Lying and Second Chances

January 18, 2015

2015/01/img_0913.jpg
By Terence T. Gorski
Author (The Books of Terence T. Gorski)

“For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” ~ Bo Bennett

When you catch someone telling a lie, should you give him or her a second chance? Or should you follow the advice of William Shakespeare: “Trust not him that hath once broken faith.”

This question, when approached thoughtfully, is more difficult to answer than it first appears.

When I ask people whether they should give a second chance to someone who tells them a lie, the answers I get range from “absolutely yes” to “absolutely no.”

Other people have developed rules for when to give a second chance and when to cut their losses by getting the person out of their life, or at least out of their box of sensitive secrets.

The answer to the question of what to do when you discover they are lying depends upon how we define the idea of telling lies and telling the truth. So let’s ask the tough questions that are not as easy to answer as they may seem.

What is a lie?

Here’s the dictionary definition: “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
Synonyms include prevarication and falsification. Antonyms include truth.

What is the truth?

The dictionary tells us that it is “the true actual state of a matter. That which is really happening or going on. Conformity with the facts or reality.” The the concept of the truth is further clarified as: “the real facts about something: the things that are true: the quality or state of being true: a statement or idea that is true or accepted as true; A statement that is supported by evidence.”

Wow! These are really circular definitions that essentially tell us “the truth is what is true!”

These definitions of truth beg a very important issue: the truth is rarely absolute and is usually relative to what is accepted as truth at the time and the “truth as we see it from our point of view.”

Most of the time to “tell the truth” means to “explain our best understanding given our point of view, the extent of our knowledge, and the currently best known and most widely accepted evidence.”

Honesty and lying are as much about the intent to deceive as it is about giving mistaken information.

If you make an honest mistake in solving a mathematical problem, it is usually not considered a lie. It is a mistake or unintentional error. It might be a lie if you deliberately falsify the answers for some secondary gain.

So, in my opinion, it would make sense to make the distinction between an honest mistake (I believe that what I am saying to be factual or true) and a lie (I know what is true and deliberately try to tell you something else).

I find that most people who tell one lie (i.e tell others that something is true when they know that it is not), tend to tell other lies as well. They use lies as an habitual tool to gain things of value in life or to deny some painful truths.

Sometimes the habitual liar can convince themselves that a lie is actually true. This can be a useful skill if you have to pass a lie detector test. Some people are skilled at catching people who are telling lies. This can be a useful skill to recognize and avoid getting hurt by con men and habitual liars.

Most actively addicted people tell lies about their alcohol and other drug use. They minimize how much they use and try to cover up the damage caused by their use.

Some addicts don’t actually lie, they just block out some aspects of reality so they are intentionally ignorant. This is called being sincerely deluded.

Must alcoholics, for example, never count the number of drinks they have or add up how much money they are spending on alcohol or drugs. They keep themselves willfully or intentionally ignorant in order to avoid facing the truth.

The truth is a continually evolving thing based upon our best understanding at the time. All we can really tell someone is our best understanding of the truth as Wevsee it at the current time and then explain why we believe it to be true (i.e. Present the evidence we have that makes us believe that it is true).

In the everyday world we operate on a common-sense definition of truth.

– I did or did not do this!
– I was or was not at a certain place at a specific time!
– This is what has happened in the past !
– This is what is happening now!
– This is what I believe will happen in the future!

Anyone who tells you they know exactly what will happen in the future is guessing or is sincerely deluded. No one can be certain about the future.

Many people have beliefs without evidence. They accept things are true without any real proof. Every culture teaches thousands of truths, both little and big, that people are supposed to accept as true.

So what should you do if you believe someone is lying to you?

The first step is to ask the question again and make sure you are understanding their answer. Many accusations of telling a lie are based in poor communication and misunderstanding.

Tell the other person very clearly that you don’t believe it is true and present your evidence. Tell them you are open to reconsider if they have better evidence. This gives the people their day in court. They get to describe the “truth as they see it from their point of view.”

Before jumping to conclusions it is helpful to detach, back up, observe, and investigate. The serious problem is not a single lie told in isolation to deal with a specific situation. The most serious problem is the person who uses deceit and dishonesty as a habitual way to cope with life.

If there is a pattern of lying, it is foolish to trust. Many people are habitual liars. In other words they are in the habit of twisting the truth to get what they want.

