her daughter, she is expecting that her son look after her. But, it is not possible in this case. So, she is really...  Read Full »
Is the behavioral changes in my child due to antiepileptic drugs?
Query: Hi doctor, My son is 3 years 9 months now. He has been diagnosed with benign childhood epilepsy. He is taking Clobazam 15 mg at night and Topiramate 100 mg per day for last four months. His seizures are under control and he attends LKG. The issue is that he is not able to concentrate in his studies...  Read Full »
Dr. Deepak Patel
Child Health Specialist

Answer: Hi Welcome to icliniq.com. I have read your question in detail. The initial dose of Topiramate is 1 mg/kg/day which is gradually increased to 5-10 mg/kg/day. Your child is getting 100 mg Topiramate which is around 6 mg/kg/day. So, the dosage of Topiramate is correct. There are some side effects ...  Read Full »
What are the treatment options for stage 3 angiosarcoma?
Query: Hi doctor, My mum has angiosarcoma in the leg. Amputation would be the only option. But she is not a suitable candidate for surgery. Will radiotherapy help in this condition? Please suggest.  Read Full »
Dr. Chaitra Prakash

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. The usual treatment for angiosarcoma is the removal of the cancerous tumor by surgery. However, in those patients who are unfit for surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are alternatives. Radiotherapy involves the use of radiations to dissolve the tumor and chemothera...  Read Full »

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Related Tags