Negative Thinking Patterns: Black and White thinking

This is also ‘all or nothing’ thinking, so called because with this thinking we tend to see only one extreme or the other. With this thinking, someone (or something) is either right or wrong, either good or bad – there are no in-betweens, no shades of grey, and no middle ground. This leads to lots of judging.

One might judge themselves “I’m a failure because I made that mistake”. Or judge others, “They are not a good friend because of that mishap”. Or judge their whole relationship, “We are doomed because we see differently on this.”

When we judge ourselves, others, or the situation, based on these extremes, without seeing the shades of grey in-between, it can be very easy to feel negative emotions, such as disappointment, frustration, anger, and anxiety if we think that we, or others, are not clearly in the desired category of “good” or “right” and so on.

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