Trust must be earned. It must be built little by little, one step at a time. When building a relationship, it is best to self-disclose a little bit at a time. If the person responds by self-disclosing at the same level to you, go back a try again. If they continue self-disclose at the level that you are they are, they are probable trustworthy. If they don’t reciprocate, be wary and ask yourself if they are trying to hide something or to get you at a disadvantage by knowing more about you than you know about them.

If what you told them in confidence ends up on the grapevine, run the other way. People who gossip and tell you the secrets of others that were told to them in confidence will almost certainly do the same to you.

Recovery demands a policy of rigorous honesty this means:

– The willingness to look honestly at yourself and your past behavior;
– The intent to be honest by reporting the truth as you believe it to be while acknowledging that “I might be wrong.”
– To promptly admit mistakes and be willing to correct them;
– To look with a critical eye at what you believe and the evidence you have to support that belief; and
– To be willing to act in faith upon your best understanding of the truth until you find new and more compelling evidence that causes you to change your mind.

Rigorous honesty is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. This is because, as fallible human beings we are prone to lie to ourselves and it others. It is also because the truth is hard to find.

LIVE SOBER – BE RESPONSIBLE -LIVE FREE

Don’t miss Terry Gorski’s books and workbooks on recognizing and managing denial.

Denial Management Counseling (DMC)

The Books of Terence T. Gorski


Spirituality & Relapse

January 18, 2015

2015/01/img_0912.jpg
By Terence T. Gorski
Author, The Books of Terence T. Gorski )
May 6, 2001 (Last Revised: 2015-01-19

Defining Spirituality

There is a relationship between spirituality and relapse. To understand it, we must first define spirituality.

Father Joseph Martin repeated many times that the easiest way to start grappling with the issue of spirituality is to go back to the ancient Greeks who put it this way: human beings have both a physical characteristics that observable directly observable andradite able in the physical world the world, and nonphysical characteristics that cannot be directly seen and measured in the physical world. These nonphysical characteristics of human beings they called spiritual. Let’s dig into this way of thinking a little bit more deeply.

People have both:
– Physical characteristics, determined by the structure and actions of their bodies, and

– Non-physical characteristics, determined by the structure and actions of their minds. These non-physical characteristics are called spiritual and include the ability to perceive, think, feel, act, assign meaning and purpose to life, and gives us the ability to conceptualize and seek out God, or at least the God of our understanding.

I believe in God. My limited human mind cannot fully comprehend of look upon the face of God. Words cannot adequately define God. Yet, I for one keep trying to capture my sense of God in words to share with others.

Human beings beings have the ability to seek after God because we are sentient, in other words we have the ability think and feel, AND we are conscious of the fact that we can do so.

The capacity for self-awareness or sentience gives each of us the ability to be consciousness or aware that we exit as separate beings. This self awareness causes each individual to develop a core personal identity that moves beyond physical existence into a complex world of ideas and images.

This personal consciousness drives people to find meaning and purpose in human existence.

This desire for a sense of individual meaning that transcends the physical has led many recovering people to a search for the spiritual laws which they should follow to live a sober, responsible, and meaningful life.

In essence, people trying to live the spiritual life are striving to find organizing principles of the non-physical dimension of human existence. They are seeking to find the spiritual principles and practices that can give the the ability to live a sober and responsible life in a difficult world.

People on the spiritual quest seem to believe that human existence is ruled by laws, or organizing principles.

The physical world is governed by physical laws.

The non-physical/spiritual world is governed by mental and spiritual laws.

The belief is that finding and then living in accordance with these universal spiritual laws will help them to:

– Find peace and serenity in life.
– Discover a sense of meaning and purpose in their sobriety.
– Find source of courage, strength, and hope that get get them through even the toughest of times.

They also believe that people who violate these universal principles, either through ignorance or intent, will experience inner pain, turmoil, and frustration. They will become disillusioned in recovery and many will relapse to chemical use to medicate the pain.

With that in mind, let’s explore in more depth the characteristics distinctions between mystical and no mystical spirituality.

Mystical & Non-mystical Spirituality

There are two different ways of thinking about human spirituality. Mystical spirituality is based upon the belief that there is a spiritual world inhabited by a Higher Power or God. The meaning and purpose of life, according to mystical spirituality, can only be found through a conscious relationship with this spiritual Higher Power who reveals information not available through our ordinary senses or intelligence. The ultimate goal of mystical spirituality, therefore, is to establish a personal relationship with God, and to seek knowledge of his will and the courage to carry that out.

