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.
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.