If you're a person that has ever gone into therapy for any kind of anxiety issues you know at least a little bit about what catastrophizing is. If not, it's basically taking a worse case scenario of in an imagined situation, and running with it. The foundation for the situation may be real. Something like maybe your boss emailed wanting to see you in their office this afternoon. But if you have anxiety issues you might then begin to "just know" they're going to reprimand you, fire you, yell at you about last week's performance, and so on.... That would be catastrophizing. It's actually fairly common among most people, I would think, and most of us can probably get this kind of irrational thinking under control before it interrupts our lives to a serious degree. We recognize that we're worrying over something we can't control, and from such a negative point of view that it's a piss poor time to spend our emotional energy, so we redirect our thoughts, and continue on with our day. Unless, of course, one cannot, then maybe we might decide to see a professional to help us learn to do so.
But what happens when we encounter catastrophizing coming from others around us? What if, instead of this being unhealthy it's actually considered the norm in certain environments? Would you recognize it for what it is? Or would you go with the social convention that has taken place in this circle of people? What would you think about an environment that not only encouraged, but saw no other way but to plan for the absolute worst case scenario?
Let me then introduce you to what it is like to be a parent of an autistic child.