Non-mystical spirituality recognizes that human beings exist not only in the physical world, but also in a unique world of ideas, thoughts, feelings, and fantasies that transcends physical limitations. In this sense the word spiritual can be used interchangeably with the word psychological. Non-mystical spirituality, like psychology, is directed at learning to effectively use human mental powers to find meaning and purpose in life. The spiritual life is based upon developing these mental and emotional abilities. Non-mystical spirituality, however, believes that human beings can discover basic spiritual truths thorough the use of their senses and intellect. They do not rely upon divine revelation, but look to human reason to find the answers to sobriety.

Mystical and non-mystical spirituality are not mutually exclusive. Many recovering people have a mixed spiritual system. In the mystical sense, they seek to develop a personal relationship with the God of their understanding and pray to discover what God’s will is for them. In a non-mystical sense, they actively work at psychological growth. They believe this mixture of the mystical and non-mystical captures the principle of “turning it over, but doing the leg work”. Mystical spirituality allows them to turn over some aspects of their human experience to the care of a Higher Power. Non-mystical spirituality allows them to “do the leg work” by taking responsibility for personal growth and change.

Relapse & The Extremes of Mystical Spirituality

Extreme and rigid views of spirituality can result in relapse. Many people relapse because they believe that the mystical god of their understanding will somehow magically save them from their problems. They abdicate personal responsibility and expect God to take care of everything. When God doesn’t, they sink into a deep existential depression and say, “Since God won’t fix my life, I might as well get drunk.”

An example of this is the man who turned $60,000 worth of debt incurred from his cocaine addiction over to his higher power. He was absolutely shocked when his higher power turned his debts over to a collection agency.

Another man, who was divorced shortly after getting sober, looked to God to clean up his apartment. He was disappointed when God wouldn’t do it. Upon spiritual reflection the man concluded that since God wouldn’t clean his apartment, it must be God’s will for him to live in the mess. Shortly afterwards he got drunk.

Relapse & The Extremes of Non-mystical Spirituality

Other people relapse because they cannot find a higher power to believe in. Some of these people are overwhelmed with such intense shame and guilt that they can’t believe God or any other higher power is available to them. Others are locked into grandiosity. They see themselves as bigger, strong, and smarter than anyone or anything else in the universe. When they encounter overwhelming problems they feel cut off from all sources of courage strength and hope. They often become disillusioned and relapse to chemical use.

Most people who succeed in recovery have organized their sobriety around a source of meaning and purpose that is greater than themselves. Most practice the mixed system of spirituality described in the serenity prayer. The Serenity Prayer is “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

People who live in accordance with these spiritual principles recognize that there are things that they can and must change if they are to stay sober, and they seek the courage to make those changes. They also recognize that there are other things that are beyond their control. They turn these things over to a Higher Power. They have faith that there is someone or something bigger, stronger and more powerful than they that will take care of the things that they can’t manage. As a result, they can comfortably let go of the things that they cannot manage and invest their energies in taking care of things that are within their power.

Recovery & A Balanced Sense Of Spirituality

People who stay sober are able to transform themselves by surrendering their narrow, addictive world view and embracing a broader and more effective sobriety-based world view. This transformation is a spiritual process, though not necessarily a mystical one. It is a consciousness expanding experience that requires a belief that there is someone or something more powerful than I am. It requires a willingness to believe in a seek out that source of power, to ask for help, and ultimately to follow directions.

Recovering people need to find a source of courage and strength that can overcome frustration, transform despair into hope, and motivate them to move ahead in the sober life. Some recovering people find this in a mystical higher power that many call God. Others find it in the mysterious power present in their group conscience. Still others find it in a higher value system that replaces addictive thinking with rationality and reason.

People who maintain sobriety learn that they are responsible for themselves. They internalize the AA principle of “easy does it, but do it.” They realize that they need to identify the next little thing they have to do to stay sober, and do it. In essence, they realize that they are responsible for whether or not they take the next drink or the next drug. They recognize that they must learn how to look within themselves and find the source of courage, strength, and hope needed to stay sober. Ultimately, they are responsible for rebuilding their lives and finding meaning and purpose in sobriety.

The Spiritual Paradox of Recovery

This is the paradox of recovery. We cannot do it alone, but yet we must do it by ourselves. We cannot expect God or a higher power to do what we are able to do for ourselves, but yet we cannot do it for ourselves without somehow touching a source of courage and strength that exceeds our own abilities. And here seems to be the ultimate spiritual principle that allows alcoholics to avoid relapse and move ahead in recovery. It is a philosophy of balance. It is the ability to recognize and affirm the quality of physical existence, to learn how the physical world operates and operate within the limits of its laws and imperatives. It is also the willingness to affirm the world of ideas, thoughts, and images. It is the ability to learn to turn within and find a creative spark of life, a creative spiritual energy that will allow us to go on and find solutions when none seem available. The balance of these two worlds, the world of physical reality, and the world of ideas where the ultimate spiritual reality exists, allow people to forge a strong and powerful sobriety.

An After-Thought

After reading and rereading this article on spirituality I realize that many of the ideas are not as clear and concrete as I would like them to be. At best this must be considered a work in progress.

Considering that I have been drafting and redrafting this description of spirituality for over forty years, I doubt that I will get it right in the few years I have left.

I am just sharing this and hope some parts of it will be helpful to some people who read it.

Spirituality is a complex area and we don’t have a shared language to describe it.

Spirituality is also an experience that cannot be fully conveyed in language.

When we have a spiritual experience we know it, but when we try to explain what we experienced, the words often fail us.

So the above article on spirituality is my failure to adequately convey my experience of the spiritual in words.

The Books of Terence T. Gorski


Terrorism

January 18, 2015

2015/01/img_0908.gif
By Terence T. Gorski
Author, The Books of Terence T. Gorski

Life is full of danger and terror. Wherever we look we find the prospect of gloom. That said, let’s get on with living. 
REFLECTIONS ON 9-11:
I remember the terror attacks of 9-11. I was a part of that history, as were many of you. I honor the memory of all the people lost on that tragic day and in all the battles that followed.

We are now into year eleven of the war on terror.
– Justified? Of course!
– Necessary? Yes, in the judgment of many people more knowledgable than I!
– Courageously fought by our nation’s warriors? Most definitely! — Righteous violence? As righteous as violence can ever be!

Is the war on terror a part of a never ending historical cycle of war and violence? Most definitely!

It might just be me — but I pray that we, all humanity, find a way to peace.

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” ~ Thomas Paine

The Books of Terence T. Gorski


Seven Signs of Addictive Love

January 18, 2015

2015/01/img_0909.jpg
by Terence T. Gorski
Author, The Books of Terence T. Gorski

An Excerpt from the book: Getting Love Right

Intimate relationships can improve your life, or make it miserable! Here are the signs of addictive love relationships, which make love and life miserable.

Some psychologists believe that if you grew up in a dysfunctional home, your chances of being in a dysfunctional or addictive relationship are higher. You feel like you’re not worthy of being loved so you settle for a partner who treats you badly. This could be obvious abuse or the less obvious addictive relationship.

What is an Addictive Love Relationship?

Why Do I Keep Doing That? An addictive relationship usually involves one person who is self-centered and extremely independent.

This partner (let’s call him Selfish Sam – but it could just as easily be Selfish Sally) believes he’s entitled to whatever he wants whenever he wants it. He surrounds himself with people who support his opinions of himself.

The other partner (we’ll call her Dependant Debbie but it could be Dependent Darren) is dependent and other-centered, and willing to mirror whatever the first partner wants. She’s simply a reflection of him. This is how addictive relationships work.

Addictive relationshipsIt works until the other-centered person runs out of steam one night and doesn’t have enough energy to mirror back what is needed. The relationship is going to blow up. Addictive relationships do not necessarily have to have self-centered and other-centered partners, but it’s very common.

Seven Signs of Addictive Love

There are seven signs of an addictive love relationship:

1. Dishonesty. Neither Sam nor Debbie talks about who they are or what’s really bothering them. They lie about what they want. This turns communication into an addictive relationship.

2. Unrealistic expectations. Both Sam and Debbie think the other will solve their self-esteem, body image, family, and existential problems. They believe the “right relationship” will make everything better. Yet, they’re in a disastrous addictive relationship.

3. Instant gratification. Sam expects Debbie to be there for him whenever he needs her; he needs her to make him happy immediately. He’s using her to make him feel good, and isn’t relating to her as a partner or even a human being. She’s a like drug. An addictive relationship drug.

4. Compulsive control. Debbie has to act a certain way, or Sam will threaten to leave her. Both feel pressure to stay in this addictive relationship; neither feel like they’re together voluntarily.

5. Lack of trust. Neither partner trusts the other to be there when the chips are down. They don’t believe the other really loves them, and they don’t believe genuine caring or liking exists. At some level they know they’re not in a healthy but rather in an addictive relationship.

6. Social isolation. Nobody else is invited into their relationship – not friends, family, or work acquaintances. People in addictive relationships want to be left alone.
Cycle of pain. Sam and Debbie are trapped in a cycle of pleasure, pain, disillusionment, blaming, and reconnection. The cycle repeats itself until one partner breaks free of the addictive relationship.

7. Addictive love relationships can change, if both partners are self-aware and willing to do what it takes. In some cases an objective viewpoint (such as counseling) helps; other times, self-control and mutual accountability are all that’s needed to turn the addictive relationship around.

This is an Excerpt from the book: Getting Love Right

2015/01/img_0910.jpg


My Depression Management Plan

January 16, 2015

2015/01/img_0905-0.jpg
By Terence T. Gorski
Author

Read Terry Gorski’s Book: Depression and Relapse

Major depression is a serious problem for many people, including people in recovery from alcoholism and other chemical addictions. Many people suffer from depression in recovery and I was no exception. After more than twenty-five years of sobriety, depression nearly took me down.

I figured out a way to manage it. Part of the process of figuring out what to involved researching depression and writing a book about what I learned from the process. The book Depression and Relapse.

I wrote this blog today because I have friend suffering from depression in recovery. I wrote a summary of the things I did to help myself get through the dark times. I thought it might be helpful to others.

Let me know what you think. If you have survived serious depression and used some tools or techniques that helped but aren’t listed here, add them in a comment and be sure to identify yourself and a link to your blog or website so I can properly reference the source. It might help send some traffic your way. So, let’s get on with it.

To manage my severe depression I had to self-monitor it’s severity four times per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed).
I used a ten point scale:

0 = No Depression/Normal Mood;

1 – 3 = Mild Depression: It is a nuisance, but I can put it out of my mind and do all of my acts of daily living.

4 -7 = Moderate Depression: It is a nuisance but at times is so severe and drains so much energy that at times I can’t stay focused on my normal daily tasks. At other times I can.

7 -9 = Severe Depression: I get yo and try to function but I usually can’t complete my daily acts of living so I shrink my world by avoiding things.

10 = Disabling: The depression is so bad that I can barely function at all. I can’t get out of bed, I can’t do basic tasks, and no matter what anyone says or does I feel buried by the depression.

I kept a log four times per day and started looking for pattens. I noticed my depression would move through my life in up-and-down cycles. There were times of the day when I was more depressed no matter what was going on. There were other times of the day when the depression wasn’t as bad. I began to see that there were predictable cycles to the severity of my depression symptoms.

I noticed that the depression started to increase and get worse at certain times of the day. Knowing this allowed me to anticipate when I would be the most depressed and avoid scheduling important things during those times. I also learned the times when I tended to be the least depressed and most functional. This allowed to plan my most important activities during those time.

I also noticed weekly cycles. On certain days of the week I would be more depressed than on others. In other words, I could anticipate the really bad days and the better days.

I began doing things to try and manage the depression symptoms. I kept it simple:

– I scheduled alone time for 15 – 30 minutes a day and just distracted myself with pleasant mindless things.

– I took a twenty minute walk each day.

– I started to do brief (3 – 5 minute) sessions of mindfulness meditation.

Here is how I did it: https://terrygorski.com/2013/12/30/mindfulness-made-https://terrygorski.com/2013/12/30/mindfulness-made-https://terrygorski.com/2013/12/30/mindfulness-made-simple/

I also used a meditation technique called Magic Triangle Relaxation Methof. It is described here: https://terrygorski.com/2014/05/08/magic-triangle-relaxation-method/

It wasn’t easy to manage the depression and most people didn’t understand what I was going through. They would ask me: “Why don’t you just snap out of it?” The answer was easy: “I can’t because I have a depressive illness!”

Many of the people I knew were really angry because I wasn’t able to work as hard or be there for them in the ways I was before I got depressed.

One of the things that kept me going was the research that showed how serious episodes of clinical depression tend to run a course of about nine to eighteen months. Each major depressive episode tends to go through three stages:

Stage 1: Gradual increase in the frequency and severity of depression symptom episodes.

Stage 2: The period of most frequent and intense symptoms. This is the stage where most people seek help because the depression is causing life problems. It’s much better to recognize depression in stage one and make managing the emerging symptoms as a top priority. When I did this I found stage 2 would to be shorter and the depression symptoms less severe and disabling. Yes, I had more than one ride on this roller coaster to dark side of depression. I learned from each ride and used it to make the next ride shorter and more manageable.

Stage 3: A period of gradual Symptom reduction until a normal mood (whatever that is) returns.

What I found is that I had always suffered from a chronic low-grade form of depression called Dysthymia. I also discovered depression ran in my family so I considered low grade depression to be normal.

I also paid attention to my automatic thoughts that made my depression worse. I figured out how to actively challenge my automatic depressive thinking. Both my personal experiences and the research I reviewed on the cognitive therapy of depression were the same:

1. There are automatic thoughts that made my depression worse.

2. When I let these depressive thoughts bounce around in my brain my depression kept getting worse.

The depressive thoughts that make depression worse are:

1. This is awful (Awful means worse than it could ever be).

2. This is terrible (terrible means that there will be serious losses of everything that I value).

3. It’s always been this way, I’ve never had a single moment in my life when I wasn’t depressed.

4. It will always be this way. I won’t ever be able to feel better.

5. I can’t stand the way I feel! (Although it is obvious I could stand it because what else could I do?)

6. I can’t do anything about it. There is nothing I can do to make the symptoms even in a little bit better.

7. I am helpless and hopeless in the face of my depression.

8. There is nothing I can do! I can’t do anything to manage the depression or make myself feel even a little bit better for a few minutes.

9. Being depressed proves that I am no good as a person.

10. My depression has robbed me of everything I value and has made me a helpless, useless, crazy person.

Before I figured all of this out, I became suicidal. I felt the compulsion to end myself. The impulse to commit suicide was so strong and persistent it was difficult to resist.

I had to tell close friends about it. I put all potential suicide tools in the hands of friends with clear instructions not to let me have them back. This included my guns, and anything in the medicine cabinet that could be lethal. There are many over-the-counter medications that can kill you with as few as thirty pills. 

How did I know this? The Internet is a wonderful tool for the suicidal. I put the prescription medications I was taking in the hands of someone else who would give me the daily doses of prescribed medication.

Recognizing and managing my suicidal preoccupations and compulsions is a story for another time.

I also used prayer and meditation. This helped me to transcend or rise above the worst symptoms of depression and to find a meaning in my suffering.

It is important to remember that THIS TO SHALL PASS. Depression is not forever and there are things you can do to reduce the severity and duration of depressive episodes.

Read Terry Gorski’s Book: Depression and Relapse

The exercises in the COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING FOR ADDICTION WORKBOOK can be easily applied to depression.

The principles of 12-Step Programs can also be helpful. See Understanding the Twelve Steps.


Alone

January 14, 2015

2015/01/img_0884.jpg
By Edgar Allan Poe

“From childhood’s hour I have not been, as others were—I have not seen
As others saw.” ~ Edgar Allen Poe

ALONE
A POEM BY EDGAR ALLAN POE

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—


Black or White Thinking

January 14, 2015

2015/01/img_0883.jpg
By Terence T. Gorski
Author (The Books of Terence T. Gorski)

Black and white thinking, also known as all-or-nothing thinking, is the failure to bring together both positive and negative qualities of the self, other people, and the world into a cohesive and realistic whole.

It is a common defense mechanism used by many people that allows them to lock onto one aspect of things while blocking out others. This can make the world appear more manageable and comprehensible.

In reality, apparent opposites often live together in the real real world. Here are some examples.

The world is both …
– Good and evil;
– Loving and cruel;
– Safe and dangerous;
– Understandable and incomprehensible.

In reality, it is all of these things and much more all at the same time. What we see depends upon where we look and what point of view we choose to take.

Never underestimate our ability to lock onto to some things and block out other things based upon our belief in the truth.

It provides great comfort to shrink the world into something small and manageable. This can work in times of great stability. During times of great and radical change it is important to be able to view reality as it is, not as we would like it to be.

Read more about how black and white thinking can hurt us and what we can do about it.

Learn more about Cognitive Restructuring for Addiction. This is practical workbook and guide making cognitive restructuring tools readily available to both therapists and recovering people.

The Books of Terence T. Gorski)


%d bloggers like this: